With mountains and bodies of water in almost every direction, you actually have to work not to have a stunning view in the Emerald City—at least when you’re outside. If you’re looking for a quality meal to go with the exceptional Pacific Northwest panoramas, these are the restaurants to check out.
AQUA by El Gaucho
Restaurant, American, Seafood
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Exterior of AQUA by El Gaucho | Courtesy of El Gaucho
AQUA by El Gaucho could easily rely solely on its location. Spoiled with views of Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains, the restaurant takes advantage of its spot on Alaskan Way with an outdoor deck and floor-to-ceiling windows. AQUA does not use this as an excuse to skimp elsewhere, sourcing “the best products in the world” for to-die-for dishes with a forte in the seafood realm.
Canlis, part of the Relais & Chateaux brand, has been hosting some of the city’s most incredible fine-dining experiences since the 1950s. Designed to provide an abundance of natural light, Canlis offers breathtaking views of Seattle, Lake Union, and the Cascades. Due to its incredible 80-plus-page list of wines, it was the winner of the 2017 James Beard Outstanding Wine Program Award.
Restaurant, Korean, Fusion, Street Food, American, $$$
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Marination Food | Photo credit, John Beck
Marination Ma Kai is a community-minded eatery that started with a food truck serving Hawaiian-Korean fusion cuisine. Working to bring “everyday aloha” to the public, the beach-side restaurant on Alki offers some of the area’s most stunning panoramas of the city skyline framed by mountains and the Puget Sound. Patrons continue to be entranced by the combination of incredible views, lively staff, and, of course, the beloved dishes.
An incredibly romantic, French restaurant, Maximilien has been gracing Pike Place Market with its presence since 1997. The seasonal menu and completely GMO-free dishes leave room for the traditional escargots and foie gras. The “old-world charm” and authentic French food are seemingly put on display, along with the Puget Sound, Elliott Bay, and the Olympic Mountains—a view multiplied by the antique mirrors that cover the restaurant’s walls. Though the attire is casual, it can be difficult not to want to dress up in such a majestic setting.
Palisade has provided an iconic view over Elliott Bay for 25 years—a vista featuring the Puget Sound, mountains, and the city. With seafood so fresh that it tastes like it’s been caught that day (which in Seattle is an actual possibility), this fancy, quality venue will make anything from a casual drink to a wedding that much more spectacular.
With a history dating way back to the Gold Rush, Place Pigalle seems to transport its patrons to a previous time. Beginning as a speakeasy and then a tavern, Place Pigalle finally opened as a restaurant in the late 1970s, eventually evolving into the fine-dining establishment it is famous for today. Every table is designed to delight with a menu of classic dishes and seasonal concoctions as well as with the stunning views of the Olympic Peninsula across Elliott Bay.
Ray's Café Deck | Courtesy of Ray’s Boathouse & Café
Ray’s Boathouse began as just that—a boat rental and bait house. Adding an accompanying café in the ’40s, it wasn’t until the ’70s that Ray’s experienced a makeover that would push it forward as a well-respected seafood restaurant. Now, it is known to relish in all that the Northwest has to offer. A pioneer in locally sourced ingredients, dishes are prepared simply, allowing the natural flavors of fresh seafood and produce to shine through. When patrons aren’t wrapped up in their food, they’ll be entranced by the view extending out west in front of them.
Perched on Alki Beach in West Seattle, Salty’s provides the best: a prime view of Seattle across Elliott Bay and a menu that changes around the freshest ingredients available. This Northwest seafood establishment actively engages in environmental sustainability, specifically in working with local farmers and fisheries, as well as keeping to safe fishing practices. They celebrate with festivals all year long, including “You Crack Me Up” Crab in winter, “Just For the Halibut” in spring, “Wild Ones” Summer Salmon Festival, and the “Aw Shucks! Amorous Oysters” during the fall.
The Six Seven Restaurant sits inside The Edgewater, a hotel that juts out over Elliott Bay, bringing diners even closer to the Olympic Mountains ahead. Accompanied by delicious Pacific Northwest fare, this restaurant brings together the region’s best in every category. Prepare to fall in love with Seattle during your visit.
Of course, the list of best restaurants with a view includes the one atop the most iconic Seattle building: SkyCity Restaurant at the Space Needle. It was the first—and thus the oldest—rotating restaurant, making a full revolution every hour and providing guests with a 360-degree view of Seattle from their table. Currently, SkyCity is closed as part of the $100 million Century Project renovation of the Space Needle, but it is set to open back up in May of 2018. One of the expected improvements includes a “first-of-its-kind rotating glass floor,” not only offering guests a view all the way around but also below.
Sitting on the north end of Lake Union, Westward offers “imaginative water-inspired Northwest fare.” The menu frequently changes to accommodate the freshest seasonal and local ingredients. Dining is available inside or outside on the large deck, near the fire pit, or in the beach area; all seats offer uniquely captivating views of the lake and city behind it. Guests arriving by water can pull kayaks up to the beach or park at Westward’s 100-foot dock.