The one thing Seattle isn't short of is date night restaurants. There are romantic restaurants serving delicious food in every neighborhood of the city, including Capitol Hill. But how can you guarantee you're going to be going to one of the best romantic restaurants in Seattle? The answer to that is simple: by doing exactly what you're doing now. Checking them out before you go.
There are certain factors that set one romantic restaurant apart from the rest, and those should be the things you take into account before making a reservation. For a successful date night, the restaurant's atmosphere is key, and so is the lighting in the dining room. Of course, you can't forget that the best romantic restaurants will have a great menu full of creative dishes not just for Valentine's Day but every day of the week.
Sometimes to find the right restaurant for your date, be it a first date or one with a long-term partner, you need to think outside the box. You may be surprised to discover just how many romantic restaurants there are in Pike Place Market, which is a place you probably wouldn't even consider for date night, so keep an open mind.
The majority of romantic restaurants in Seattle, whether they're in Pike Place Market or not, have one thing in common. They don't want to see their clients bundling through the door with their arms full of bags.
If you took the opportunity to shop while you were in Capitol Hill or Pike Place Market, and let's face it, you really should, think ahead and stow your purchases in a Seattle luggage storage locker before you go on your date night. The restaurant staff will be pleased to see you, and you won't scare your date off by giving them the impression you're a total shopaholic.
You'll impress your date by even knowing Pink Door exists. This restaurant in Pike Place Market doesn't advertise its presence with any external signage, so it looks like a well-kept secret hideaway that not many people know exists. That's not quite true, though.
Pink Door is one of the city's most popular date night restaurants, and with good reason. The vintage décor of the intimate dining room is an absolute delight of bare bricks, polished wood floors, and crystal chandeliers. Think Victoriana, and you'll be on the right track. If the weather is agreeable, you can also dine on the terrace of the Pink Door, which has stunning views of the surrounding Seattle area. This place really does deliver the best of both worlds where indoor and outdoor dining are concerned and then some.
At Pink Door, they serve Italian-American cuisine created from produce that's sourced locally, namely from Pike Place Market. The dishes are simple but undeniably elegant. The antipasti plates are made for sharing between two, so you can discover your date's tastes while you're deciding what to order. There's an amazing choice that ranges from traditional arancini to raw tuna carpaccio. Mains are equally exciting but not quite as exciting as the burlesque shows, live music, and occasional trapeze act that are performed while you're dining.
Start with the arancini, then follow that with clam linguine but take care not to get too entranced by the entertainment, or your dinner will end up decorating your shirt front.
1919 Post Alley
While The Athenian may not be one of the most romantic restaurants decor-wise, its dining room is basic and pretty much in line with an old-fashioned diner, including ketchup bottles on the tables, it has two things that make it worth checking out as a date location. They are the food and the view.
If you and your date are seafood fanatics, you'll love this place. It would need to be a late afternoon or early evening date, though, as this restaurant closes at 6 pm. That's not overly important, though, since at that time of the day, you'll be able to enjoy the views of Elliot Bay and its maritime traffic while you eat.
You'll be in for a veritable seafood feast at The Athenian that is finger-licking good. The seafood is sourced from a fish merchant who only provides the best local seafood. You and your date will be peeling shrimp or cracking crab legs if you eat here, so be prepared to get a little messy.
After your meal is over and you've gotten cleaned up, take your date for a ride on the nearby Ferris wheel. It'll be the perfect end to date night if you ride the wheel as the sun is setting.
Crispy fried squid rings with jalapeno aioli to start, followed by the house special, The Athenian seafood bowl. If it's a wintertime date, swap the squid rings for clam chowder. It’s great with some crusty fresh bread and will warm you up nicely.
1517 Pike Place Market
Momiji Capitol Hill
If you're in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, you'll find that Momiji's is one of the most romantic restaurants for a special occasion. What makes it exceptionally special is its beautiful Kyoto courtyard, which, when illuminated at night, really makes for a romantic atmosphere.
The dining room, the same as the food, is classic Japanese and has been lovingly handcrafted to create the required ambiance. The menu has been lovingly created, too, and there's an incredible choice of sushi rolls, raw food, grilled meats, soups, noodles, and salads on the menu at Momiji's. No matter how picky an eater you or your date are, there's something to please.
The entire menu. It's so good you'll be making a reservation to go back before you've even finished your meal. Whatever you eat, make sure to finish with a glass or two of sake. It's great for getting rid of the lingering taste of grilled kimchi.
