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.
inconsistent resto - toss up of great to lousy – this was my second visit to canlis. the first time, the food, service and pretty much everything was wonderful. this time, i invited a much larger party to join me. the service was EXCESSIVELY SLOW. so slow, that the food came 2 hours after we ordered. and, the food was cold. not exactly what someone hopes for when ordering 72$ australian lobster and 20$ foie gras. plus, they offered us desserts as compensation for slow service even though we kept declining yet they still charged us for coffee (which we did want). kind of a shame. i was really starting to like this place. perhaps the take away message was, don't expect much at christmas time from canlis, especially if there are larger parties around.
5 star restaurant and the KIDS loved it – Went to Seattle with our 3 kids, 10, 8 and 5. Always wanted to eat at Canlis but always have small kids who are picky eaters. Called ahead and spoke with Kai who assured me they would prepare whatever we wanted - 3 orders of Chicken tenders and fries, please.
Drove to Canlis and got a little lost - called Maria from the cell and she guided me through the winding roads of Seattle to their front door. Valet parking was waiting and we were off to eat.
David sat our family and made sure to compliment the kids on how nice they were dressed. Later, David returned to ask if anyone at the table needed a pillow - all 3 kids raised their hands and he placed a pillow behind their backs which made them more comfortable and scooted them closer to the table.
Panita came and took our order, always treating the kids like adults. Later, Chris Canlis, the owner, stopped by to say hello and then later served the kids their chicken tenders. A thrill for the kids. He came back after dinner to have the kids test out a new drink they were creating. He asked their honest opinions and they provided the feedback.
Dinner for the adults was fantastic, especially with Nelson selecting the wines. We did our own tasting as their were too many items we wanted to taste. Nelson paired the wines perfectly. Food was exceptional.
David then assisted us with the kids as we wanted pictures by the fireplace. What a gentleman.
Kids said that this dining experience was the bast part of our vacation. I have to say that this was our best dining experience as a family - they anticipated our needs and met them without us having to ask.
If you are a foodie and want to experience Canlis but have your kids along, call Kai a couple of days in advance and arrange food for the kids. DON'T cross Canlis off your list because of picky eaters or young eaters. I assure you, the staff at Canlis will accomodate your every need.
We want to move in! – My husband and I dined at Canlis for the first time on the day after Valentine's Day (they were booked, no surprise) and had the best dining experience ever. We dressed to the 9's because we had heard about Canlis and the legend that it is in Seattle. The valets were very courteous and prompt, and we were greeted immediately upon arriving into the restaurant. We arrived early, because we wanted to have drinks in the lounge before dinner. The decor was gorgeous -- a perfect combination of Northwest/Asian decor, the pianist was perfect, and the mood that was set could not have been any better. Our waiter, Nakenji (sp?), was a pro -- informative and knowledgeable, and showed up at all the right times to check on us, or at least inform us of the status of our meal. I found some of the dinner options to be comparable in price to other Seattle restaurants ($30-$40 entrees, or $70-ish for Wagyu beef, desserts $8-10 ea, salads about $9?) however, we were a little naive about ordering a half bottle of wine -- the sommelier was a genius, I'm sure, but we weren't sure about what wine to get, so we went with his suggestion of a 1/2 bottle ofBurgundy to go with our meal (husband was having Wagyu, me - scallops) -- it came to be $125/bottle, which was really about 2 glasses! The service was impeccable, and I have to agree with some of the other reviews, that we felt like royalty (and this was before I read the other reviews) -- the staff, in their own harried way, did not direct any tension towards us, and even when our food was brought out to us, our waiter and another server did so in an almost rehearsed manner. Our car was standing by ready to go as soon as we stepped out the door. Overall, it was about $500 for the two of us, with a 25% tip, $125 half-bottle of wine, drinks, appetizers, dinner, and dessert. My husband joked (but he's really kind of serious) that he would like to move into the restaurant -- it's really quite beautiful inside. Best dinner ever.
One of the best – This is 'thee' classic restaurant in Seattle. Great food, great family and some of the best service anywhere. They have set the bar for over 3 decades in the Northwest.
DOWNRIGHT RUDE.... – I took my wife here to eat and noticed right away this place looked out of date, late 60's style, when we got to the door the male host was mildly rude and seemed to have a bad attitude in general because we had no reservations. When my wife asked when he could get us in his response and tone shocked me, he was flat out rude to my wife, we left. I will NEVER go there again and I advise all of my friends and business contacts to avoid this place...
