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8 of Seattle’s outstanding spots for celebrating special occasions

Seattle’s signature rain clouds never dampen the celebrations here. Emerald City’s vibrant restaurant scene, filled with spots worthy of anniversaries, birthday gatherings, and achievements of all sizes, is constantly growing.

Mark a promotion at an old-school Capitol Hill steakhouse that prioritizes sustainable cuts. Impress a date with Venezuelan Japanese fare at an under-the-radar spot in White Center. And when the sun does shine, head straight to a West Seattle stunner that serves stellar seafood and delicious water views.

At these 8 sought-after Seattle restaurants, the food, service, and ambiance were made for festivities, so book a table now.

A photo of Otlogo
Jay Friedman
8 Restaurants
Updated September 22, 2022
Restaurants:Art of the Table, Bateau, Cafe Juanita
Price Range:$$$$ - $$$$
Cuisines:Contemporary American, Contemporary French / American, Italian
Neighborhoods:Wallingford, Capitol Hill / First Hill, Kirkland
A photo of Art of the Table restaurant

Art of the Table

$$$$
Contemporary American
Wallingford
4.6
829 reviews

Chef Dustin Ronspies has been creating culinary masterpieces since opening Art of the Table in 2007. His original location was a cramped 24-seater; the current spot has triple the seats while maintaining an intimate, family-like feeling. It’s a stylish space to toast any occasion, with lots of windows bringing light to the dining room. But the best seats in the house are at the chef’s counter that semicircles the open kitchen, where you can watch the artists preparing dishes. Five-course tasting menus are offered Wednesday through Saturday starting at $135 per person, with wine pairings available. Courses might move from scallop crudo to duck tortellini to honey-lacquered duck breast to red beet panna cotta; Ronspies uses seasonal ingredients in ways that are sure to make any celebration sing.


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A photo of Bateau restaurant

Bateau

$$$$
Contemporary French / American
Capitol Hill / First Hill
4.6
916 reviews

If your idea of a celebration is eating an A1-drizzled T-bone while sipping a martini in a dimly lit dining room, this is the restaurant to book. Bateau is part of James Beard Award-winning chef Renee Erickson’s Sea Creatures family of restaurants. But you’re here for land-dwellers, namely cows. The walnut-floored dining room features a massive chalkboard that lists various butcher cuts of the day, ranging from underblade to bavette. They’re sold a la carte by weight and served with a selection of butter types (hello, bone marrow). Choose what you’d like, then your server immediately updates availability on the big board. Don’t overlook the rest of the menu, in which chef Taylor Thornhill executes a mission of whole animal usage with dishes such as luscious steak tartare with umeboshi and ikura and beef liver mousse with fruit paste. Round out your meal with seasonal vegetable dishes crafted with creative flair.


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A photo of Cafe Juanita restaurant

Cafe Juanita

$$$$
Italian
Kirkland
4.8
3133 reviews

Holly Smith opened Café Juanita in 2000 to showcase her passion for northern Italian cuisine. Both Smith and the restaurant are James Beard Award nominees. Situated alongside Juanita Creek in Kirkland, this is the spot to book when your celebration calls for a mini escape from the city center. Grab a seat at one of the many dining spaces, which includes a 10-seat chef’s table with open kitchen views. There are four tasting menus available: The omnivore features dishes such as duck breast with potato horseradish tortino, Perigord black truffle, and red currant jus; the vegan menu offers polenta taragna with chanterelles, salad onions, morel crema, Bing cherries, and a lemony Italian sauce. Pastas are homemade, as are gelati and sorbetti in unusual but celebration-worthy flavors such as fennel seed and honeycomb.


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A photo of The George restaurant

The George

$$$$
Contemporary American
Downtown
4.4
542 reviews

There’s a good reason why luminaries such as John Wayne and Elvis Presley dined at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel. Originally opened in 1924, the hotel’s restaurant has offered elegance and excellent service alongside fine dining. Following a multi-million dollar overhaul this spring, The George, as the dining room is now known, is opulent, with an updated classic vibe that soars from its granite tile floors to its breathtaking vaulted ceilings. In stark contrast to the typical “Seattle casual” (think fleece jacket and jeans) wardrobe, this is a celebratory downtown destination where you should dress to the nines. Brasserie-inspired food showcases locally sourced dairy, produce, and meats from the state’s farms as well as seafood from nearby waters. You can also enjoy cocktails from award-winning bartender Jesse Cyr, particularly if you’re celebrating with a vacation—or staycation—and retiring to a room in the hotel.


