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The exterior of Canlis restaurant at night with the dining room lit up
Queen Anne classic Canlis has been re-energized with a new executive chef.
Canlis

Seattle Restaurants Ideal for Celebrating a Special Occasion

Meals worthy of revelry

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Queen Anne classic Canlis has been re-energized with a new executive chef.
| Canlis

Like everything else during the pandemic, celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or any other special occasion may take a little more careful planning than before. But that doesn’t mean great food can’t be part of the equation. If one is looking to splurge on a fancy night out, here are some options around town worthy of revelry, several of which are still offering a few takeout and family meal options.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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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 Kirkland’s Northern Italian fine-dining mainstay, chef Holly Smith and her team have crafted several excellent tasting menus (including pescatarian and vegan options), as well as an exhaustive wine list. The warm, tastefully decorated dining room is more approachable than a lot of high-end restaurants, just note that proof of vaccination is required for entry.

2. Samara

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6414 32nd Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 946-6997
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Perched in Sunset Hill, this upscale bistro features fire-roasted veggies and an assortment of thoughtfully-crafted seafood dishes, including the popular Dungeness crab on a charred rice cake and the applewood smoked magret of duck. Don’t forget about the elegant cocktails, including a maple syrup old fashioned.

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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Fremont’s upscale-but-welcoming restaurant on Stone Way has made adjustments during the pandemic, including offering heat-at-home selections and pantry items. It also recently reopened for dine-in service, with a five-course tasting menu that includes white sturgeon with corn custard, char siu glazed pork belly, and a smoky dark chocolate take on S’mores.

4. Meesha

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127 N 36th St
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 632-0135
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After building a strong following as a pop-up, the modern Indian culinary specialist Meesha is now a full-fledged restaurant tailor-made for celebrations. Among some of the can’t-miss dishes are the rarah keema pao (spiced ground lamb) and the scallops with apple chutney, pickled celeriac, and microgreens. Save room for the satisfying kulcha and excellent desserts.

5. Joule

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3506 Stone Way N
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 632-5685
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This lively, Korean-influenced dining destination in Fremont from acclaimed chef Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi features wonderful seafood and red meat dishes, all impeccably presented. In particular, the entree simply known as ‘that’ short rib steak lives up to the hype, helping Yang earn a James Beard Award nomination in 2020.

6. Canlis

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2576 Aurora Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 283-3313
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Known as one of the most iconic special occasion destinations in Seattle, this Queen Anne classic wasn’t afraid to try out a host of different looks during the pandemic, including a burger drive-thru. But it has now returned to its full, award-winning indoor service with new executive chef Aisha Ibrahim at the helm, re-energizing a classic.

7. Eden Hill Restaurant

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2209 Queen Anne Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 708-6836
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This upscale Queen Anne favorite (with a more casual sibling restaurant nearby) has resumed onsite dining with tasting menu options as well as shared plates. Dishes include a delectable cider-braised rabbit, scallops with caviar, and the restaurant’s famed foie gras cake batter for dessert, while a newly constructed patio is a welcome addition in the warmer months.

8. Wa'z

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411 Cedar St
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 441-7119
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In 2018, chef Hiro Tawara opened this fantastic Japanese restaurant devoted to the art of kaiseki, a traditional multi-course meal featuring meticulously plated dishes with an emphasis on seasonality. Some notable recent items have included deep fried smelt in sweet vinegar sauce, lingcod with eggplant and plum, and wagyu rice bowls.

9. Communion Restaurant and Bar

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2350 E Union St
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 257-4227
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Chef Kristi Brown’s new restaurant in the Central District blends Asian, Ethiopian, and Southern influences in dishes such as fried oyster mushroom po’ mi (a banh mi-po boy hybrid), berbere black eyed pea hummus, and fried catfish sushi, all fit for a special feast. And the bourbon and rum-heavy cocktail program is out of sight as well.

10. Sushi Kashiba

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86 Pine St Suite #1
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 441-8844
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Diners have long flocked to the spendy 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 the restaurant reopens for onsite dining. First-timers should choose the omakase option and embrace each seasonal offering.

