Twice a year the best restaurants in Seattle plan three course menus for lunch and dinner at just $15 and $28 respectively, for ten days over two weeks of time.  It is called Seattle Restaurant Week and runs Sunday through Thursday for a fortnight usually in April and again in October.  This is one of the best ways to sample the food, drink, and service at places most of us can’t frequent too often.  See the list of participating restaurants and their prospective menus here at http://seattletimes.com/seattlerestaurantweek/.  My favorite Seattle Restaurant Week was in 2011, when I was able to hit up nine restaurants for a total of 27 courses.

Seattle Restaurant Week allows regular folks like me and my friends to visit places like the Columbia Tower Club and use their fancy ladies room with gorgeous views of the city from 76 floors up.  Previously to Seattle Restaurant Week, I had only ever been able to visit the club for a private event hosted by a member of the exclusive club.  Seattle Restaurant Week allows me to try three courses at wonderful places owned by famous Seattle chefs like Tom Douglas and Ethan Stowell (Dahlia Lounge, Staple & Fancy Mercantile to name one from each respectively).  It helps me to learn which of the (normally) most expensive restaurants have the ugliest ceilings (Mistral Kitchen) and which restaurants have the most amazing service (Blueacre Seafood).

Seattle Restaurant Week gives me a glimpse into the great wait staff Ethan Stowell hires, since we had the same server at Staple & Fancy as well as Anchovies & Olives.  Anchovies & Olives also served my favorite dish out of Fall 2011’s 27 courses…this perfect panna cotta with pistachios and apricots, goodness I’m licking my lips again in honor of its memory.  Seattle Restaurant Week shows me which restaurants are worth visiting again full price menu notwithstanding (Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar, Bellevue) and those that aren’t worth revisiting (Café Campagne).

While Seattle Restaurant Week is already over this spring, it is definitely worth planning for in October!

A few tips for those foodies reading (or people just wanting to eat):

  1. Check the sample menus on Seattle Restaurant Week’s site to see what sounds tastiest, choose the best tasting menu.
  2. If you’re anything like me and most Seattle residents, you love seafood.  I always try and pick the menu/restaurant with the most seafood because that is the best bang for your buck with $15 lunches and $28 dinners.  Columbia Tower Club and Seastar were favorite choices of mine for the amount of seafood and the portions (instead of skimping like some restaurants are wont to do for such a good deal) both sent me home with leftovers.
  3. Make a reservation.  It is always safest to make a reservation in advance for your party since Seattle Restaurant Week is a very busy time and it would be frustrating to have hopes for a great three course meal, only to miss out due to lack of planning.  That being said, there are some restaurants we have never been able to get into, even with a reservation (Ethan Stowell, if you’re reading…How to Cook a Wolf).

Enjoy and try new restaurants next time!