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A Birthday Weekend

This weekend my husband and I spent some time in Seattle for his birthday.  As part of the celebration, I booked us a room at the new Four Seasons Hotel, and made dinner reservations at the legendary restaurant Canlis.  Other items on the agenda were breakfast at Art, and reflexology appointments at Spa Nordstrom.  Additional activities included a ride on The Seattle Great Wheel.

Without a doubt, the crown jewel to the weekend was dinner at Canlis.  Canlis is considered to be one of, if not THE best restaurant in Seattle. It is certainly one of the Emerald City’s oldest and most cherished haute cuisine eateries.  Started in 1950 by Peter Canlis, it has stayed a family business.  Sons Mark and Brian Canlis officially took the helm in 2005.

Located on Aurora Avenue North, it has a breathtaking view of  Seattle and it’s skyline.  I have eaten at Canlis four times now and have never been lucky enough to be seated in the sunken lower level at a window table.  The food and service, however, are both extraordinary regardless of where you are sitting.

If you ever want to experience exceptional restaurant service, from valet to table staff, come to Canlis and be blown away.  The valet is almost as famous as the food.  Sharply dressed gentlemen politely open your door with a warm smile and welcome you to the restaurant.  Without any kind of ticket, sticker, number or token your car is lovingly driven away as you step in the front door of the building.  What’s more impressive is when you are merely steps from the door, taking your leave after the meal, your vehicle simply appears.

During our previous visit to Canlis, Michael and I were on our way out and we both decided to use the restroom before leaving.  I saw our car pull up outside as I walked to the bathroom.  After the restroom, upon exiting the restaurant, our car was not waiting in the spot I saw it in mere minutes before, but pulled up (again) to greet us.  Magic!

Some places are simply classic.  Like the iconic little black dress, they will always be in fashion, beautiful, chic and elegant.  The outside and inside of Canlis manages to do all of this flawlessly.  A timeless decor in dark tones bathed in dim romantic candlelight greet you upon entering.  The large stone fireplace is ablaze with warmth, and the host greets you whilst taking your jacket.  Light classical or jazz piano breezes to your ear from the open bar, and if you have arrived a tad early for your reservation (as we did) you can enjoy a classic cocktail in the lounge.

The entire staff is kind, hospitable and extremely professional.  They anticipate darn near your every need and whim – as an establishment of this caliber should.  The whole experience is very special and you truly feel cherished while there.

I’m not sure where to even start about the food.  It’s amazing, seasonal, and elegant.  If you want specifics (according to their web site) it’s contemporary Northwest cuisine.  Perhaps I shall mention what specifically ate.

French Foam (the cocktail I drank)

circa 1900

Plymouth Gin, Briottet Cassis, Drappier Champange and lemon sherbet

The Canlis Salad (we each had a salad)

Romaine, Romano cheese, bacon, oregano, and dressing of lemon, olive oil and coddled egg

Pork Belly (starter, shared between us)

Rutabaga, huckleberries, coriander and black pepper

Muscovy Duck for two (shared entree)

14-day aged duck breast, roasted whole and accompanied by plum chutney, parsnip puree and pearl onion

Truffle Fries (shared addition)

With fine herbs and fleur de sel


Milk chocolate, banana, caramel, and peanut butter

Coffee Service

I shan’t go into gross culinary detail about everything we ate.  Simply put, it was all amazing and we immensely enjoyed ourselves.  If you live anywhere remotely close and give a hoot about food, Canlis is worth the trip to Seattle and worth every cent.  It’s certainly considered a special occasion dinning experience.

This was Michael’s and my first time staying at a Four Seasons.  Located on Union, just up from the Alaskan Way viaduct and the Waterfront Park, many rooms have a stunning view of the sound.  I did splurge and get us a Deluxe Bay View Room.  Our tenth floor corner room was amazing: very large, beautifully appointed, fantastic views, oversized closet, stunning bathroom including an in-mirror TV and soaking tub.

Shortly after arriving we received a knock at the door from room service, with a lovely Happy Birthday sweet treat for Michael.  Turn down service included fresh new bathroom linens, bed side waters and bed side slippers.  The hotel service couldn’t have been anything more, the two times we needed our car, it was up within a matter of minutes – always with a warm smile and an open door.

I’d say it was a fantastic weekend.  We both had a great time and I was certainly happy to spoil the wonderful man in my life, who daily does so much for me.

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