L'Oursin

4.6
104 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Contemporary French
L'Oursin ("the urchin" en français) is a French restaurant and bar serving natural wine and aperitif cocktails in Seattle's Central District neighborhood near Seattle University. Our a la carte menu is available seven days a week, with a 5-7 course tasting menu available Tuesday-Saturday.
What 104 People Are Saying
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Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.6
service
4.5
ambience
4.3
value
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91% of people would recommend it to a friend
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M
Los Angeles
16 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

L'Oursin is a hidden gem across the street from the Seattle U sports field. We went because they were on a James Beard award list related to wine. Our server was very helpful, and their wine menu had many good wines - and they served half glasses, which was ideal for tasting a wide variety. We ordered 4 dishes - 2 amazing, 2 so so. It was fairly empty on a Wednesday night and it detracted from the overall ambiance that they were located in an area that did not feel like it had the same vibe as the restaurant.

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DS
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 2

The website food photographs are enticing. The actual meal was plain and uninspiring. Good ingredients but bland flavors and brown was the predominate color. I cook tastier stews than their cassoulet. The oysters were ok, what they had left. The brussel spout salad was a grated mound of green. Tasted ok, but again, wholefoods has a similiar deli item. Expected more.

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d
Vancouver
67 reviews
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Lovely little restaurant with tasty food & a willingness to accommodate my gluten free needs! Would love to see some gluten free crackers or bread to go with appetizers that need the base! If you don’t make it yourself, that’s ok. Source it!

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d
1 review
Dined on March 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We've eaten at many of the finest restaurants in Seattle and around the world and L'Oursin is one of the most underrated in Seattle!

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MS
Hawaii
5 reviews
Dined on March 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

The food and service here are impeccable. BUT be careful. They add 20% for service UNLESS you decline. That was fine w/ me BUT the State of Washington considers it then taxable! This should be printed on their menus. Until they do, decline the automatic and then tip what you wish. I assume, you, like me, don't like "tipping" the government!

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OT
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on March 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Like a night in the Marais!

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WB
Seattle
5 reviews
Dined on March 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

L'Oursin is a favorite restaurant in Seattle! Each visit is a terrific experience. The food, cocktails, wine and beer are excellent and the service is great. You can't go wrong here. Of note on the evening of March 4th, 2019 was the Arctic Char Tartare as a starter followed by the outstanding Pâtes Fraîches: spaghettini with dungeness crab, bay shrimp and salmon eggs at L'Oursin. Paired with Les Tètes “Tète Blanche" 2016 Sauvignon Blanc/Chenin Blanc (Loire, FR). One of my two guests had the Soupe de Poisson en Croute: cod, geoduck andsquid in spot prawn broth under a pastry dome. He said it was fantastic.

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K
Seattle
1 review
Dined on March 4, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was amazing, the ambiance lovely, the service impeccable and friendly, but the prices outrageous. With a beverage menu 10 or more times longer than the food menu, we anticipated the alcohol choices to be stellar, but we tasted two red wines, one aperitif hot wine and one dessert hot wine -- none of them under $10 in price. The red wines were served too cold (smelled and tasted insignificant, fractionally better when they warmed up a bit) and none of the hot drinks seemed to have an abundance of alcohol. (No drinks were memorable.) We had three beverages each, shared one appetizer (moules - very good and pretty presentation but oh so tiny and small a serving!) shared one petit plat salad (of a good size and exceptionally tasty), shared one entree (cassoulet, of a decent size and quite good), and shared one side serving of bread. Including the 20 percent automatically included tip (which we would pay anyway) AND the taxes that we are then forced to pay on that tip, the bill came to $170. If I ever go back I am likely to bring my own bottle of wine, share one appetizer and order one entree for myself. But I don't know that I will ever go back.

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m
Mexico City
11 reviews
Dined on February 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great service, amazing food in this French resto. Dennis, the waiter, rocks.

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PG
Seattle
4 reviews
Dined on February 24, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

The service was outstanding. The quality and presentation of the ingredients was excellent. The food itself was unremarkable where taste and flavor are concerned.

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MK
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I can not begin to try to explain HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS PLACE. I love the crew, the natural wine selection, the use of super fresh Pacific NW flavors, their fun approach with cocktails, and everything in between. It is time and time again one of my favorite restaurants in Seattle.

