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By Elite Traveler | February 12 2020
Although Seattle is often celebrated for its coffee, reputed for being rainy and associated with the Space Needle, this north-western city is also home to a collection of upscale restaurants. Whether you’re hungry from hiking the Cascade Mountains, sailing in the Puget Sound or even binge-watching your favorite episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, Seattle’s fine-dining venues will provide you with once-in-a-lifetime meals. Ranging from glamorous throwbacks to intimate and cozy spaces, these are the best restaurants in Seattle according to Elite Traveler.
At the Canlis family’s restaurant, grab a seat in front of floor-to-ceiling windows, and enjoy a breathtaking view of Lake Union, the city and Cascade mountain range. As the third generation of chefs in the Canlis family, the current owners understand fine cookery better than anyone. This flagship of fine dining offers a delicious four-course menu that keeps people returning meal after meal. But its high-quality dishes (ranging from the restaurant’s renowned “Canlis Salad” to salmon served with wild rice, spruce turnips, and green tomatoes) are not the only thing that draws gastronomes back. Canlis was finally recognized for its stellar wine list this year when it was awarded the coveted James Beard Award for “Outstanding Wine Program.” For a more intimate experience, choose between three private dining suites. Boasting a sweeping view (as well as a telescope with which to enjoy it!), The Caché serves as Seattle’s most exclusive private table. Seemingly nestled amongst the trees, this room is a private hideaway for romantic evenings of fine dining and even provides guests with a couch to lounge in between courses.
With its swanky service, live jazz and glittering candlelight, El Gaucho Seattle transports guests to a past-era where hospitality and romance reign. In fact, the restaurant’s leather-padded doors seem to serve as a portal into the glitz and the glamour that defined fine dining in the 1950s. Some choose one of the sumptuous steaks, such as the Filet Medallions Oscar, while others opt for fresh seafood, like the Diver Sea Scallops and Grilled Prawn Linguine. But, on El Gaucho’s strong vegetarian menu (which includes Roasted Vegetable Quinoa as well as a truffle soup filled with wild mushrooms and cream), meat takes a backseat to vegetables. Interested in pairing your magnificent meal with wine? Ask the sommelier for his or her expert suggestions. Guests also have the option of renting a private room for a more intimate dinner or a larger gathering.
Located in Seattle’s bustling entertainment district known as Capitol Hill, Altura provides guests with luxury dining that is as memorable as the neighborhood in which it resides. Translated from Italian, Altura means height or high place – an appropriate name for this upscale restaurant, as it consistently sets (and exceeds) lofty gastronomic standards. Dinner at Altura is more than a meal; it is an experience that extends over a period of two to three hours. The menu changes daily in order to take full advantage of local produce, seafood, foragers and farmers. Born of Italian recipes and locally sourced ingredients, these dishes (like duck capunet with spring onions, young turnip and spicy pickled cherry as well as rum semifreddo with blueberries and Douglas fir) will never disappoint. Altura’s team curates three beverage options to match its daily menu: a wine pairing, a non-alcoholic beverage pairing and a modern beverage pairing (which includes spirits and beers). A team of sommeliers is always available to provide guests with further guidance.
Tucked within the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle, Art of the Table is a quaint and intimate space bursting with creative and unexpected pairings – just try the dish combining tea-infused duck egg with pickled cylinder beet and asparagus to see what we mean. Illustrating the restaurant’s commitment to locally sourced food, many dishes on the menu are named after purveyors, such as the Olsen Farms pork belly and Skagit River beef cheek. Each cozy table, especially the five-seat chef’s table, enjoys a view of the kitchen, where enthusiastic chefs engage with curious guests. Enjoy the highest expression of Pacific North-western cuisine mixed with the best of Seattle’s produce in the seven- or nine-course tasting menu, highlighting the restaurant’s farm-to-table philosophy through dishes like the Neah Bay Black Cod, which includes maitake mushroom, braised radish, ramp pesto, carrot butter and ramp chimichurri.
Set in the heart of Capitol Hill, Lark provides a unique ambiance, serving artisan-focused food in an atmosphere that’s relaxed but always attentive. Immense windows and lofty ceilings with reclaimed wooden beams and glowing pendant lights illuminate this restored warehouse on even the most inclement days in the notoriously overcast city. Chef John Sundstrom’s emphasis on local ingredients ensures that the menu – and not the quality of the cuisine – changes with the seasons. Are you in the mood for the tender Bison Shortribs or the impressive Duck Confit? The mouthwatering Asparagus Ravioli or the lavish Octopus a la Plancha? Too difficult to make the selection alone? Leave it the chef with Lark’s three- or five-course tasting menus.