Sixty-seven years ago, Peter Canlis set out to craft Seattle’s
distinctive fine-dining experience, complete with a stunning view of Lake Union. His goal: “to create the world’s most beautiful restaurant.” Now, a local landmark and third-generation family-owned restaurant, Canlis has maintained its reputation as the place to celebrate special occasions in the North Sound.
A dress code ensures the Canlis experience begins before you even arrive at the restaurant, as you prepare for a memorable evening. “We very much consider serving you a special occasion and hope that guests embrace that while they’re getting ready,” said Megan Brady, guest relations manager at Canlis. “We hope guests find it’s worth leaving their flip flops and fleeces at home for a spectacular meal.”
The first thing you’ll notice about Canlis is the iconic mid-century building, which was designed by legendary Seattle architect Roland Terry to showcase the property’s view and furnished by interior designer Jean Jongeward. Through the years, the restaurant has honored the original aesthetic while making updates, a strategy helped by working with members of the original architecture and design team.
“It’s wonderful to work with people who share that much history and help us move forward. We’re always thinking about how to stay connected to our past while evolving and moving forward,” Brady said.
In addition to its contemporary Northwest cuisine, Canlis is known for its distinctive service. Brady said, “Food and wine knowledge; poise and presence in the dining room—we require a lot of our lead servers, a ton of knowledge and training. It’s very much a place of honor.” Servers begin in the kitchen and progress through three levels of training before achieving lead server status.
“Everyone does their job as if their last name is Canlis. We feel like we are part of the family working here, which is really a special thing,” Brady said.
Today, Peter’s grandsons Mark and Brian Canlis operate the restaurant.
Canlis recently welcomed Chef Brady Williams, who is reimagining the restaurant’s most loved dishes. Among the customer favorites is the Muscovy duck, a 14-day, dry-aged roasted duck breast for two people. Along with securing reservations, be sure to call in advance and reserve the duck if you have your heart set on it, as it’s so popular that the kitchen occasionally runs out.
Consider ordering from the classic tasting menu for iconic dishes like the Peter Canlis Prawns, or the Canlis Salad, a Caesar salad served in the same wooden bowls with the same flavors as the original, only with a more contemporary preparation. Recipes for these classics are also available on the restaurant’s website.
Finally, selecting just the right bottle of wine will complete your special occasion.
Canlis has won seventeen consecutive Wine Spectator Magazine Grand Awards, making it one of 72 restaurants worldwide to earn the distinction. Its cellar boasts 18,000 bottles, 2,500 selections, and five sommeliers.
We can’t think of anything more iconic than making reservations at Canlis to celebrate a special occasion.