When you ask about fine dining in Seattle, the standard response is “Canlis.” Founded in 1950, it’s one of the only restaurants around with a dress code. It’s also a third-generation family institution, now run by brothers Mark and Brian. Today, they work with chef Brady Williams, who won Best Chef: Northwest in 2019 for a meticulous yet adventurous approach to Pacific Northwest ingredients, like geoduck in a fermented green tomato and cucumber broth or rabbit with herbs grown on-site. The same year, Canlis won Design Icon for its dramatic midcentury space angling over Lake Union from high above in Westlake. Two years prior, the restaurant triumphed for Outstanding Wine Program—needless to say, Canlis provides a memorable night out.
*Canlis, 2576 Aurora Ave N
The Sea Creatures restaurant group has a couple of strong through-lines, including seafood (naturally) and local ingredients filtered through a French lens. It’s all overseen deftly by Erickson, who won Best Chef: Northwest in 2016 for The Whale Wins, a Fremont favorite dedicated to wood-fired food. The space is reminiscent of a cottage by the sea, and the menu changes daily to showcase the likes of clams with fermented cabbage. For more from this renowned chef, try Ballard oyster bar The Walrus and the Carpenter or General Porpoise, whose several locations are dedicated to good coffee and yeasted doughnuts filled with curds and creams.
The Whale Wins, 3506 Stone Way N
The Walrus and the Carpenter, 4743 Ballard Ave NW
General Porpoise, Multiple locations
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