Donner. Party of 2.
August 28, 2011 7:09 PM   Subscribe

Where should my husband and I have a lovely anniversary dinner in Seattle?

Ye olde ball 'n chain and I will be spending a week in Seattle for our third wedding anniversary and would love a recommendation for a special and intimate dinner. Based on our own finds and recommendations, we've eaten at and loved the following restaurants:

The Crusting Pipe, Covent Garden, London

Hot Chocolate, Chicago

The Witchery, Edinburgh

I asked this question for our first wedding anniversary and got Hot Chocolate, and most of the requirements still apply.

1. $100 budget for appetizer, dinner, cheese, and dessert. We don't really drink, so a place with an amazing wine list doesn't matter to us.

2. He's picky and eats meat-bread-cheese-potatoes. I am adventurous and will eat virtually anything. A restaurant with a safe choice and an exciting choice will work perfectly for us.

3. We love intimate but not fussy. We can class it up, but we're tattooed indie kids, so suit and tie is right out. Somewhere that's cozy/intimate but possibly has a view of something lovely and fallish in the evening (if it exists) would be great.

4. We'll be staying at Ace Hotel in Belltown and will have a car.
posted by santojulieta to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Is that $100/person or $100/both?
posted by saeculorum at 7:18 PM on August 28, 2011

Response by poster: $100/both if possible, but we have deeper pockets this year, so a little higher would work too. We get in and out of Hot Chocolate at $100 with one shared appetizer, two dinners (one sandwich and one entree), cheese plate, two glasses of champagne, two desserts, and an excellent cup of hot chocolate.
posted by santojulieta at 7:21 PM on August 28, 2011

You would do well at Ray's Boathouse at that price point. I highly recommend the Sablefish in Sake Kazu, which is a bit of a cult dish there. For your husband, they have many more traditional seafood options. They have an amazing deck overlooking the Puget Sound that I would recommend eating at. However, if you're coming after September, you might consider eating earlier if you want to eat outside.
posted by saeculorum at 7:24 PM on August 28, 2011

Actually, I really meant to recommend "Ray's Cafe" (the upstairs restaurant at the location) rather than "Ray's Boathouse" (the downstairs restaurant at that location). The two restaurants share kitchens, so quality is uniform between the two, but the Cafe is cheaper and less pretentious. Also, the Cafe has a deck, whereas the Boathouse doesn't.
posted by saeculorum at 7:25 PM on August 28, 2011

Hmm, if you don't drink, consider this place:

posted by roboton666 at 7:26 PM on August 28, 2011

Canlis is over your budget...I'll suggest something else...
posted by roboton666 at 7:30 PM on August 28, 2011

Don't worry: tattooed indie kids can go anywhere in Seattle. Plus I guarantee that at least 75% of the chefs and servers at the restaurants you'll get recommendations for have at least one prominent tattoo. You'd stick out MORE in a suit and tie.

You are going to have such fun here.

I think you are likely to find a combination of safe and exciting on pretty much any menu you come across, at the nicer places. I feel like I usually see a steak, half a roast chicken, a roast pork or chop dish, and a fish dish (salmon is very common) pretty much everywhere. There are usually veggie sides that you can order a la carte. Then there is the fun stuff, which depends on the chef and her or his strengths and interests.

Seattle chefs are big on local, seasonal produce. Now that we are finally having summer, you are probably going to see a lot of tomato- and squash-y things. It's been a hard year though so there might still be a lot of greens (kale etc).

Places I love:

Tilth, in Wallingford. Organic. Cozy -- the place is a converted house. Great chef. The experimental/exciting dishes will revolve around really good-quality seasonal produce.

Lecosho, just south of Pike Place Market. The exciting dishes will involve MEAT. Good happy hour!

Take a day and head out to Bainbridge Island on the ferry, and have dinner at Hitchcock. This is my new favorite place (I live on B.I. -- let me know if you come out here! Have many more recommendations). You can do a chef tasting menu where you just tell him how much you want to spend, and he gives you all kinds of stuff. You can give him guidelines on what you like and don't like. I don't know if you can have different standards for each of you, though, so you should ask, or you could just order off the menu and be very happy. We (adventurous eaters) were served squab, blood sausage, a porchetta (rolled-up pork thing) with head meats including cheeks and ears and whatever else, ... Less-adventurous friends on a separate trip were served salmon three ways, plus appetizers.
If you do the tasting menu, for reference, we went with $40 each and it was A LOT of food. I think three appetizers, two small-size entrées, and dessert. I think we would do $30 each next time and be totally happy.