11. Cafe Campagne

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1600 Post Alley
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 728-2233
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This Post Alley wonder is well-regarded for its dedication to traditional Parisian fare. Locally sourced ingredients from Pike Place Market go into preparations for classic dishes, such as crispy duck leg confit, beef bourguignon, and killer quiches, available as cook-at-home meals, as well as onsite dining (proof of vaccination required).

12. Il Nido

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2717 61st Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98116
(206) 466-6265
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Acclaimed chef Mike Easton turned the historic Alki Homestead into a classic Seattle dining experience, with meaty entrees and his famed handcrafted pastas that rotate regularly. He also aims to make the restaurant more accessible with a new “aperitivo hour” that doesn’t require reservations, as well as a patio. But the main dinner service continues to be a special treat.

13. Phoenecia

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4717 42nd Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98116
(206) 492-5694
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This Lebanese restaurant has been a West Seattle staple for decades, and more recently underwent a striking revamp when it moved to a new location a block away. Its menu of entrees such as balsamic-braised lamb shank, and desserts like Nutella cheesecake, usually rise to any big occasion.

14. The Corson Building

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5609 Corson Ave S
Seattle, WA 98108
(206) 762-3330
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Located in an Italianate cottage from the early part of the 20th century, this restaurant-catering operation has won over diners for years. It’s seasonal, multi-course dinners include items such as corn soup with spot prawns, roasted lingcod, and grilled guinea hen with porcini, dandelions, hazelnuts, and cherries. Open for onsite dining, including patio seating.

15. Archipelago

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5607 Rainier Ave S
Seattle, WA 98118

At Hillman City’s acclaimed Philippine fine dining restaurant, husband-and-wife team Aaron Verzosa and Amber Manuguid execute wonderfully inventive dishes that weave the narrative of their personal journeys growing up in the area, and that of Filipino immigrants to the Pacific Northwest. There’s a compelling history lesson in each 10-to-12 course sitting. Proof of vaccination required for entry.

1. Cafe Juanita

9702 NE 120th Pl, Kirkland, WA 98034

At Kirkland’s Northern Italian fine-dining mainstay, chef Holly Smith and her team have crafted several excellent tasting menus (including pescatarian and vegan options), as well as an exhaustive wine list. The warm, tastefully decorated dining room is more approachable than a lot of high-end restaurants, just note that proof of vaccination is required for entry.

9702 NE 120th Pl
Kirkland, WA 98034

2. Samara

6414 32nd Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107

Perched in Sunset Hill, this upscale bistro features fire-roasted veggies and an assortment of thoughtfully-crafted seafood dishes, including the popular Dungeness crab on a charred rice cake and the applewood smoked magret of duck. Don’t forget about the elegant cocktails, including a maple syrup old fashioned.

6414 32nd Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107

3. Art of the Table

3801 Stone Way N Suite A, Seattle, WA 98103

Fremont’s upscale-but-welcoming restaurant on Stone Way has made adjustments during the pandemic, including offering heat-at-home selections and pantry items. It also recently reopened for dine-in service, with a five-course tasting menu that includes white sturgeon with corn custard, char siu glazed pork belly, and a smoky dark chocolate take on S’mores.

3801 Stone Way N Suite A
Seattle, WA 98103

4. Meesha

127 N 36th St, Seattle, WA 98103

After building a strong following as a pop-up, the modern Indian culinary specialist Meesha is now a full-fledged restaurant tailor-made for celebrations. Among some of the can’t-miss dishes are the rarah keema pao (spiced ground lamb) and the scallops with apple chutney, pickled celeriac, and microgreens. Save room for the satisfying kulcha and excellent desserts.

127 N 36th St
Seattle, WA 98103

5. Joule

3506 Stone Way N, Seattle, WA 98103

This lively, Korean-influenced dining destination in Fremont from acclaimed chef Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi features wonderful seafood and red meat dishes, all impeccably presented. In particular, the entree simply known as ‘that’ short rib steak lives up to the hype, helping Yang earn a James Beard Award nomination in 2020.

