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A wine dinner at RN74.
Richard Duvall, courtesy of RN74

Where to Drop Serious Dollar Bills in Seattle

No cheap eats here, just fancy fine-dining

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A wine dinner at RN74.
| Richard Duvall, courtesy of RN74

Seattle’s full of hard-working transients and has a huge international influence, so it’s easy to find great food (Asian or otherwise) at low prices. But it’s also a city of so much tech money and soaring real estate prices that plenty of restaurants charge top dollar, whether or not they’re providing a top-notch experience.

So where should a diner spend a little extra for a special occasion? What’s the right reservation for a pair of heels or a suit (or a company expense account)? Seattle’s fine-dining scene may be slim compared to other big cities’, but it’s not entirely lacking in style. Here are the places to ball out and really enjoy it, expenses be damned.

Note: Map points are listed geographically and are not ranked by preference. Did we miss your favorite value meal? Show it some love in the comments, send us an email about it, or start a forum thread in its honor.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Cafe Juanita

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9702 NE 120th Pl
Kirkland, WA 98034
(425) 823-1505
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At this northern Italian gem, James Beard Award-winner Holly Smith tracks the season with dishes like rabbit braised in Arneis wine as well as a clearer focus on vegetarian and vegan options than at many Italian restaurants. Located in Kirkland and surrounded by trees, Cafe Juanita is a romantic respite from Seattle’s endless cranes and Amazon Prime packages, feeling at once nostalgic and new.

2. Tarsan i Jane

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4012 Leary Way NW
Seattle, WA 98107

Since its inception, wood-fired Tarsan i Jane has been lauded by critics for its impeccable blend of traditional and modernist takes on Valencian cuisine, as well as its unbeatable five-course paella brunches on Sundays, but also dinged for its atmosphere and service hiccups. Recent renovations are helping make this the fine-dining destination it aspires to be, though, where a 12- or 18-course tasting menu feels like a joy, whether smoked beet gazpacho or mussels escabeche appear.

Courtesy of Tarsan i Jane

3. Art of the Table

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3801 Stone Way N Suite A
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 282-0942
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Despite its bigger, splashier new digs, this highly regarded restaurant remains intimate and warm, relying on the patronage of regulars that have adored the creative food for a decade. And although Art of the Table has finally added a la carte ordering, the tasting menu at the chef’s table is still the way to go. There’s something extra special about the chef himself dropping off the food, and it’s nice to know exactly where that food came from, down to the salt and pepper.

4. Canlis

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2576 Aurora Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 283-3313
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This is it: The fine-dining establishment to which all others in Seattle aspire, from its view to its atmosphere to its iconic tableside salad to its James Beard Award-winning wine program. While sitting at the bar for a drink and a bite is its own Seattle rite of passage, a dinner reservation and a suit jacket are required for major milestones — proposals, anniversaries, promotions. When the time comes, it’s best not to look too closely at the bill.

Courtesy of Brian Canlis

5. Eden Hill

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2209 Queen Anne Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 708-6836
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Avant-garde cuisine can be surprisingly hard to find in Seattle, but Eden Hill is holding down the fort quite well atop Queen Anne, with playful creations like the pig’s head candy bar or foie gras mousse cake batter spilling out of a bowl. Only 18 seats are available for nightly reservations at this light, floral-specked restaurant, which makes getting a seat feel that much more special.

[Photo: Courtesy of Eden Hill] Courtesy of Eden Hill

6. Altura

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617 Broadway E
Seattle, WA 98102
(206) 402-6749
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Tucked away in north Capitol Hill, a much quieter section of the neighborhood than the Pike and Pine corridor, is a fine Italian feast. Altura serves up seasonal, regionally focused Italian dishes from urchin and lobster crudo cannoli to wagyu beef with chanterelles in one of the coziest rooms east of Lake Union. If the restaurant offers truffles, the answer should be an immediate yes.

7. Bateau

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1040 E Union St
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 900-8699
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Most of Renee Erickson’s restaurants could be considered special occasion spots, but her airy, cutting-edge, Parisian-inspired steakhouse is the standout. Bar Melusine, the adjoining lounge, is a prime spot for oysters and champagne, perfect for pre-gaming Bateau’s dreamy steak tartare and other uncommon but wholly welcome cuts of beef, like velvet, a lean delicacy from the hoof.

Bill Addison/Eater

8. RN74

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1433 4th Ave
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 456-7474
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Yes, RN74 has a killer happy hour, but it’s the full dinner experience with wine pairings that really shine at this elegant French-inflected downtown restaurant. An award-winning list of more than 1,000 wines is only worth a damn if the staff know their stuff and are invested in the diner’s enjoyment, which is certainly the case here. The discounted train-schedule board of limited-availability bottles is a unique joy, as well.

Richard Duvall, courtesy of RN74

9. Sushi Kashiba

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86 Pine St #1
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 441-8844
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Seattle legend Shiro Kashiba left retirement to open this sushi palace with beautiful views of Pike Place Market. Prix fixe menus and polished servers emulate the omakase experience even for diners not seated at the chef’s counter. Kashiba’s light touch with fresh fish is so good it tends to ruin all other sushi for a while.