1522, 12th Avenue, Capitol Hill
Buddha Ruksa is an elegant Thai restaurant in West Seattle that understands the importance of not just good food but great service. Step into this restaurant, and you'll be in a dark wood-paneled dining room embellished with golden art. The décor certainly makes for an intimate and very romantic setting.
Buddha Ruksa has been open in West Seattle for 20 years and developed a reputation for Thai-style hospitality and excellent food. That's an almost unbeatable combination that guarantees you'll have a fantastic night here. They know how to combine those classic Asian elements of hot, sour, salty, and sweet into dishes that delight even the most discerning gourmet palate.
If you have a favorite Thai dish, then you're likely to find it on the menu at Buddha Ruksa, as they offer everything from traditional Thai curries, stir-fries, wontons, rolls, and so much more. As with all Thai menus, there are plenty of vegetarian dishes to choose from, so you can go meat-free without any stress at all.
Practice your chopstick techniques before dining here, or you'll be dropping food all over the place, and that's not going to impress your date.
3520 SW Genesee Street
If you want to make a first date as impressive as you possibly can, then book a table for two at Canlis. Just the sight of the two-story glass-walled structure this restaurant occupies will take your evening up several notches, and once you're inside and seated and see the views of Lake Union through those walls, you'll know you've struck date gold.
At Canlis, they've been attending to clients wanting romantic dinners for over 70 years, and they do it in such a refined way that you'll hardly notice the serving staff taking your empty plates away. Forget having to struggle through a menu of Pacific Northwest dishes. Here they do the hard work for you and present a tasting menu with a few additional surprises.
With Canlis's multi-course tasting menu, you get to choose three of the courses they serve you while the rest are kept a secret until the plate arrives at your table. You've no need to worry, though. Everything they prepare here is exquisite, so there'll be no disappointment whatsoever. While the majority of the dishes have a heavy Pacific Northwest influence, several also have an Asian influence. Dining here is never going to be run of the mill.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy the magnificent views, as well as your company, and eat whatever on the tasting menu is put in front of you. It won't be grilled kimchi, and that's a fact. You won't regret eating here. Your bank balance might, but you won't.
2576 Aurora Avenue North
Aqua by El Gaucho
Eating dinner while watching the sun set on the horizon makes any date a truly special occasion. Go to Aqua by El Gaucho, and you'll be able to do just that, as it's right on the Puget Sound waterfront. Aqua delivers more than sunset views as you can also see the city skyline, the Space Needle, the Olympic Mountains, and Mount Rainier from this restaurant. You and your date will overload on the stunning views.
If you're having a warm weather date, then Aqua's terrace overlooking Puget Sound is the best spot to sit. If it's cold, you'll still be charmed by this restaurant's classy interior and wowed by its 85-foot-long wave-shaped bar.
Just because this is a waterfront restaurant, don't expect to see only fish and seafood on the menu. They offer a lot more variety than that. Their starter, soup, and salad menus include all types of protein as well as thoughtful vegetarian options. As far as the entrees are concerned you may have trouble making a final decision as there are some fantastic choices.
The shareable side offerings they serve here are great for keeping the bill well within an affordable level, so hope that you and your date can come to an agreement between crispy Brussels sprouts, Yukon mashed potatoes, or crab mac'n'cheese. If you can't, just blow your budget and have one of everything.
Wicked shrimp to add a spicy start to the date, followed by Pacific Northwest black cod in a Thai coconut cream broth. Skip dessert in favor of a couple of sundowner cocktails you can sip on as you watch the sunset.
2801 Alaskan Way, Pier 70
$$$ to $$$$
The Harvest Vine
If you want a more relaxed atmosphere for your date but still want somewhere nice with a great choice of food, check out The Harvest Vine. The Harvest Vine is a rustic Spanish restaurant that serves an amazing array of small plates, tapas, and traditional Basque dishes in a location that will transport you straight to the Mediterranean.
At The Harvest Vine, they serve a huge selection of both hot and cold small plates, so you can pick several and then nibble away at them while chatting. Tapas really is one of the best types of food for an informal date. The only problem is deciding exactly which small plates to have.
Choose three to four small plates to share to begin with, then if you're still hungry after those, you can order some more. Try lengua de vaca, which is braised beef tongue served cold, Galician-style octopus, Txistorra sausage, and the one dish you can't go without, tortilla Espanola.
2701 East Madison Street
If you can't get a table at any of the restaurants mentioned above, don't despair. You can always get some of Seattle's best street food at Pike Place Market, then compensate your date by taking them to one of the best rooftop bars in the city. Your date will work out just as well, whichever you do, as long as you remember to smile.