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 – I absolutely love this restaurant. The Canlis prawns is the best appetizer on the menu. I get it every time I go. But I do not recommend getting the prawns as a main dish because the dish is very rich and may be too much as an entree.
This restaurant is great for a date or to go with a small group of people. The service I receive each time I go is without a doubt the best service anyone can possibly offer. They respect your space, but at the same time make sure you have the best dining experience ever.
I absolutely adore this place and recommend it to everyone who likes great food and amazing service.
Unbelievable experience – I dined at Canlis last Tuesday night and had an absolutely wonderful time. Every aspect of my experience was excellent. The maitre'd kindly seated me at the table in the corner of the windows at the far end of the bar, maximizing my view of Lake Union. Erin was my waitress and did a magnificent job of serving and advising me through the wonderful meal. I began with the yellowtail appetizer, which was fantastic, and then tried the the salmon entrée, and the Mahi Mahi. Both were superb, indeed among the best I have ever experienced. The sommelier whose name I unfortunately cannot recall guided me to the 2004 Sea Smoke Botella Pinot Noir which was unbelievable, enhanced by beautiful Riedel glassware. I finished with the cheese plate which was also amazing (I am running out of superlatives now) accompanied by a glass of the 1977 Warre's - nothing else need be said about that! Indeed no part of my experience was less that wonderful. I spent four hours over dinner and could easily have spent another two :)
Canlis came highly recommended, but even with high expectations I were pleasantly delighted. I anticipate my next business trip to Seattle with great interest so that I may visit again.
To AFitz, regarding the Artichokes – I tried to comment on the review below, but apparently it was too long. So I'm pasting it here!
Wow. I MUST respond to the Artichoke review with FACTS.
1. I have eaten this very same tasting menu. It was last week Monday.
2. There ARE morels in the first course. That large dollop of white mousse is made almost entirely from fresh morels. I know because I asked our server (perhaps you should have done the same?). Additionally, there are candied morels sprinkled all over the top. And for the record, I thought this dish was DIVINE. Like springtime in your mouth.
3. CANNED ARTICHOKES?!!! Are YOU kidding ME?!!! This simple observation really speaks to a) your culinary expertise, and b) your baffling decision to not raise any of your concerns to your server or to management who would have, I imagine, happily addressed your concerns. Those artichokes aren't canned, they are prepared with a French technique called barigoule. Do I expect a normal non-foody to know that? No....but I would expect you to ask about it if you were so concerned.
The other dishes....you obviously didn't like them, and that's okay. I happened to think they were all brilliant. We each get our own opinion.
Regarding the service....I'm surprised it wasn't very good. I've eaten at Canlis multiple times and have always been very impressed with the service. The one time I had a complaint (long wait for my main course) the owner himself was at my table apologizing in minutes. Look....I'm in the industry...and when a restaurant screws up you have to give them a chance to fix it! If they don't make it right, THEN you should be angry.
Canned artichoke hearts? You have to be kidding. – Went to Canlis for a friend's 50th Birthday. 3 of us had the Chef's Tasting Menu.
#1 - Peas with morels and mint
If there were morels in this espresso cup of peas, I couldn't find them. Certainly couldn't taste them. Lot of mint, that was for sure and they bound the peas together with a bit of gelatin, kind of aspic light. Very problematic texture if you ask me. This dish should have been a wonderful taste of Spring. Instead, it was minty peas with snot. Disappointing.
#2 - Yellow fin tuna with spring onions, garlic and bonito flakes.
The fish looked like very high quality tuna, but you couldn't tell by tasting since they absolutely overwhelmed it with very strong onion and garlic. Tasted like sashimi that someone smacked with way too much wasabi. Very amateurish.
#3 - Sea Bass with saffron and tapioca
Nice piece of fish, but the saffron was as absent in this dish as were the morels in the first. And for the record, I don't like bubble tea. And these were those big tapioca pearls, swimming in a very rich, butter upon butter reduction. Forget the rubbery and slippery texture of this dish for a second, take bouncy tapioca pearls, have them swimming in a rich and buttery sauce and hand the diner a fork. Congrats, you have created a culinary version of the game marbles. Maybe dinner-plate pinball is a better description. This didn't work on so many levels.
#4 - Lamb with artichokes and Moroccan spices.
Very nice bit of lamb loin with a little link of very tasty lamb sausage but are you ready for this: Canned artichoke hearts. I was speechless. I still am. Did the chef apprentice at The Olive Garden? This is simply a capital offense by the kitchen.
#5 - Rhubarb Napoleon
I have always found Napoleons to be boring. They always look much better than they actually taste. This was no exception.
Wine: Their wine list is one of the most impressive in town both in depth and breadth. All you need are deep pockets.
