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“A Bastion of Fine Dining”
Review of Canlis Restaurant

Canlis Restaurant
Ranked #31 of 4,454 Restaurants in Seattle
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$125 - US$125
Cuisines: American, Seafood, Steakhouse, Contemporary
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Groups, Local cuisine, View, Romantic, Business meetings, Special Occasion Dining
Dining options: After-hours, Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Neighbourhood: Magnolia / Queen Anne
Cross street: Haliday
Reviewed 5 weeks ago via mobile

A Canli's dining event brings a smile. The smooth service is a half step quicker than I can think. The food is modern and fresh, despite the archaic menu format. The Wine List is substantial, yet offers some very good wines at fair prices.
This is classic fine dining at its best. The food is at once artful and tasty; the service is always perfect, never intrusive; the room is understate, but that view is phenomenal. Prices approach phenomenal. After all, this is Fine Dining.

Thank Michael G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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11 - 15 of 1,097 reviews

Reviewed 14 July 2018 via mobile

Very good food combining originality and classicism. Well-balanced dishes in their flavors and texture.
The starter with the poached oysters was delicious. The lamb was perfect. The soufflé with curaçao orange, a perfection. The best soufflé I never eat.
The decor of the restaurant has a lot of character with a wonderful view of the union of the lake.
The problem comes from the service. Our aperetive drinks were not served at the same time but 5 minutes apart.
Nobody came to take the order of the wines and it was necessary to order ourselves the wine after our starters were served. Pity.
The staff is very friendly.
It was a very beautiful gastronomic evening. You just have to improve the service.

Thank PIERRE P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AmyWCanlis, Reservations Manager at Canlis Restaurant, responded to this reviewResponded 3 weeks ago

Hello Pierre,

Thank you for taking the time to share about your dining experience. While I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed the food, it breaks my heart that our service did not meet standards. If you would like to talk, please feel free to reach out to me. I would love to hear more about your time here.


With warm regards,

Amy
Amy@Canlis.com
C A N L I S
206-283-3313

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 July 2018 via mobile

I’m not sure I’ve ever been so disappointed in a dining experience. This restaurant is full of itself. Used to be a Seattle Institution. Now it’s simply a lazy excuse for a rediculously overpriced view. A poor attempt at creativity and class. Needs new ownership who understands what it takes to make a party of four happy with a $1000 dining experience. The fact that they require a 20% tip for a party of 4 tells you all you need to know. I found it beneath a restaurant of this caliber. Ive been in the restaurant business for years. I tip well. The food and service didn’t warrant the required gratuity. Wait stuff obviously doesn’t feel motivated to deliver a special evening. More importantly, the portions were ridiculously small and over-salted. It was unfortunately a weird and awkward evening. I kept wondering...am I missing something here. Sorry. Just DONT GET IT.

1  Thank Cathy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 June 2018

This was a special occasion for us, our 59th anniversary (yes, we're old!) Although we have often been in Seattle near our Bellingham home, this was our first visit to Canlis (made at the urging of friends) and it turned out to be great advice.

(A bit of background: both of us are New Yorkers by birth and for many years, so my standard was that set by fine dining spots in my younger days in NYC, places like 21, Colony, Voisin, etc..now mostly gone. I was hoping for a reprise of great food and service, in a calm and intimate atmosphere. That is exactly what we found at Canlis, and unlike a few experiences at other "fine dining/gourmet" places, there was no sense of snobbery or that we should feel honored to be there. That was really, really nice, because we both hate snobbery in any form, but love fine dining and great food!)

Upon arrival, we were greeted politely by the valet parking crew, and we were ushered into the restaurant, clearly architect-designed and first class. (Valet parking is included.) We had intentionally arrived early to try the bar and were taken in promptly by a helpful host; at the intimate bar (the bar itself only has maybe 8 seats) we were served promptly by a white-shirt-and-black-tied, black-suited bartender (how do they keep them so perfect, while bartending, we wondered?) My drink, a Manhattan, was unusual, while it was traditional it had a couple of unique ingredients that made it delicious. As we sipped slowly, we enjoyed the ambiance. A good piano player was playing from "the great american songbook" and the room was filled with people clearly enjoying one another's company. The acoustics were such that the conversations of others could not be clearly overheard yet nothing was loud, even the music. As our 30-minute pre-meal time was waning, we ordered another round, which was brought to our table as it was mealtime.