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TM
Seattle
4 reviews
Dined on February 22, 2019
Overall 1food 3service 1ambience 3

We have always loved L’Oursin.
This time we were seated about 30 minutes late. At first we chalked that up to diners lingering. But when all of our dishes took at least 2 hours, we were no longer charitable. We ordered just one cooked dish out of 7, and we sat there over one hour before we got our second dish. I love talking to my husband over wine, but we were hungry!
We asked only for an apology, which we did not get, but they did not charge us at all for our meal. That was generous, but I would have preferred just food over free food. I hope this was a fluke.

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MW
Seattle
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

We had dinner at 6 and they had already run out of one of the four main dishes. The tuna was terrible - fishy and with a very awkward flavor. The dish was almost $30 and I couldn’t eat it. The drinks were great, though.

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OT
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on February 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Unreal experience. Great service and recommendations. Amazing conversation while at the bar and lastly they have a great place to go!!

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MM
London
5 reviews
Dined on February 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Amazing wine, food and service!

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BG
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Our waitstaff (including and especially our bartender) were attentive, helpful and personable. The food was outstanding and the wine pairing were perfect for our meal. We would highly recommend this restaurant for a date night (or a group of friends night out for a great dinner).

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BP
1 review
Dined on January 24, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Had a 7pm reservation on a Thursday night, which wasn't needed because the place was remarkably empty. Interior was charming and casual. Service was attentive, but a touch impersonal for my liking. We got the tasting menu with wine pairing, which was all around fantastic though, which made up for the minor service shortfalls! This is a great spendy spot for special occasions. We will definitely be returning, especially since it seems that the menu changes quite often!

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D
New York Area
37 reviews
Dined on January 13, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 3

I brought my mom there for her birthday. There was no one in the restaurant—the tables were completely empty. Emptiness aside, the space is quite pleasant.

I cannot say the same for the food. While the appetizers were good, the main course was a hard fail. We both ordered fish and it arrived lukewarm, with little flavor. My mom, well taken care of by a hard drink, said nothing, so I decided not to complain. But lord was it unenjoyable.

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OT
Seattle
1 review
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Food was great, wonderful ambiance and service with a casual but professional feel. Some dishes were very French as in not a lot of filler which is nice. Oysters were really fresh and good but I would like some horseradish or vinegar as a garnish. Definitely would go again.

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AS
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Been here many times now, with parents/friends/special occasions. Highly recommended for not boring, high value finer dining.

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LC
Seattle
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is the third time we have been there and never disappointed with the food, wine, and service.

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PS
9 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Three out of our four meals were excellent. Our server was fantastic.

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KG
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

So fantastic. Really brilliant sauces and service was on point!

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KH
Boise
4 reviews
Dined on December 21, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is an amazing restaurant! They specialize in French food, but with a NW flavor. The staff is wonderful, efficient, genuine and friendly! We always have a great meal and great time when we eat here.

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BB
Seattle
1 review
Dined on December 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I can’t praise L’Oursine’s experience enough! The food was creative and novel and delicious. And the wine! The wine was spectacular! All of this was topped only by the friendliness of the staff,and the knowledge of the entire crew.JJ,chef and owner was a warm and genuine delight!

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V
1 review
Dined on December 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My friend and I have birthdays close together, it usually takes a couple months before we can make it happen but we always treat ourselves to a great meal to celebrate. We used to have a regular spot but she has to eat gluten-free so we had to find something new. Decided to try L’Oursin last year and loved it so much we came back again this year. “Two Menus Degustation, please!” So great, no time wasted perusing the menu and the staff is wonderful about accommodating her gluten-free needs. Excellent wine pairings, nice cocktail list and the food preparations are creative and so delicious. Service is excellent (although a little soft spoken). Bonus: they carry wine produced by a friend of ours! We will definitely see you next year!

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SF
1 review
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 3

I never write reviews, but we were pretty disappointed about this place! The service was kind of weird and clueless in the way that it tends to be when the tip is included and you don’t have one person who’s actually responsible for your table. The server who brought our food didn’t seem to know what it was even though there were that many items on the menu. The rockfish was a little over cooked and rubbery, and chocolate mousse...didn’t seem to have chocolate in it? Definitely overpriced for what the meal was.

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CE
Seattle
1 review
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Great food, great service. The menu allows you to stick to the staples or try something new.