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A photo of Joule restaurant

Joule

$$$$
Steakhouse
Wallingford
4.8
1086 reviews

As their story goes, perennial James Beard Award nominees Rachel Yang and partner Seif Chirchi fell in love while working in a New York City kitchen run by French chef Alain Ducasse. They came cross-country to settle in Seattle and have served innovative cuisine at Joule, an anniversary-worthy destination, since 2007. She’s Korean, he’s Tunisian; Joule represents the best kind of fusion cooking. It cleverly combines French and Korean staples and techniques, though the menu has all sorts of international influences from elsewhere in Asia and beyond. Chinese scallion pancakes are served with smoked salmon roe and crème fraîche. Rice cakes come with chorizo and pickled mustard greens—plus plenty of spice. Don’t miss the mackerel with fish caramel, which ups the ante on any celebration.


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A photo of Salty's on Alki Beach restaurant

Salty's on Alki Beach

$$$$
Seafood
West Seattle/Alki
4.7
8400 reviews

Situated on a breathtaking spot with a look-back-at-Seattle vista, Salty’s on Alki Beach is an idyllic place to bring your out-of-town guests—or a reason to get out of town yourself. It’s a multi-level restaurant with a wraparound deck; outdoor dining is offered year-round. While the location is a big draw here, the friendly staff are engaging, seeking to make your meal an extra-special one. Not surprisingly, the menu skews towards seafood. The signature chowder is an intense and briny stew of surf clams, bay shrimp, and scallops. Salmon fans will enjoy the grilled king salmon with charred tomato, asparagus, and sweet onion in red pepper almond aioli, accompanied by harissa roasted fingerlings. Then there’s the Louie Louie: a crab and bay shrimp salad with olives, egg, tomato, cucumber, asparagus, croutons, and Louis dressing. Dungeness crab rules here when it’s in season, and shellfish samplers are also popular.


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A photo of Shaker + Spear restaurant

Shaker + Spear

$$$$
Seafood
Belltown / Pike Place Market
4.5
1682 reviews

Shaker + Spear is the answer to one of the hardest questions visitors and newbies to Seattle ask: What’s a great seafood place downtown? While there are tourist spots that value water views over quality seafood, Shaker + Spear is a downtown destination with a killer menu. Inside the Kimpton Palladian Hotel, the restaurant was designed by renowned Seattle architects Graham Baba and has an edgy yet welcoming atmosphere, featuring cast glass and weathered wood. Executive Chef Jay Donahue is at the helm, preparing market-fresh, innovative, and sustainably harvested fare. Charred octopus with nduja and rapini, pulpo croquettes (Donahue’s on Japanese takoyaki), and Hood Canal manila clams with linguica are all great choices. To make it a truly celebratory evening, enjoy cocktails next door at Pennyroyal before or after your meal.


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A photo of Sushi Kappo Tamura restaurant

Sushi Kappo Tamura

$$$$
Japanese
Lake Union / Eastlake
4.8
1461 reviews

The upscale and yet casual Sushi Kappo Tamura in Eastlake is one of Seattle’s finest sushi restaurants, and a great spot for bringing in a more intimate occasion. Don’t overlook the ippins, or small plates, served both hot and cold. Typically eaten before sushi, the selection here includes sophisticated seafood preparations such as kinki no yakimono (grilled rockfish) and kinmedai no nitsuke (simmered golden-eye snapper). Sit at the polished wood counter to chat with chef and owner Taichi Kitamura, an avid fly-fisher, to get a crash course on seafood. The best way to enjoy is to relinquish control and order omakase, letting Kitamura and co. choose your food. The saké list is impressive, and there are plenty of Japanese whisky and shochu options. Don’t skip dessert: yuzu panna cotta and chestnut crème brûlée make for extra special endings.


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