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The inside of a restaurant with teal floors, light orange cushy chairs, and light wood tables.
The interior of Michael Mina’s new restaurant downtown Seattle restaurant, Bourbon Steak.
Bourbon Steak

12 Seattle Area Restaurants Perfect for a Romantic Night Out

With sushi, extravagant tasting menus, rooftop mezze plates, and more

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The interior of Michael Mina’s new restaurant downtown Seattle restaurant, Bourbon Steak.
| Bourbon Steak

Everyone’s definition of a romantic restaurant is different; pancakes at a neighborhood diner can be as intimate to some as a five-course tasting menu at a Michelin-starred restaurant. But every element of a restaurant’s atmosphere is important for romance: the music, the lighting, the architecture. And though every food is romantic to someone, date night often calls for extravagance and beauty on the plate, whether that’s a piece of pink marbled tuna belly atop rice, slices of red-in-the center ribeye, or nests of tagliolini glistening with butter. Here are some favorite spots for a romantic night out in the Seattle area.

Send us a tip by emailing seattle@eater.com. As usual, this list is not ranked; it’s organized geographically.

King County requires proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours for everyone ages 12+ at indoor establishments, restaurants, and bars. Studies indicate there is a lower exposure risk when eating outdoors, and the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines. Please visit King County’s COVID website for resources and current information.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Spinasse

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More than 10 years in, and this romantic trattoria on Capitol Hill continues to entrance diners with food from Italy’s Piedmont region. The nest of delicate tajarin pasta with butter and sage sauce is a Seattle comfort food mainstay, but every dish from chef Stuart Lane is memorable. After a satisfying dinner at Spinasse, one might want to head over to next door sibling bar Artusi for a digestif and dessert, or stop by the bar another night for snacks like beef tongue with salsa tonnata (tuna sauce) and burrata with pomegranate seeds and toasted pistachios.

Bourbon Steak Seattle

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Star chef Michael Mina’s new Seattle restaurant serves Washington and Oregon beef as medium-rare steaks, whole butterflied branzino and a smattering of vegetable sides, as well as a black truffle mac and cheese. Bourbon Steak is a classic American fine dining restaurant, done right, with a teal floor, large windows offering views of downtown, and cushy orange chairs perfect for settling back with a glass of wine.

James-Beard-Award-nominated chef Rachel Yang and partner Seif Chirchi offer simple but refined dishes at their Korean-influenced Fremont restaurant, including a smoked mackerel kedgeree and a famed kalbi short rib over grilled kimchi. Expect inventive dishes too, like smoked tofu or beef tartare with Asian pear and pine nuts. With an inviting, open space and easy-going service, Joule offers a special night out sans pretension. Sit at the bar and watch chefs plating dishes, and sip on one of Joule’s creative cocktails, like the lapsang souchong tequila drink with lime and Thai chili agave.

Cafe Juanita

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Kirkland’s Northern Italian fine-dining mainstay reopened its dining room in 2021 with several excellent tasting menus, including pescatarian, vegetarian, and vegan options. Dishes from chef Holly Smith’s omnivore’s tasting menus include grilled Alaskan spot prawns with roe and squab (young pigeon) breast, while the vegan tasting menu includes beet carpaccio and borlotti bean ragout.

Kamonegi

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Star chef Mutsuko Soma makes soba from scratch every day at this Fremont destination, which was chosen as one of  Eater’s Best New Restaurant in America in 2018. Soma serves traditional soba shop dishes like seiro soba (cold with dipping sauce) and super-crunchy tempura but also more creative dishes like soba with oysters and gochujang broth and oreo tempura served with mini toasted marshmallows. Make a full night of it by sampling some sake and snacks at next door sibling bar Hannyatou before heading over to Kamonegi for dinner.

After building a strong following as a pop-up inside Fremont’s Pomerol, the contemporary Indian tasting menu specialist Meesha became a full-fledged restaurant in 2020. Among some of the can’t-miss dishes from chef Preeti Agarwal are rarah keema pao with expertly prepared ground lamb, the fried Amritsari fish, and the paneer in tomato sauce with black cardamom. Takeout is still an option, but the lively dining room and patio are also open for business.

Sushi Kashiba

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Diners have long flocked to the upscale Pike Place restaurant to watch master sushi chef Shiro Kashiba at work, with seats at the bar among the most coveted. Its meticulous attention to detail remains a big draw, as does chef Kashiba, who is credited for bringing edomae-style sushi to Seattle and has opened some of the city’s best-respected sushi restaurants, including the self-titled Shiro’s Sushi Restaurant in Belltown. First-timers should choose the omakase option and embrace each seasonal offering, although Kashiba’s popular black cod off the a la carte menu is also stellar. 

