Located in the verdant Pacific Northwest, laying along the Puget Sound and lined with mountain ranges to the east and west, Seattle is surrounded by beautiful views and a landscape that offers a generous helping of locally-grown and -raised food. It's true that a restaurant with a good view isn’t very hard to come by, but a restaurant with a good view and good food? That's another story. While there are obvious old-time favorites -- like Ray’s Boathouse and the Edgewater -- that make lists time and time again, we’re taking the opportunity to spotlight some other lesser-known gems (and a few pretty well-known ones) serving up amazing fare paired with views that range from the Puget Sound to Lake Union and even the well-known food mecca that is Pike Place Market.
Recently awarded the number 5 spot on Bon Appétit’s Hot 10 of 2014 list, Westward has been making waves in the restaurant scene both locally and across the country. The spawn of The Skillet Group’s Josh Henderson, this restaurant combines a trendy-meets-classic nautical aesthetic with Mediterranean-inspired dishes. Best of all, it sits right at the edge of scenic north Lake Union. The kitchen is led by Chef Zoi Antonitsas and menu items span breakfast, lunch, “midday” and dinner to include anything from Dungeness crab tartine to braised Oregon lamb shoulder served with herb and onion salad, pomegranate molasses, tzatziki and pita. In fact, many of the dishes come out of a wood-fired oven. Servers donning striped shirts, with some at the bar sporting navy blue captain hats, float between beautiful Mid-Century modern chairs. If Life Aquatic added a restaurant to its story line, this would be it. A painting of Bill Murray’s character Steve Zissou hanging by the hostess’s stand only solidifies a sense of Wes Anderson’s presence.
Head west for Hawaiian-inspired fare served with a spanning view of the Sound with a sparkling backdrop of the city skyline. Located in West Seattle, steps from Alki Beach, Marination Ma Kai started on the streets of Capitol Hill as a food truck, called Marination Mobile, and opened this, its third venture, in late 2012. The menu features options like kalbi beef tacos, kimchi fried rice, spam masubi, and a pork katsu sandwich and a full bar offers cocktails that step to the same beat. Miniature tables outside give kids a chance to entertain themselves at a table their own size while you enjoy delicious food with a view, without breaking the bank.
Restaurants with large-scale views of the water, the Olympic Mountains, or the city skyline are obvious contenders for this list, but for a more unconventional -- but extremely quaint -- view in Seattle, head to Matt’s in the Market. Enormous arched windows line the walls of this charming restaurant located just across the way from Pike Place Market. The famous Pike Place Market clock and sign is larger than you’ve ever seen them, the historical brick road and all of the market's action sits below, and Elliott Bay and surrounding mountains can be seen beyond the roof of the market. The restaurant is located on the second floor of the Corner Market building and owner Dan Bugge, a former fishmonger of 11 years, sources ingredients from the market while executive chef Shane Ryan creates fresh dishes that offer seasonal and innovative touches. The menu is simple, fresh and vibrant, and features plenty of seafood, including market fish. Go for happy hour -- it’s one of my favorites it’s one of my favorites for its interesting $7 cocktails and the list of high-quality menu items ranging from manila clams and Oregon rock fish tostadas to cheese and charcuterie plates, all for under $10.
More of a take-out sandwich shack than a restaurant, head to Paseo’s Ballard location, which sits right up against the Puget Sound in north Seattle, touting one of Seattle’s larger sandy beaches. Grab a juicy Caribbean-style sandwich and take it across the street to a beach or down the road to Golden Gardens for a picnic lunch or dinner with a front-row seat to the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. Inside Paseo's squat pastel-pink building, pork is cooked to glorious perfection for its most popular sandwich, the Caribbean Roast. All sandwiches, which also include chicken, fish, prawn, tofu and other varieties, are served on a toasted baguette with whole pieces of romaine lettuce, fresh and flavorful aioli, pickled jalapenos and caramelized onions. If you decide you can’t wait to tear into that hefty sandwich, the feeling of the cool sea breeze can be enjoyed from the stand’s picnic tables, if you can secure a seat. The moistest pork shoulder your mouth has ever encountered awaits you.
One of the oldest of old Seattle favorites is Canlis, a family-owned restaurant that has been serving contemporary American since 1950 from its perch high above Lake Union in the north end of the city’s Queen Anne neighborhood. From anniversaries to weddings to high school proms, we can’t imagine how many special occasions have been celebrated at this Seattle landmark. Floor-to-ceiling windows jut out at an angle to offer beautiful views of North Seattle from this gem of a Mid-Century modern-style space, and live piano music fills the air. Expect 5-star service, an extensive wine list, and dishes prepared with modern techniques presented in both contemporary and modern style. After over half-a-century, current owners and brothers Mark and Brian Canlis, along with Chef Jason Franey, formerly of New York’s Eleven Madison Park, switched up the menu, restructuring it to offer 3 prix-fixe options: a 7-course chef’s tasting menu ($125, $105 for the vegetarian version), as well as a 3- and 4-course option ($85 and $100). If you want to experience the classic establishment without committing to dinner, head to the lounge for cocktails and small bites.