You don't have to spend much time in Seattle before you catch wind of buzz about Westward & Little Gull. This water-inspired, full-service restaurant and bar first opened its sails in the fall of 2013 on the north shore of Lake Union, and it's already become a city hot spot.
Here, Chef Zoi Antonitsas sends out delectable, innovative dishes that balance contemporary Northwest and Mediterranean flavors with an approach that's “natural and continually evolving, reflecting the simplicity of great products, fresh ingredients and the changing seasons."
At Westward & Little Gull, a maritime theme keeps diners afloat — Photo courtesy of Sarah Flotard / Westward & Little Gull
A wood-burning oven anchors the kitchen, and each seat in the restaurant boasts stunning views of the sparkling lake and distant cityscape. (Think Space Needle.)
Outside, a large deck, fire pit and beach area provide the ideal vantage point for sipping cocktails in the warmer months or snuggling under wool blankets (provided by the venue) once temperatures drop.
Arriving via your own water vessel? No worries. A 150-foot dock provides boat parking or a place to tie up kayaks while you enjoy plates of oysters or creative cocktails.
When it comes to the venue’s spot-on décor, owners say, “We aimed to tell a different story with this unique space. Influenced by vintage yacht club culture and Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic, the design of Westward is nautical, but more playful than thematic.”
Mediterranean-inspired fare rocks the Westward menu — Photo courtesy of Sarah Flotard / Westward & Little Gull
As you enter, you'll find portraits of Captain Merrill Stubing and Steve Zissou, as well as many other unknown captains from throughout history.
The dining room features pilings for pillars and big, recycled sail cloth drum shades (decked with numbers and stripes). Most decor items were done by local artists, and the staff members wear St. James nautical boat shirts.
The space is anchored by its bar, a 25-foot slice of a ship, and caramel-leather tufted swivel stools and Hans Wagner reproduction dining chairs “evoke a feeling of times past, when Chris Craft yachts and Kennedy’s Camelot ruled supreme.“
But in our opinion, the true piece de resistance can be found outside, where rows of Adirondack chairs line the lake’s edge, shaded by red, blue and yellow striped umbrellas. Cozy up next to the fire with your companion and cocktail for a dose of pure magic.
Whether your night will focus around food or drinks (or both!), Westward's menus will no doubt delight. Find imaginative, Mediterranean-influenced fare and memorable small bites. For example, start with fried chickpeas or the Smoked Manila Clam Dip, and continue on with the Dungeness Crab Tartine, Fried Pacific Oyster Roll, lamb meatballs or Wild Salmon Gravlox.
Complement your meal with bubbles, wine, local beers on tap and signature cocktails like Jack's Demise and the Sailor's Gimlet.
Believe us: After all this splendor, it’ll be hard to get up and sail off into the night.