Sushi Kappo Tamura

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Each piece of nigiri in an omakase sushi dinner is a delightful moment to share with a date. Renowned chef Taichi Kitamura (a 2018 James Beard Award semifinalist) provides a wide variety of fantastic meal options at his Eastlake destination restaurant. It has a full sushi menu, as well as a nigiri omakase, which includes 12 pieces of seasonal selections, and brunch on the weekends. Sushi Kappo Tamura sources its seafood from Pacific Northwest producers like Taylor Shellfish and Skagit River Ranch, and has a rooftop garden that provides produce for some of its dishes.

Surrell

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This Madison Valley restaurant by Chef Aaron Tekulve serves constantly changing 8-10 course tasting menus packed with locally sourced ingredients, and also has a wine bar with a menu of exclusively Washington wines as well as a-la-carte snacks reminiscent of Spanish tapas or northern Italian cicchetti. The patios for the restaurant and wine bar are both fully covered, with heaters for each table and canvas to help block the breeze, perfect for a romantic night out for those who don’t feel comfortable with indoor dining at this stage in the pandemic.

Wa'z Seattle

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One of Seattle’s only dedicated kaiseki restaurants, located in the shadow of the Space Needle, makes food almost too beautiful to eat. The premium kaiseki option takes diners on a journey that includes small bites, soup, sashimi, a braised dish, a grilled dish, a rice dish, and dessert. In keeping with kaiseki’s emphasis on seasonality, the menu changes monthly, and customers covet the counter seats, where the chef can tell diners the story of each dish, from ingredients to preparation to picturesque plating.

Nothing says romance like spectacular city views like those at this rooftop bar in South Lake Union. Sip a cocktail like “run to the hills,” made with rye whiskey, lemon, elderflower, and other ingredients, with Middle-Eastern-inspired snacks like hummus, baba ganoush, and green pea falafel, or a glass of champagne with Hama Hama oysters. For a larger meal, try the scallops with saffron risotto, the confit duck, or the lamb shank with ginger puree and coffee honey.

In March 2020, the Canlis family — who owns the 71-year-old Queen Anne icon — posted on its website that “fine dining is not what Seattle needs right now.” Since then, the restaurant wasn’t afraid to try out a host of different looks, including a burger drive-thru, but has now returned to full indoor service with new executive chef Aisha Ibrahimat the helm. The past year of creative menu shifts and a super-seasonal approach from Ibrahim inspired by Japanese kaiseki cooking has re-energized a classic. The current four course menu offers options like poached and chilled mussels with kohlrabi, striploin with green onion and celeriac, and grilled sablefish with matsutake mushrooms.

Spinasse

More than 10 years in, and this romantic trattoria on Capitol Hill continues to entrance diners with food from Italy’s Piedmont region. The nest of delicate tajarin pasta with butter and sage sauce is a Seattle comfort food mainstay, but every dish from chef Stuart Lane is memorable. After a satisfying dinner at Spinasse, one might want to head over to next door sibling bar Artusi for a digestif and dessert, or stop by the bar another night for snacks like beef tongue with salsa tonnata (tuna sauce) and burrata with pomegranate seeds and toasted pistachios.

Bourbon Steak Seattle

Star chef Michael Mina’s new Seattle restaurant serves Washington and Oregon beef as medium-rare steaks, whole butterflied branzino and a smattering of vegetable sides, as well as a black truffle mac and cheese. Bourbon Steak is a classic American fine dining restaurant, done right, with a teal floor, large windows offering views of downtown, and cushy orange chairs perfect for settling back with a glass of wine.

Joule

James-Beard-Award-nominated chef Rachel Yang and partner Seif Chirchi offer simple but refined dishes at their Korean-influenced Fremont restaurant, including a smoked mackerel kedgeree and a famed kalbi short rib over grilled kimchi. Expect inventive dishes too, like smoked tofu or beef tartare with Asian pear and pine nuts. With an inviting, open space and easy-going service, Joule offers a special night out sans pretension. Sit at the bar and watch chefs plating dishes, and sip on one of Joule’s creative cocktails, like the lapsang souchong tequila drink with lime and Thai chili agave.

