Seattle >Food & Dining > Canlis Restaurant
2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA | Directions 9810947.642877 -122.346623
Neighborhoods: Magnolia / Queen Anne, Magnolia - Queen Anne, East Queen Anne
Seattles o's once and future steakhouse is as famous for its near-legendary wine program as for its steaks, and even more so for its famed Canlis salad, now in the hands of Eleven Madison Park alumni Jason Franey.
Be prepared for a long dining experience when ordering from the tasting menu. Each flavorful course is a beautifully plated feast for the eyes and well worth the wait!
If you don't want all the fuss and muss of a full meal in the dining room, grab a table in the bar! Delicious and large cocktails, full menu available and the view is just as good. No ressies required but the dress code still stands.
Go all in with multiple courses in the dining room that boasts gorgeous lake and mountain views (the duck and sweetbreads are legendary) or save your c-notes and grab a cocktail and nosh in the equally elegant piano lounge.
One of my favorite places in the city to sit in the sunken lounge, have a cocktail (barman James MacWilliams is one of Seattle's best) and order from the bar menu. Chef Jason Franey's attention to detail is mind-blowing, creating works of art out of the simplest ingredients. I can't rave about this place enough.
Amazing food and absolutely beautiful venue. Highly recommend it if you are in Seattle!
Parsnip soup. Before partaking at Canlis, I never thought I'd be associating the phrase "good enough to lick the bowl clean" with parsnip soup. But I did (both associate the phrase and indeed lick the bowl clean)...and I would do it again.
Peter Canlis prawns. Another dish in which I was wishing I had more bread in order to sop up all the phenomenal sauce that was left after I'd inhaled the delicate-tasting shrimp (er, prawns).
Nebraska Filet Mignon. Who knew I had an affinity for anything related to Nebraska? Hmmm. Classically prepared and delicious, my only beef (haha) was that the carrot puree actually slightly overshadowed/impinged on my enjoyment of pure beefy taste. I guess I am a beef purist.
Forest mushrooms: Anything that combines sherry and garlic is a win for me.
Dessert? Yes, please! Mille-Feuille: Bananas, banana caramel and dark chocolate - it was like taking Chunky Monkey to a brand-new, sophisticated adult level. Sinful.
Both the views and the staff service are stellar.
Good spot – I used to come here a lot when I was a student. I had some great times, and lots of good memories. THe food is very good but a little expensive for a student. I enjoyed it more after I had a full time job. Then the bill was easier to pay :)
Severe Disappointment With Seattle's Flagship Restaurant – Had not been to Seattle's most heralded restaurant for quite a few years, so 2009 we celebrated our venerable 55th wedding anniversary there. All services and server personnel were outstanding: delivering the finest one could ask for (better than London's Savoy Grill!).
The food needed a minuscule of this attention to lift it from mediocre to passable. We were thoroughly disappointed with every aspect of the pretentious cuisine. The minuscule tastings were flavorless and hard to discern what was being served. Potatoes on one dish were three blobs (likened to a Hershey Kiss), saucing was watery and void of cohesive verve to marry the proffered victuals supposed to be so covered.
Severely over-rated. Maybe still a place to see and to be seen, but certainly not by anybody with an interest in quality cooking. It was a mid-week reservation, so doubt such a disappointment was "chefs night off".
Come hungry, leave hungry – Gourmet, gourmet, but please, how about a little more bottom line value for those sky high prices.
Elegant, Formal, Gourmet – Dress to impress. Don't even think about going slightly casual. The wine list is huge, but daunting. The service is over the top with sophistication and almost too formal for our taste. The seating is not private or romantic, and at times it can be akward getting behind and around other guests tables; only a handful of tables have any kind of view. The food was served creatively and very good, but I wish there was more choices on the menu.
Friendly, fancy, fun, and fantastic! – My husband surprised me by taking me to the legendary restaurant. I had always thought it was probably overrated. I was so wrong! The service was superb, the food was fantastic, and the ambiance was amazing. What makes the experience even more unbelievable was that it wasn't as expensive as I had once thought. We spent just a little bit more than we had at Ray's the year before. And there is just no comparison between those two restaurants on all accounts. Skip three nights out at your run-of-the-mill restaurants (e.g., Olive Garden) and you can have one unforgettable experience at The Canlis!
Best in Seattle – My wife and I went to the Canlis and had our best Seattle dining experience to date and one of our best anywhere. The food was excellent (we had the Muscovy duck for two), the service was gracious and flawless, the price was comparable to any of the other supposed Seattle elites, and the atmosphere was stunning. We are in our early thirties and find ourselves annoyed with Seattle's hippie hangover, especially in regard to dining apparel. If we spend two to three hundred on dinner, we want to dress up and dine like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers—and that's hard to do when you're surrounded by people in short pants and mom-jeans or tourists with fanny packs (not an uncommon sight at Anthony's, Salty's, or Ray's). We found the Canlis to be an oasis of North-west elegance in a way-too-often class-parched city.
Terrible Service and Sneaky Behavior – It took nearly twenty minutes to get our appertifs. The wait staff was visibly irritated that we brought our own bottle of wine. We were celebrating a birthday and our server brought out an extra dessert with a candle. Well, guess what was on the check? The "complimentary" dessert. We asked our server if this was standard and she turned beet red, mumbled something under her breath and ran off quickly to adjust our bill. It was quite apparent that this was no mistake and that the restaurant banks on most people not reviewing their bill. Maybe we were being punished for bringing our own bottle of wine - even though we ordered appertifs and a second bottle of wine. I've been a Canlis supporter for years and, I have to say, this was the kind of service that I might have expected from TGI Fridays. Wait, I take that back - I actually think I would have received better service there...
All about the view - so get a good table – Be careful which table you get, as this restaurant is all about the view. Although I made my reservation weeks and weeks in advance, and mentioned that it was a special occasion, our party of six was given the only table in the restaurant without a view. I called the day before and reminded them that I requested a full view table over a month before. Three of the six of us faced a wall. One faced a pole and staircase and the other two had a side view of the water. We each cruised the restaurant after dinner and all agreed that we had the worst table, and the only no view table. The oysters are not worth it. They were quite a disappointment. The famous double baked potato was so salty that the one we bought to share was left mostly uneaten. Ditto the pureed potatoes served with the salmon. The salmon, however, was exquisite. The best I've ever had. The Grand Marnier souffle was a 4 out of 5. The donuts they also claim to be famous for are no big deal. Canlis should send the pastry chef to Bouchon in Napa or Vegas to learn how to make great gourmet donuts. We were told that men must wear jackets or they would not be seated in the dining room. My husbands and sons all dutifully packed appropriate attire, only to see several men throughout the restaurant without jackets. Overall this very expensive restaurant was a big disappointment and I won't be back.
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