Are you looking for somewhere to take out your significant other for Valentines Day? Perhaps you just have an anniversary coming up, or maybe you are getting ready for your first date. Whatever the occasion, we are here to help you find the right restaurant for each of these possible events!
If you live in Seattle, there are many great restaurants to choose from. They are located everywhere, from Ballard to Capitol Hill. Our goal is to help narrow down the expansive list and wow who ever you are taking out for a special night.
For People who have been dating for a while:
Manolin is a contemporary restaurant that has a beautiful design, amazing food and great service. If you are looking for a relaxed environment to take someone special to that you have been dating for a while, Manolin is a good choice. The kitchen sits somewhat in the center, and you can sit right next to most of it if you are at the counter. Noise level was only moderate, so you can carry on a conversation with your significant other easily without straining your voice. Throughout the night, you feel like you are in the homes of the chefs cooking in front of you. You can watch as they sear off fish, and grill their racks of lamb, while at the the same time enjoying a tastefully prepared drink. All of this makes for a great place to take a girl or boyfriend on a special outing like a birthday, anniversary, etc.
The food itself is homey, flavorful and well priced! They have a small menu broken down by snacks, garden, grill, fish and dessert. Each of these have offer about 2-5 items. Their garden options are scrumptious. A combination of playful and satisfying. If your friend is vegetarian, you won’t have to spend 20 minutes scouring the menu to try to find something to eat. Manolin’s dishes range from $8-$20. You should order 2 plates per person at least. This will come out to about $60-$80. Personally, I find this a good medium price. If you were to try to order 2 dishes per person at other restaurants in Seattle that served food of this quality it would be around $80-$120. Of course, these plates don’t have as big portions, but it allows you to try more flavors(which is personally valuable).
Overall, Manolin does an excellent job of creating a cozy dining experience. Their food and decor combine create a special ambiance that is relaxing. It is no wonder they have been reconginzed by Seattle Eater for the top 38 Essential Restaurants in Seattle.
Lark is, personally, a Seattle classic. The restaurant itself was opened in 2003 and has thrived ever since. John Sundstorm, the chef, has worked at several restaurants in Seattle before starting his own shop. He worked at Carmelitas (sadly, no longer in exisitance), which was a great vegetarian restaurant in Greenwood. They actually made vegetarian food taste good, without trying to make it taste like meat. Let’s forget about the past.
Recently, Lark moved to a new location. It is bigger and shares its space with some of John Sundstorm’s other enterprises. The newly renovated Lark is spectacular. Their interior design is a great example of contemporary mixed with old school. The linens are white, and the light bulbs looked like they were invented in 1879 (and I mean they look snazzy). There is something to that old school charm.
Unlike Manolin, this is a much pricier option. Menu items vary from about $13-$40. This can rack up quickly on a bill. In addition, if you are a vegetarian, you are going to have a hard time trying to find anything to eat on this menu. There are really only 2 options that are options…which are soup and salad. Of course, you could order the sides, or cheese, but I don’t consider those options.
All that aside, if you are a meat eater, you will be very happy. I think what Mr. Sundstorm does best is flavor combinations and execution. All of his choices work so well together. On top of that, the execution of his dishes are sits on somewhere on a top 10 list. There is some real talent working in that kitchen. If your significant other is a foodie, and eats meat, this is a place worth considering.
I was really happy when I saw Altura also made the Seattle Eaters top 38 list. Altura is an amazing restaurant that I don’t think gets mentioned enough(more like, often enough). Sure, people talk about Renee Erikson, Cafe Juanita, Canlis, etc. However, I feel like Altura get’s lost.
Maybe it is because of its location, maybe because of the price tag. I am not sure. None of those are good reasons to me. Altura is very much a place worth going when you are trying to impress your special someone. Especially if you just so happened to sign off a big contract, or settle some million dollar deal. Might as well treat yourself!
The level of skill at Altura is beyond just high. They produce some serious good eats. I know at some point in my career I emailed about staging, although I never got an email back. I had one meal there and I knew they were on a different level.