Outstanding. – We recently dined at Canlis for the first time for our anniversary. We are middle aged, well traveled, and know what a fine dining experience can be. We truly enjoyed our evening at Canlis. We ordered the tasting menu with wine pairing. It was quite successful with interesting wine pairings. The service was seamless, refined, informative and very attentive, yet friendly, comfortable and fun. This sort of balancing act in creating seemly effortless and comfortable yet superior service takes considerable effort and professionalism at all levels. A beautiful view and northwest ambience complete the experience. Canlis is outstanding and highly recommended.
i have been many times to canlis. it is perfection all around!!!!! perfect meal, wine, service, view, piano, location, etc. etc. etc.
Great service, Great food! – If you're like me: an average guy looking to take his girlfriend out for a nice birthday dinner, but still wanting to get good value for what you're spending then Canlis is the place. Although I enjoy going to nice places, I am normally a little unimpressed when it comes to what you get for the amount you spend. Although Canlis is by far the most expensive, if not one of the top 5 in Seattle, it definitely delivers. We spent close to $300 for: Appetizer, Salads, bottle of Wine, Champagne, entrees and dessert, plus Tip. The portion size was great and I really felt like the price matched both the quality and the presentation. Each dish made you wanting to savor every bite. The portions were exceptional! The service was also exceptional. Although we are both ion our mid twenties and didn't drive a German sports car, we were treated with respect by everyone from the host, to the busser to the server. As someone who has worked in a restaurant, I know when my tip dollar is deserved and when it is just a formality. I felt more than happy to tip 20% for the amazing service all around. Jackets are required and valet is free (yes they do remember your car somehow without a ticket).
Competent but ultimately disappointing – My brother and I brought our visiting parents here for our first visit. Overall it was a pleasant evening, but several dishes were notably mediocre and only a couple stood out as delicious. There is better food available in Seattle at a fraction of the cost.
First and second courses were generally weak. The culinary nadir was the escargot in butter served under puff pastry: a soggy, flavorless affair eerily reminiscent of a grocery store's refrigerated dough section. Foie Gras with huckleberry reduction and blueberries was quite tasty, though Mom described it (accurately enough) as "a bit like chewing on solid beef fat". The butternut squash soup was nothing you couldn't make at home, but in combination with the island of duck confit it really came into its own. Beef short ribs were gorgeously presented and chewy, rich, and flavorful. Canlis and Pear & Hazlenut salads were fine but unexceptional - nothing you haven't tasted before. Mango, avocado, and shrimp salad was an interesting combination and all ingredients were first rate and perfectly ripe.
Entrees fared somewhat better. Shrimp and prawns were of top quality and were perfectly cooked, carrying the Peter Canlis Prawns and Giant Freshwater Scampi. New York Steak ordered medium rare came to the table with a half-inch core of raw meat but was tender and pleasant nonetheless. Lamb chops were exquisite and perfectly cooked.
We tried side orders of truffle fries and a twice-cooked potato. The fries were attractive and impressively long, with a unique flavor. The potato was more or less your standard steakhouse mashed potatoes with plenty of sour cream and bacon.
Apple tarte tatin for dessert was a respectable end. The cinnamon was in the ice cream, which made for an interesting twist. The small serving of mint sorbet was a perceptive and highly complementary accompaniment.
Service was attentive but tended toward the intrusive "Is everything all right?". The location and building are spectacular.
Starting to Decline... – We booked the Cache room for our 10th anniversary and unfortunately it didn't quite live up to the hype.
Let me start by saying I"ve been to Canlis for many types of occassions and I know what I'm in for in terms of food, wine, service - and cost. But we went here on our 1st anniversary so thought it would be great for the 10th. Well...
First off, the cache room is honestly nothing special. A little cramped room you reach by going up the back staircase crowded with unused chairs and clutter. Very bad was to try and impress your guests.
Once you get to the room there is a round table in front of a window and a little couch. That's it. Oh, and a stereo behind a flimsy bamboo screen where you can put in your own CD's - which I must admit is cool.
Food was ok, nothing earth shattering. The Canlis salad was so overdressed I couldn't eat it. The seafood/Canlis chowder tasted canned. And my husband's $75 waygu steak was just good, nothing amazing.
The service was very good, with the waiter giving a little knock before he entered. Wine service was top notch.
Overall, I'd say the experience didn't do anything to make me want to come back anytime soon, not with all the great restaurants out in Seattle. The Cache room wasn't anything I'd waste another $100 extra on.
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