3506 Stone Way N
Seattle, WA 98103

6. Canlis

2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

Known as one of the most iconic special occasion destinations in Seattle, this Queen Anne classic wasn’t afraid to try out a host of different looks during the pandemic, including a burger drive-thru. But it has now returned to its full, award-winning indoor service with new executive chef Aisha Ibrahim at the helm, re-energizing a classic.

2576 Aurora Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109

7. Eden Hill Restaurant

2209 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

This upscale Queen Anne favorite (with a more casual sibling restaurant nearby) has resumed onsite dining with tasting menu options as well as shared plates. Dishes include a delectable cider-braised rabbit, scallops with caviar, and the restaurant’s famed foie gras cake batter for dessert, while a newly constructed patio is a welcome addition in the warmer months.

2209 Queen Anne Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109

8. Wa'z

411 Cedar St, Seattle, WA 98121

In 2018, chef Hiro Tawara opened this fantastic Japanese restaurant devoted to the art of kaiseki, a traditional multi-course meal featuring meticulously plated dishes with an emphasis on seasonality. Some notable recent items have included deep fried smelt in sweet vinegar sauce, lingcod with eggplant and plum, and wagyu rice bowls.

411 Cedar St
Seattle, WA 98121

9. Communion Restaurant and Bar

2350 E Union St, Seattle, WA 98122

Chef Kristi Brown’s new restaurant in the Central District blends Asian, Ethiopian, and Southern influences in dishes such as fried oyster mushroom po’ mi (a banh mi-po boy hybrid), berbere black eyed pea hummus, and fried catfish sushi, all fit for a special feast. And the bourbon and rum-heavy cocktail program is out of sight as well.

2350 E Union St
Seattle, WA 98122

10. Sushi Kashiba

86 Pine St Suite #1, Seattle, WA 98101

Diners have long flocked to the spendy 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 the restaurant reopens for onsite dining. First-timers should choose the omakase option and embrace each seasonal offering.

86 Pine St Suite #1
Seattle, WA 98101

11. Cafe Campagne

1600 Post Alley, Seattle, WA 98101

This Post Alley wonder is well-regarded for its dedication to traditional Parisian fare. Locally sourced ingredients from Pike Place Market go into preparations for classic dishes, such as crispy duck leg confit, beef bourguignon, and killer quiches, available as cook-at-home meals, as well as onsite dining (proof of vaccination required).

1600 Post Alley
Seattle, WA 98101

12. Il Nido

2717 61st Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116

Acclaimed chef Mike Easton turned the historic Alki Homestead into a classic Seattle dining experience, with meaty entrees and his famed handcrafted pastas that rotate regularly. He also aims to make the restaurant more accessible with a new “aperitivo hour” that doesn’t require reservations, as well as a patio. But the main dinner service continues to be a special treat.

2717 61st Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98116

13. Phoenecia

4717 42nd Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116

This Lebanese restaurant has been a West Seattle staple for decades, and more recently underwent a striking revamp when it moved to a new location a block away. Its menu of entrees such as balsamic-braised lamb shank, and desserts like Nutella cheesecake, usually rise to any big occasion.

4717 42nd Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98116

14. The Corson Building

5609 Corson Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108

Located in an Italianate cottage from the early part of the 20th century, this restaurant-catering operation has won over diners for years. It’s seasonal, multi-course dinners include items such as corn soup with spot prawns, roasted lingcod, and grilled guinea hen with porcini, dandelions, hazelnuts, and cherries. Open for onsite dining, including patio seating.

5609 Corson Ave S
Seattle, WA 98108

15. Archipelago

5607 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118

At Hillman City’s acclaimed Philippine fine dining restaurant, husband-and-wife team Aaron Verzosa and Amber Manuguid execute wonderfully inventive dishes that weave the narrative of their personal journeys growing up in the area, and that of Filipino immigrants to the Pacific Northwest. There’s a compelling history lesson in each 10-to-12 course sitting. Proof of vaccination required for entry.

5607 Rainier Ave S
Seattle, WA 98118

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