Finding a delicious place to eat in Seattle comes without much effort. So does finding a table with a view. And a spot with an intimate atmosphere and a charming waitstaff. And and and...The list goes on and on. Bottom line: positive culinary experiences here are frequent–perhaps even the norm. If you're a foodie in this town, you've found yourself in the perfect locale. Arrive hungry, and savor it all!
Lucky for those seeking a romantic venue in which to share a meal with their significant other, Seattle offers umpteen choices. Maybe you wish to feel that you've been whisked away to a cozy French cafe or a plush Italian villa for the evening, or perhaps you prefer to chat over candlelight at your own private island-table within a bustling, hip eatery. Regardless, chefs send out dishes brimming with flavor and featuring some of the region's freshest and most unique ingredient, and attentive waitstaff give you VIP treatment that gives the night a special air. Many of the list's choices are located in downtown hotels, making the locations practical for visiting guests. However, others require a rental car or short taxi ride. We promise, though; it's worth the journey.
Serafina Osteria & Enoteca
Comfortable and unpretentious, Serafina has been a Seattle favorite for years. This charming outpost has become one of the main culinary draws of the Eastlake neighborhood, and the adjoining Cicchetti Kitchen and Bar is an excellent place for happy hour cocktails as a pre-cursor to your dinner. Serafina's cuisine draws on rustic traditions of the Italian countryside and is eminently satisfying. Representative dishes include buckwheat pasta, slow-cooked lamb shanks, braised rabbit, homemade veal meatballs, pumpkin-leek ravioli and a ragu of duck, veal, and pork. You'll also find steamed mussels, rich sausages and wild-mushroom risotto. Dessert options include a luscious chocolate-hazelnut torte, sweet profiteroles and a homey rhubarb crisp. (206-323-0807)
Named for the creek it rests beside, this fantastic restaurant is influenced by Italian cuisine, although it's not the red-sauce-and-cheese variety. Instead, dishes are more refined, featuring first-rate ingredients and careful preparation. Among the offerings you'll find are silky foie gras, sweetbreads in marsala sauce, seared yellowfin tuna and bacon-wrapped roasted rabbit. Accompanying them are such delicacies as fava beans, polenta, asparagus, artichokes, and a medley of earthy mushrooms. Desserts follow suit and include several Italian classics: tiramisu, panna cotta, and berries laced with balsamic vinegar. The excellent wine list offers a perfect accompaniment, whether it be an Italian or a regional vintage. (425-823-1505)
In Upper Fremont, RockCreek Seafood & Spirits proves a popular restaurant and bar that welcomes diners to its airy, inviting space every day of the week. Here Chef Eric Donnelly perfectly prepares unexpected fish alongside the classics. Donnelly does a great job of transitioning fish between warmer and colder seasons; for example, take the Monkfish Bourguignon, which proves comforting hearty with parsnip puree and red wine jus. Other great winter dishes include the whole grilled Sea Bass with roasted cauliflower and Marcona almond romesco or the Icelandic Char with bacon and lentil ragout and a poached egg. Loyal guests return regularly for the friendly vibe, the savory stew dishes, the creative cocktails plus the cozy-chic decor inside this urban-industrial, two-story 'fishing lodge.' (206.557.7532)
Matt's in the Market
This once-tiny restaurant, greatly expanded in 2007, offers incredible views of the Market and the Puget Sound, courtesy of huge, semicircular windows. Flawless seafood is the name of the game, and it's collected fresh from vendors below. Oyster sandwiches, often eaten at the counter, are much-coveted at lunch, and dinner calls forth such delicacies as tortilla-crusted Alaskan halibut, pan-roasted wild salmon, and mussels steamed with chorizo, charmoula, and cava. In the evenings, the atmosphere is candlelit and romantic, although tables are at a premium. Don't leave without treating yourself to the chocolate pot de cr�me, a signature dessert that's a perfect ending to the fantastic cuisine. (206-467-7909)
In Belltown, Ethan Stowell has done it once again by wowing diners at his Italian gem Tavolta. Here, pasta reigns--from rigatoni to casarecce, conchiglie to linguini. A restaurant whose name means "to gather around a table," Tavolta is an ideal space for large parties and private events. Monthly Sunday Feast dinners mean four-course family meals served at the communal table (that seats up to 26 diners), perfectly embodying the venue's philosophy. Enjoy nightly happy hours (from 5 to 7 p.m.) as well as dishes like brushcetta and salumi boards to start, rigatoni and potato gnocchi for pasta dishes, salmon and beef short ribs as entrees and grilled carrots as a side. (206-838-8008)