Escorted from the bar around the corner to the large dining area, we found the room divided into tiers by banquettes that were almost shoulder-high for the seated diners, and each inner tier was moderately lower so that everyone could see the great views of Seattle's Lake Union to the East and South. It din't matter that we weren't next to a window, for we still could significantly enjoy the "Seattle Feel" of the place and see the whole view. We were side by side on a very comfortable banquette; near us a group of 6 or eight were in obviously good upholstered chairs at a roomy table. Tablecloths, silver, china, all superb. (Later, near the end of our evening, we watched as the crew actually ironed a tablecloth in place as a table was re-set!)

Our options were presented by "Bre", an attractive young woman who was already aware we were celebrating an anniversary; she quickly determined our tastes and inquired if we had any dietary restrictions; we didn't. Then, with her guidance, we ordered. Canlis' approach to the menu process is to divide dinner into four courses with the third being the main entree. Each course has four or five options, only one or two has extra charges above the fixed price of $125 per person. We both had the excellent Canlis Salad (outstanding) and I also had another appetizer, Beef Tartar, which was very, very good, while my wife's second course was the somewhat uniquely Washington dish, geoduck. Though the geoduck was good, she wished that she had tried something a little more exotic: geoduck can't be prepared too many ways, so she realized her choice had reduced the "new experience" aspect of the meal! We both had the Ribeye steak as our entree; we like our beef medium rare, and it was perfectly done and the cuts were excellent with a great sauce. All entries come with appropriate servings of veggies, etc. Our desserts were equally delicious, a rhubarb/chocolate mousse delicacy for me and the strawberry mille feuille for her. ("Oh, it was good" she says, looking back.)

We spent about two hours in the process of dining, with the interludes between courses punctuated by deliveries of various bites of gourmet-quality little savories or treats. We were never left "waiting". The service was extraordinary, with items delivered concurrently by multiple servers, Bre's attentiveness (and everyone else's, too) and by the unruffled, professional yet personal contact between patrons and staff throughout the experience.

While we dined, part of the fun was looking at other diners. If there was one characteristic, it was that they were all enjoying themselves, and that the evening was special for everyone. Smiles were everywhere. Paraphrasing Prairie Home Companion, "all the men were well-dressed and handsome and all the women were beautiful"!

As to the bill: Two dinners, Prix Fixe, $250; four drinks around $13 total $52. Tax, and 20% fixed gratuity for everything (including the parking) brought our total to $364. It was worth every penny. (I remember "21" in NYC in 1959 costing about $45 per person; adjusted for inflation, that's $380 in 2018 or $720 for a couple...Canlis is cheap!)

It will be remembered forever by both of us, and we might even do it again for our 60th. As for those few negative reviews you might see, I'd suggest you agree with the majority who love this place!

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank Joseph C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AmyWCanlis, Reservations Manager at Canlis Restaurant, responded to this reviewResponded 3 July 2018

Hello Joseph,

First off- Happy 59th Anniversary!! Thank you SO much for taking the time to share. It sounds like you had an amazing night and I am so happy to hear that.

I will make sure that Bre sees your review. I know that it will brighten her day. Thank you again for celebrating your special anniversary here at Canlis. Please let me know if you need any assistance with booking for your 60th anniversary.


With warm regards,

Amy
Amy@Canlis.com
C A N L I S
206-283-3313

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 June 2018

If Michelin rated restaurants in Seattle, Canlis certainly would get a star or two. The atmosphere of the place, the view from the it, the staff - all are really special. And the food.... absolutely delicious, the right portions and the right number of courses, not overkilled, not over-dramatised, but rather pure and to the point. The steak (I chose the pork tenderloin) was excellently cooked as well as the beef. The starters were shining too, especially the rabbit sausage and liver. The service was kind and professional, not the "patronising" style which can sometimes be experienced in high quality restaurants. Canlis was an a fantastic experience.

Thank Peter M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AmyWCanlis, Reservations Manager at Canlis Restaurant, responded to this reviewResponded 3 July 2018

Hello Peter,

Thank you so much for your kind words, it is an honor to be compared to other Michelin star restaurants. Maybe someday they will come to Seattle! I'm glad to know that you enjoyed your time here and we hope to see you again soon.

Please don't hesitate to reach out if you need any assistance in the future.


With warm regards,

Amy
Amy@Canlis.com
C A N L I S
206-283-3313

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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