Cafe Juanita

Kirkland’s Northern Italian fine-dining mainstay reopened its dining room in 2021 with several excellent tasting menus, including pescatarian, vegetarian, and vegan options. Dishes from chef Holly Smith’s omnivore’s tasting menus include grilled Alaskan spot prawns with roe and squab (young pigeon) breast, while the vegan tasting menu includes beet carpaccio and borlotti bean ragout.

Kamonegi

Star chef Mutsuko Soma makes soba from scratch every day at this Fremont destination, which was chosen as one of  Eater’s Best New Restaurant in America in 2018. Soma serves traditional soba shop dishes like seiro soba (cold with dipping sauce) and super-crunchy tempura but also more creative dishes like soba with oysters and gochujang broth and oreo tempura served with mini toasted marshmallows. Make a full night of it by sampling some sake and snacks at next door sibling bar Hannyatou before heading over to Kamonegi for dinner.

Meesha

After building a strong following as a pop-up inside Fremont’s Pomerol, the contemporary Indian tasting menu specialist Meesha became a full-fledged restaurant in 2020. Among some of the can’t-miss dishes from chef Preeti Agarwal are rarah keema pao with expertly prepared ground lamb, the fried Amritsari fish, and the paneer in tomato sauce with black cardamom. Takeout is still an option, but the lively dining room and patio are also open for business.

Sushi Kashiba

Diners have long flocked to the upscale Pike Place restaurant to watch master sushi chef Shiro Kashiba at work, with seats at the bar among the most coveted. Its meticulous attention to detail remains a big draw, as does chef Kashiba, who is credited for bringing edomae-style sushi to Seattle and has opened some of the city’s best-respected sushi restaurants, including the self-titled Shiro’s Sushi Restaurant in Belltown. First-timers should choose the omakase option and embrace each seasonal offering, although Kashiba’s popular black cod off the a la carte menu is also stellar. 

Sushi Kappo Tamura

Each piece of nigiri in an omakase sushi dinner is a delightful moment to share with a date. Renowned chef Taichi Kitamura (a 2018 James Beard Award semifinalist) provides a wide variety of fantastic meal options at his Eastlake destination restaurant. It has a full sushi menu, as well as a nigiri omakase, which includes 12 pieces of seasonal selections, and brunch on the weekends. Sushi Kappo Tamura sources its seafood from Pacific Northwest producers like Taylor Shellfish and Skagit River Ranch, and has a rooftop garden that provides produce for some of its dishes.

Surrell

This Madison Valley restaurant by Chef Aaron Tekulve serves constantly changing 8-10 course tasting menus packed with locally sourced ingredients, and also has a wine bar with a menu of exclusively Washington wines as well as a-la-carte snacks reminiscent of Spanish tapas or northern Italian cicchetti. The patios for the restaurant and wine bar are both fully covered, with heaters for each table and canvas to help block the breeze, perfect for a romantic night out for those who don’t feel comfortable with indoor dining at this stage in the pandemic.

Wa'z Seattle

One of Seattle’s only dedicated kaiseki restaurants, located in the shadow of the Space Needle, makes food almost too beautiful to eat. The premium kaiseki option takes diners on a journey that includes small bites, soup, sashimi, a braised dish, a grilled dish, a rice dish, and dessert. In keeping with kaiseki’s emphasis on seasonality, the menu changes monthly, and customers covet the counter seats, where the chef can tell diners the story of each dish, from ingredients to preparation to picturesque plating.

mbar

Nothing says romance like spectacular city views like those at this rooftop bar in South Lake Union. Sip a cocktail like “run to the hills,” made with rye whiskey, lemon, elderflower, and other ingredients, with Middle-Eastern-inspired snacks like hummus, baba ganoush, and green pea falafel, or a glass of champagne with Hama Hama oysters. For a larger meal, try the scallops with saffron risotto, the confit duck, or the lamb shank with ginger puree and coffee honey.

Canlis

In March 2020, the Canlis family — who owns the 71-year-old Queen Anne icon — posted on its website that “fine dining is not what Seattle needs right now.” Since then, the restaurant wasn’t afraid to try out a host of different looks, including a burger drive-thru, but has now returned to full indoor service with new executive chef Aisha Ibrahimat the helm. The past year of creative menu shifts and a super-seasonal approach from Ibrahim inspired by Japanese kaiseki cooking has re-energized a classic. The current four course menu offers options like poached and chilled mussels with kohlrabi, striploin with green onion and celeriac, and grilled sablefish with matsutake mushrooms.

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