No Seattle food guide would be complete without a mention of Canlis, for generations a stalwart standby for special occasions and wowing visitors. The traditional, white-tablecloth dining room lets visitors take in serene views of beautiful and busy Lake Union below. Such stunning surroundings only enhance the phenomenal gustatory experience, which includes offerings of stuffed chicken, lamb shank with pur� mint and garlic, and delectable cuts of beef and fresh seafood. For diners that can't decide, a great option is the fixed price menu: Each of the five courses is paired with the appropriate glass of wine from the spectacular Canlis cellar. In fact, Canlis is one of only 85 restaurants worldwide to have received the "Grand Award" for its wine collection. (206-283-3313)
Bastille Cafe and Bar
Get transported to a Parisian cafe with charming, authentic decor like 19th-century sconces from a church in the French countryside, a clock that once hung in a Paris metro station and a host stand that once serviced a small French hotel. The food is equally delightful; try main dishes like moules frites, steak frites, the fish of the day, ricotta Cavatelli and the roasted half chicken with Dijon dumpling, black trumpet mushroom and Brussels sprout gratin. The Back Bar, the self-proclaimed "sexiest place in town" with a crystal chandelier and Art Deco sconces, is the ideal spot for cocktails before or after your meal. (206.453.5014)
The Pink Door
Funky and hip, this Italian eatery features rustic food and boasts live entertainment in the adjacent lounge. The interior has a certain bohemian charm, but the best area to dine is on the rooftop deck, which affords a magnificent view of Puget Sound. To start a meal, begin with bruschetta or the antipasto plate of savory morsels. Entrees, then, include Tuscan grilled chicken, gnocchi with wild mushrooms, roasted pork loin, and Muscovy duck. You'll find, in fact, a range of pastas and, also, a daily risotto special that's usually a great bet! Comforting desserts include such fare as bread pudding and apple crisp. (206-443-3241)
Six Seven Restaurant & Lounge
As Seattle's only true waterfront hotel, The Edgewater Hotel dazzles with its picture-perfect location overlooking Elliot Bay and the Olympic Mountains. At this rustic-meets-modern lodge where roughly half of the hotel's 223 rooms offer stunning Bay views (the remainder face the iconic skyline), guests enjoy the Pacific Northwest-inspired decor and spectacular on-site dining at Six Seven, where patrons savor scrumptious fare inside or out. Aside from sensational panoramic views in the light-filled dining room, Six Seven visitors find teal booths, funky wood panel walls, subtly elegant chandeliers, a central stone fireplace and faux-industrial tree fixtures that bring a whimsical bent to a classy space. Savor outstanding options like the lox or "Seasonal Farm Fresh Omelet" at breakfast time; later indulge in the "Roast Penn Cove Mussels," breading-less crab cakes, cedar plank salmon and, a must-try, the gorgonzola-crusted filet mignon, adorned with forager mushroom ragout, asparagus, potato crisp and natural jus. (2062694575)
Polished woods and hand-crafted detailing characterize this lovely restaurant, which features an open kitchen, along with upstairs and downstairs dining rooms (and some patio seating in warmer months). Frequented by professionals at lunch, Tulio is known for its authentic cuisine and attentive service. The menu includes such treats as salmon ravioli, sweet-potato gnocchi with sage butter, pepper-crusted roast pork loin, and marinated Washington lamb sirloin. You'll also find pizzas and calzones on the lunch menu. Tulio makes the perfect start to any special evening occasion, especially when combined with an evening at one of the several nearby theaters. At times, you may even spot a celebrity! (206-624-5500)
About Corinne Whiting
Corinne hails from the other Washington, where she caught the travel bug early on. Corinne studied abroad in Strasbourg, France (undergrad) and in Edinburgh, Scotland (graduate school). She's backpacked around Australia, taught English in Argentina and explored (so far!) countries from Cambodia and Egypt to Turkey and China.
Corinne served as associate editor at Where magazine for five years; as a freelancer, she now writes for publications like National Geographic Traveler and Amtrak's OnTrak. Here in the lovely Northwest, she's attempting to debunk the rain myths, up her coffee and live music quotient and find her Zen near/on the water.
Read more about Corinne Whiting here.
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