Service: Trying hard to please, but have their priorities askew. Wine glasses left empty too often, requiring you to request that someone come and actually fill your glass with wine that you brought or purchased (wine was in a decanter that was kept on a sideboard), coffee cups brought but no coffee to actually pour into them for 20 minutes. A side of pomme frites were forgotten, requests would be made and rather than having it attended to, they special person who is in charge of that specific request was summoned, giving you the opportunity to voice the request again. However, if you get up to go use the restroom, or to say hello to someone a few tables away, a staff member will sweep in like a hawk within 20 seconds and quickly gets your napkin folded into some origami shape that greets you upon your return. Not snooty, just way more complicated than life needs to be. And while I like a leisurely dining experience, this dinner came in at 4 1/2 hours. And with corkage and champagne and tax and tip, it penciled out to $150/person I would guess.
Fine dining at it's best/Best for special occasions – Food was delicious; appetizers, entree, and dessert. I had the Dungeness Crab Cake, Filet Mignon, and topped it off with a Crème Brûlée. Since it was our first visit and my birthday, we received a few small (i mean small) extra dishes from the kitchen.
We sat on the main dining floor facing the window overlooking Lake Union. Although, from my seat, it looks like from any seat in the house you would have a view of Lake Union. Luckily it was not raining, so the view was great.
The food service provided by the staff was excellent!
As some other reviewers may have mentioned, it can get a little loud with bigger parties around; since the tables are very close to each other. We had reservations at 7p on a Thursday night and it was a little busy, but the noise level from other tables was not bad.
My recommendations for any first timers: 1) Make a early reservation if you are afraid of noise level from other parties. 2) The quantity of food you receive is on the smaller side, but the quality is great. So don't starve yourself expecting to eat like you are going to a buffet or Ruth's Chris (**Anyway, everyone should be eating smaller meals while eating more frequently throughout the day**).
Valentines won my heart! – I went there with the bf for valentines day and it was the best!!! i was fortunate that my bf was able to make reservations, but other than that food was impeccable and the wine was thumbs up!
Seattle's Best Restaurant – Canlis rules Seattle! It has for over 50 years. I've dined at Canlis for the last 12 years and it is a Seattle icon. The food is as fine-dining and gourmet as it gets and yet the place isn't stuffy but elegant and extremely lively. The younger gen needs to "find" and experience Seattle's best restaurant.
What a Disappointment – This was my third trip to Canlis, but the first time eating outside the private group dining room. My wife and I went with 2 other couples to celebrate a retirement. As expected, we got a beautiful view, the service was friendly and timely, and the food was very good....not huge portions, but nicely done. However, the evening was ruined by the 2 incredibly loud couples at the next table....I now know more than I ever wanted to know about these self-proclaimed incredible successful lawyers and their exploits at dominating their profession. Our group literally could not hear anything over them. We pointed this out to 3 different Canlis employees who all agreed with us, but the rude couples were clearly past customers and apparently no one wanted to offend them. Tough situation, but I guess it was ok to leave my group disappointed without so much as a free coffee to compensate for it. I have eaten at fine restaurants all over the world, but this was certainly one of the more disappointing, especially given the big reputation and high prices. I won't go back.
Canlis is perfect for marriage proposals! – After we pulled into the beautifully landscaped property of Canlis we were immediately greeted by two valets. Our car was whisked away and we entered the restaurant through lovely arched doors. Our coats were taken and we strolled though the gorgeous main dining room. The fireplace was ablaze, the pianist softly played love songs and we took in the view of Lake Union through enormous glass windows.
From the moment we sat down in the lushly upholstered booth we were fed one delectable food after another. Salads, appetizers and main course each arrived on silver platters. Our wine, recommended by the staff and picked from an extensive list, was the perfect compliment to each dish. The waitress was so attentive that it was as if she was a mind reader.
The night ended with my engagement ring presented as desert on a velvet pillow hidden inside a silver domed serving dish!
The staff were amazing and accommodating. They had helped my fiance plan every aspect of the magical night of our engagement. Our night at Canlis was perfect.
disappointed – My wife and I went to Canlis with another couple on New Year?s Eve to get, ?the ultimate dining experience.? The service was good, the food was tasty, but where?s the beef. It was a specialized coursed meal that frankly left us still hungry at the end. To give an example, everything on the plate was miniature, like the thimble sized oyster. I surprised the main course wasn?t a gold fish. Don?t get me wrong we are not the types that expect huge heaping servings, but when it ended me and the other husband had the same look and response, ?What the hell was that.? I felt cheated as we spent $125/person. I guess Barnum was right, ?there is a s*cker born every day.? Don?t be a s*cker, ovoid this overpriced venue. By the way, we went for drinks and ordered pizza at another venue.
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