Answers from Our Experts (5)
The dining scene in Seattle is one bustling with new, envelope-pushing entries like RN74 and classic kitchens like Canlis. But even with the impressive collection of restaurants around the Emerald City, three places shine brightest. The most acclaimed restaurant in the region, The Georgian wows at nearly every turn. Though twinkling crystal chandeliers and striped Louis XVI chairs dazzle in the dining room, the most awe-inspiring aspect of the Four-Star establishment is still a spot that prepares butter-poached lobster, seared scallops and other French-inspired Northwestern dishes that have amazed for decades. Though the food at Rover's is Northwestern, the technique used is all French. Foodies flock to this Four-Star Madison Valley spot for supremely fresh sea scallops, venison, rabbit and other local bounty. Can’t snag a seat? Make the 25-minute hike over to Sammamish River Valley for The Herbfarm. Chef Jerry Traunfeld creates seasonal, multi-course themed meals based on the restaurant’s own farm and what local purveyors have to offer.
I love Spinasse. It’s the perfect neighborhood restaurant. It’s in Capitol Hill. The chef is Jason Stratton. It’s like home. People know your name — I know that’s a line from Cheers. It’s comfortable. It’s Italian. It’s handmade pasta. It’s rustic. It’s like getting a hug from your Italian grandmother that I never had. But yet it’s still refined and it’s still executed with great technique.
I love Matt’s in the Market. It’s in Pike Place Market. It’s my favorite place for lunch in the city. The produce comes from downstairs in the market stalls. You’ve got a great view of the market. It’s completely Seattle; everything’s Seattle-ish at that restaurant. I love going there myself and I love sending people from out of town there.
There’s a restaurant called Maneki in the International District. It’s the oldest restaurant in Seattle. It’s over a hundred years old. It’s unbelievable. It’s an adventure. It’s like going to a different country, trying to eat there — all the ways to get a table and how you order. It’s so fun to get out of your comfort zone and go have some of the most beautifully, deliciously prepared food at Maneki.
The greatest sandwich in the entire country is at Paseo. I’m not the only one who thinks that. It’s one of the things we’re most proud of in this city: this little Cuban restaurant that serves sandwiches. You have to wait an hour to get one and you’re happy to do it. It’s kind of like Shake Shack in New York City.
There’s a restaurant called Sitka & Spruce that’s everything that’s kind of new and very modern about Seattle cooking. Matt Dillon, what he does with vegetables makes me so happy. The space is in a place called Melrose Market. It’s like a miniature Chelsea Market in Manhattan. You’ve got a cheese monger, a butcher, a coffee shop, an oyster bar and a cool little cocktail bar all in this open little area. There’s a florist!
Joule is in Freemont and it’s Korean-French. It’s a married couple — he’s French, she’s Korean and she’s the chef. It’s more Korean than French. Oh my goodness, I love Korean food — just the flavors with French technique brought in. It’s lively and fun. Probably my favorite dish I’ve eaten all year was at Joule.
I like Sitka & Spruce — great spot to hunker down and have a great meal. And then a super-fancy option is Rover’s. I don’t go there very much. It’s a five-hour kind of meal. I love Terra Plata. It’s fairly new and serves delicious Northwest food. If you want old Seattle, there’s a place run by a sweet lady named Mel. It’s called Dinette. It’s maybe 60 feet, but it’s a sweet little spot. It’s my favorite restaurant in town. Try the veal-stuffed cabbage rolls.
Seattle is home to many a fine restaurant, but only a few can carry the title of the best of the best: Rover's, The Herbfarm and The Georgian. These Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star restaurants all combine fresh flavors and impeccable service to make sure your meal is perfect from first bite to last call.
You won't find a more charming restaurant than Rover's, which is housed in a small white cottage in Seattle's Madison Park neighborhood. The five- and eight-course tasting menus are a culinary treat. Chef and owner Thierry Rautureau clearly makes use of classic French cooking techniques, but he choosees to do so with regionally sourced ingredients. The end result is a memorable meal that winds and turns through a variety of flavors, with chef Rautureau as your guide.
Up for a drive? You can't go wrong with a reservation at The Herbfarm, a Four-Star restaurant that's about 25 minutes away from metro Seattle in Woodinville. Found on the site of Willows Lodge, this rural favorite serves nine-course dinners that span four hours and use fresh ingredients found from the property's onsite gardens and farm. The most interesting part of dining here is choosing which day to book your reservation, as each day's offerings follow a theme (past themes have included Truffle Treasure and ÜberTuber).
The Fairmont Olympic Hotel is home to The Georgian, a stately, elegant restaurant that is often proclaimed to be the best in the entire Northwest. Your palette is in good hands with executive chef Gavin Stephenson; he honed his skills in the famed kitchen of the Savoy Hotel in London and as personal chef to Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud. Seafood is the highlight of the menu, and butter poached lobster is one of chef Stephenson's specialties. Save room for a soufflé for dessert.
Don’t let Blind Pig Bistro’s strip mall address deceive you. The 20-seat, postage stamp-sized restaurant has housed some of my favorite Seattle restaurants – first Sitka & Spruce (now found in Melrose Market in Capitol Hill), then Nettletown. Now, chef Charles Walpole turns out a daily-changing menu of small plates filled with vittles of Chioggia beets with anchovy, persimmon and pork and chicken liver pate with Asian pear, celery and mustard. The menu changes frequently. Also, arrive early: Blind Pig Bistro does not take reservations.
Seattle is a foodie’s dream. Renown chefs are pushing the envelope on Northwest and American classics, churning out one incredible meal after another.
The standouts include Canlis, which has been known as one of Seattle’s best – if not the best – since the 1950s; the Walrus and the Carpenter, an airy oyster bar in the Ballard neighborhood; Rover’s, in Madison Valley, serving Northwest cuisine with a French twist; the elegant Georgian, in downtown’s Fairmont Olympic Hotel, known for its fine dining and seafood-centric menu; and The Herbfarm, in Woodinville, with a carefully-sourced menu and farm-to-table focus.
You can’t go wrong at any of these top restaurants, which showcase the best Northwest ingredients and show off Seattle’s culinary prowess.