Matt's in the Market was started by the guy who's now at Lecosho. It is lovely and in a great location right in Pike Place Market. Seasonal produce.

Le Pichet, also in the Market, is great if you are interested in classic, but non-pretentious French food. It can get loud in there, as it is a small space, but it is great solid food and one of my favorite restaurants in the city (though not necessarily The Best).

Now to preview, and see what everyone else thinks ...

I've never been to Ray's! I've always wanted to go!

Never been to Canlis either, but as far as I know, while fantastic, it is pretty much as close as you get in Seattle to suit-and-tie.
posted by librarina at 7:33 PM on August 28, 2011

I took my wife here and we loved it:

The Tiramisu is some of the best I've ever had...
posted by roboton666 at 7:35 PM on August 28, 2011

Cafe Campagne in the Pike Place area is a little loud, but definitely delicious. When I went with my girlfriend for our anniversary dinner last year, they had a lavender crème brûlée that blew our minds.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:35 PM on August 28, 2011

I would recommend The Pink Door. You could walk from the Ace. If the $100 includes tax & tip, it might be difficult but not impossible. If not, you shouldn't have a problem ordering whatever you'd like.
posted by peep at 7:39 PM on August 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

There is also this place:

Sundays they have a 60 dollar per person dinner, but you have to reserve early...
posted by roboton666 at 7:42 PM on August 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Mistral Kitchen might push you a smidge above your $100 budget (entrees run in the $25 range), but it's worth it: a gorgeous, architecturally interesting space (there are something like five distinct dining areas of varying formality pieced together in a small, creative layout), with food that's distinctly Seattlean and mostly local.

Sitka and Spruce is one of the loveliest dining experiences I've had: the menu is creative but has some "safe" choices for your other half; the dining room is beautiful and feels really special while still also feeling young, indie, and joyful. Nice light.
posted by firstbest at 7:42 PM on August 28, 2011 [2 favorites]

Zig Zag Cafe sounds like it might fit the bill. They have a really pleasant, intimate, cozy patio area with water feature, and your view is right nearby as you can walk down to the water before or after dinner. You could also walk up and see the gum wall and interesting shops around Pike Place.

They have exotic dishes like venison poke (a favorite) and alligator and less adventurous dishes like pizza and steak.

When I went there with my boyfriend recently, our bill for two people fell at exactly $100 with tax and tip, and that included 2 entrees, one salad, and 2 rather expensive but excellent drinks a piece. So I am guessing you should be fine with getting a cheese plate and dessert instead of the drinks.
posted by parrot_person at 7:59 PM on August 28, 2011

Local 360 is supposed to be excellent for such things.
posted by mephron at 8:53 PM on August 28, 2011

On the more affordable side, check out La Fontana Siciliana, Maximilien or Il Bistro. A little more but still in your range are Serafina, Portage, and my personal favorite among all Seattle restaurants (and has a view), Place Pigalle. Absolutely no one will care that you are tattooed or indie, you'll fit right in here in the Emerald City.

Happy Anniversary!
posted by bearwife at 10:07 PM on August 28, 2011

Two touristy but fun options, particularly if you are from out of town, are the Space Needle and a dinner cruise on Lake Washington.
posted by LarryC at 10:08 PM on August 28, 2011


Small, lovely, not fussy. Small plates so you both can try a wide variety of things. $100 will buy both of you a lovely meal. And it's a lovely place to spend an evening - especially a special one.

My favorite starter there is their 3 cheese plate asking my server to pick the cheeses. The choices are always so delightful with great stories behind each.

It is not far from Belltown and would be easy for you to get to.

Wherever you go, I hope you have a great time with great food.
posted by susandennis at 10:12 PM on August 28, 2011

Not from Seattle, but seconding the Pink Door.
posted by cnc at 4:25 PM on August 29, 2011

Sorry, but the food at the space needle is AWFUL and OVERPRICED. do not go there.
posted by tristeza at 6:08 PM on August 29, 2011

Wild Ginger is overpriced touristy fare and while it is not terrible, you can get much better for your money. Go to Tamarind Tree. For the love of pete do not go to the Space Needle or do a dinner cruise if you're looking for quality dining. If you would like to do eat something quintessentially Seattle and famous go to one of Tom Douglas's restaurants.

Lark is a lovely elegant place, and $100 will get you stuffed to the gills with amazing food, especially if you don't drink.

Harvest Vine has traditional Basque small plates made with fresh NW ingredients, and is bloody fantastic. If you would like something a little more casual, there is Pinxto within walking distance.
posted by calistasm at 7:23 PM on August 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

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