10. Corson Building

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5609 Corson Ave S
Seattle, WA 98108
(206) 762-3330
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Impeccable food — like smoked black cod, lamb meatballs with flatbread, or deep-fried morels and asparagus — in an unreal, unparalleled location? Check. The opportunity to meet new people through communal dining? Double check. The Corson building isn’t just dinner, it’s a posh dinner party courtesy of wunderchef Matt Dillon.

1. Cafe Juanita

9702 NE 120th Pl, Kirkland, WA 98034

At this northern Italian gem, James Beard Award-winner Holly Smith tracks the season with dishes like rabbit braised in Arneis wine as well as a clearer focus on vegetarian and vegan options than at many Italian restaurants. Located in Kirkland and surrounded by trees, Cafe Juanita is a romantic respite from Seattle’s endless cranes and Amazon Prime packages, feeling at once nostalgic and new.

9702 NE 120th Pl
Kirkland, WA 98034

2. Tarsan i Jane

4012 Leary Way NW, Seattle, WA 98107
Courtesy of Tarsan i Jane

Since its inception, wood-fired Tarsan i Jane has been lauded by critics for its impeccable blend of traditional and modernist takes on Valencian cuisine, as well as its unbeatable five-course paella brunches on Sundays, but also dinged for its atmosphere and service hiccups. Recent renovations are helping make this the fine-dining destination it aspires to be, though, where a 12- or 18-course tasting menu feels like a joy, whether smoked beet gazpacho or mussels escabeche appear.

4012 Leary Way NW
Seattle, WA 98107

3. Art of the Table

3801 Stone Way N Suite A, Seattle, WA 98103

Despite its bigger, splashier new digs, this highly regarded restaurant remains intimate and warm, relying on the patronage of regulars that have adored the creative food for a decade. And although Art of the Table has finally added a la carte ordering, the tasting menu at the chef’s table is still the way to go. There’s something extra special about the chef himself dropping off the food, and it’s nice to know exactly where that food came from, down to the salt and pepper.

3801 Stone Way N Suite A
Seattle, WA 98103

4. Canlis

2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109
Courtesy of Brian Canlis

This is it: The fine-dining establishment to which all others in Seattle aspire, from its view to its atmosphere to its iconic tableside salad to its James Beard Award-winning wine program. While sitting at the bar for a drink and a bite is its own Seattle rite of passage, a dinner reservation and a suit jacket are required for major milestones — proposals, anniversaries, promotions. When the time comes, it’s best not to look too closely at the bill.

2576 Aurora Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109

5. Eden Hill

2209 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109
[Photo: Courtesy of Eden Hill] Courtesy of Eden Hill

Avant-garde cuisine can be surprisingly hard to find in Seattle, but Eden Hill is holding down the fort quite well atop Queen Anne, with playful creations like the pig’s head candy bar or foie gras mousse cake batter spilling out of a bowl. Only 18 seats are available for nightly reservations at this light, floral-specked restaurant, which makes getting a seat feel that much more special.

2209 Queen Anne Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109

6. Altura

617 Broadway E, Seattle, WA 98102

Tucked away in north Capitol Hill, a much quieter section of the neighborhood than the Pike and Pine corridor, is a fine Italian feast. Altura serves up seasonal, regionally focused Italian dishes from urchin and lobster crudo cannoli to wagyu beef with chanterelles in one of the coziest rooms east of Lake Union. If the restaurant offers truffles, the answer should be an immediate yes.

617 Broadway E
Seattle, WA 98102

7. Bateau

1040 E Union St, Seattle, WA 98122
Bill Addison/Eater

Most of Renee Erickson’s restaurants could be considered special occasion spots, but her airy, cutting-edge, Parisian-inspired steakhouse is the standout. Bar Melusine, the adjoining lounge, is a prime spot for oysters and champagne, perfect for pre-gaming Bateau’s dreamy steak tartare and other uncommon but wholly welcome cuts of beef, like velvet, a lean delicacy from the hoof.

1040 E Union St
Seattle, WA 98122

8. RN74

1433 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
Richard Duvall, courtesy of RN74

Yes, RN74 has a killer happy hour, but it’s the full dinner experience with wine pairings that really shine at this elegant French-inflected downtown restaurant. An award-winning list of more than 1,000 wines is only worth a damn if the staff know their stuff and are invested in the diner’s enjoyment, which is certainly the case here. The discounted train-schedule board of limited-availability bottles is a unique joy, as well.

1433 4th Ave
Seattle, WA 98101

9. Sushi Kashiba

86 Pine St #1, Seattle, WA 98101

Seattle legend Shiro Kashiba left retirement to open this sushi palace with beautiful views of Pike Place Market. Prix fixe menus and polished servers emulate the omakase experience even for diners not seated at the chef’s counter. Kashiba’s light touch with fresh fish is so good it tends to ruin all other sushi for a while.

86 Pine St #1
Seattle, WA 98101

10. Corson Building

5609 Corson Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108

Impeccable food — like smoked black cod, lamb meatballs with flatbread, or deep-fried morels and asparagus — in an unreal, unparalleled location? Check. The opportunity to meet new people through communal dining? Double check. The Corson building isn’t just dinner, it’s a posh dinner party courtesy of wunderchef Matt Dillon.

5609 Corson Ave S
Seattle, WA 98108

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