Tilth is just a place that has a soft spot in my heart. Not because I worked there (although I remember I tried interning there and Cafe Juanita at the same time, they said no of course).
One of my favorite things about Tilth is the actual building. It is just a small house really. The food is good but the atmosphere is just better.
1st, 2nd and 3rd Dates
Let’s be honest. A first date is no time to set the bar way too high. If you’re the kind of person that has to cover the bill on the first few dates, it doesn’t seem intelligent to flash your cash in front of your date. Besides, if you are really trying to get to know someone, going to some fancy resturant is not exactly comfortable, at least not for me. Something about the increased prestige makes it harder to relax. Especially when you are an Ex-Cook. Then everyone expects you to know the best places, and there is just added pressure.
Instead, a first, second or third date should be relaxed. So I find a casual restaurant is best(of course this is just me, if you want to take a first date somewhere fancy, try Canlis, or some of the places above). Kedai Makan is a great example of a relaxed atmosphere, but high quality food. Plus, the food is reasonably priced. Only a little more expensive than what you might be paying for lunch.
Like Kedai Makan, Revel won’t break your bank for your first few dates out. My favorite menu category that Revel offers is their pancakes. Now, don’t get these confused with the pancakes you get at IHOP, oh no no no. These are much better. They are more of an omelet with a little bit of starch, vs your standard American Pancake. You should definitely try the kimchi pancake. You won’t be sorry.
Besides their pancakes, they also commonly have a lot of other inexpensive dishes that won’t disappoint your guest. Especially if they are a food. They have dishes like Roasted Duck, Smoked Tea Noodle, Pickled Raisin, Duck Crackling and Smoky Mushroom, Garlic Chive, Sweet Miso dumplings and those are just two of the dishes. All of their dishes will excite the taste buds. They do a great job of knocking out some really good flavors.
Any place that does really good Italian food wins me over. Yes, Italian food isn’t always the hardest to do per se. But really well executed Italian food is rare. Now, unlike Revel and Kedai…Staple and Fancy is on the more expensive side. In fact, you could go to Lark for the same money. If you are trying to impress your first, 2nd or third date, then perhaps, consider Staple and Fancy. Lark is very stuffy, and really is better for special occasions. Staple and Fancy is about the same price as Lark, but the atmosphere is much more relaxed.
Let’s say you don’t want to go anywhere fancy at all. You just want to have a casual meal out with some guy or gal. You don’t want to have any strange food, or spend too much on your bill. Perhaps your a couple who have been together for a while and just want a nice place to go with all the stress of getting ready for a nice restaurant. Serious Pie is a great option. It offers great seasonal flavors, and, well…amazing pizza.
I am sure some people think this place is over-hyped and to some extent you are right. However, the pizza is still good and worth going too. Don’t let the over hype keep you from eating here. I get it, you don’t want to do what everyone is doing. Most of the time, I feel the same. I always like good pizza.
I didn’t mean to have two restaurants by Renee Erickson…I just did. In no way am I a fan boy. These few restaurants I listed are just a few of tens of restaurants I could recommend. If you were to email me and give me a price range, food type, etc, I could give you a place you would enjoy.
Being that you haven’t done that, you are sadly subjected to my general recommendations. In this case, the Walrus and the Carpenter is a “Tapas” bar style restaurant. All of its plates are under $20 (most of the time). This allows a group of diners to order several dishes and not break the bank. Of course, it does add up fast, so do be careful. As the name suggests, many of their courses are of the sea. As a Seattleite, I personally adore this. They do have a few meat dishes, but this is very far from a steak house. So if that is what you are hoping for, you are going to be very sad…
Whatever your plans are, whether it is Valentines day, or just a date, why not take them somewhere special! Don’t get confused by all the special menus, Valentines Specials, and clearly marketing gimmicks that other restaurants may attempt to lure in two lovers. Take my advice! If you like food, you won’t be sorry!