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CF
1 review
Dined on November 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This place is great. The food is nice and fresh. The wines are great. The staff feel passionate about what they are serving. It’s a great place to sit and have a good time and enjoy great food amd drinks. To put it simply this place its a gem.

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T
Tampa
1 review
Dined on November 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

L'Oursin came highly recommended by several friends and it did not disappoint. Dinner was one of the highlights of a recent trip to Seattle. The menu hews close to the territory of TWW, but the flavors are a little brighter, the compositions a bit more daring.

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AR
1 review
Dined on October 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wow. This was an experience, not just a meal. It was beautiful.

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NB
Los Angeles
6 reviews
Dined on October 21, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Small but varied menu which would be difficult for some picky eaters, french in inspiration, a bit too much raw fish but wonderful flavors.

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p
Seattle
3 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

It's a little bit away from the familiar center of the restaurant zone, but worth the extra time with a map to locate this stylish restaurant with a friendly vibe. The snails on flat bread got a rave review; the half roasted chicken less enthusiasm, but still tasty and filling. All in all, a pleasant, if slightly pricey, evening.

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JR
Seattle
1 review
Dined on October 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was the first time that we had been to L'Oursin, and we will definitely be back. And we want everyone to know what a great find it is. The food was delightful and unique, the cocktails specially crafted, the wine list "all natural" and very good, and the staff was very personable and knowledgeable. You can feel the hands on touch of the owners, as they make the rounds and talk to people they know. This is now one of our very favorite places.

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KF
Seattle
1 review
Dined on October 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My favorite neighborhood bistro—a wonderful walk-in spot with outstanding food, service and ambiance. Looking forward to another visit!

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LH
Seattle
1 review
Dined on October 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

An unexpected treat. French inspired fare with a Northwest twist. Rational portions, beautifully plated (without being fussy) and equally delicious. Some of the best affordable French wines I've seen in the United States. Dynamite, original cocktails.
Easy parking, too. Recommended.

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o
Seattle
49 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

L'Oursin is a very special neighborhood place. We loved everything about it, from the warm welcome, to the knowledgeable and friendly staff (Megan), the authentic French cuisine, the spacing of the tables for a quiet conversation, the small yet diverse craft cocktails & wine list, and of course, the GREAT food. We had the pate (the addition of apricots to the pate was a spectacular surprise), Bayonne ham with mushrooms, beet & sweet corn salad, ling cod, the leg of duck and the chocolate mousse for dessert. We chose a 2014 Chateauneuf du Pape that was ready to drink and reminded me of a fragrant cedar drawer. We see a return visit in our near future.

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j
San Francisco
24 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Grilled herring with fresh pear - raw scallops crowned with thin, fragrant slices of Maitake mushrooms and purple grapes - these are two of the dishes that wowed is this week at L’Oursin! The chef selects the freshest local ingredients and brings highly creative flavor relationships that work magically, if unexpectedly. The ingredients dictate -just harvested sea urchins are presented unadorned in their shell - pristine and pure. Order the bread and butter ($5.) - a Jenga stack of a variety of their wonderful homemade breads with luscious local butter.
The wine list is uniquely focused on natural wines - organically grown grapes fermented with natural yeasts, without preservatives. Katherine is the sommelier who has chosen these wines. Read her fascinating descriptions on the wine list - then talk with her - she is passionate and very knowledgeable and will guide you to something delicious.
Service is perfect. At our second dinner we felt like Norm at “Cheers” - we were welcomed by name and a big smile by our server, Tom, and warmly and professionally taken care of.
Highest accolades!

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k
Seattle
48 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

Lovely atmosphere. Interesting craft cocktails- waitress was very helpulnin describing. Food was interesting but somewhat bland. Had the salmon that was served in a broth - so watered the salmon down. Prices seemed higher than expected.

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JG
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on September 23, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

Food presentation was excellent but the flavors were really lacking with the exception of the bone marrow, the ravioli, and the bread and butter. The salmon just wasn't very tasty. The salad looked promising but was blah. We had a nice waitress but timing was off in getting drinks to the table in time for the food....it was extremely slow. Seats were bare wood, hard, and so this is just not the place to sit and savor a nice dinner as it gets uncomfortable after a while. It was my birthday so we ordered two desserts, both of which were absolutely tiny, but again, just had no flavor at all. My daughters and husband felt the same way. Very disappointing.

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