21 Central Steakhouse's extensive menu centers largely on its specialties: USDA prime corn-fed beef and fresh-caught seafood. The posh steakhouse's steaks are all seared in a 1,800-degree broiler, creating a deeply flavored external char that houses the juicy, broiled-to-order interior—similar to the one that houses Wile E. Coyote after an ACME bomb malfunction. After starting with a plate of baked goat cheese ($9.95) over tomatoes Provençal with chive oil and balsamic vinaigrette, boost your vitamin B12 intake with a 10-ounce center-cut filet mignon ($42.95) or a 20-ounce porterhouse ($46.95) and add a side of creamed spinach ($8) for color. You can also enhance your steak by dousing it with a coat of 21's brandy chanterelle sauce ($5), caramelized balsamic onions ($4), and more.
Where to Sit: If you'd like privacy to propose to your partner—or to discuss a proposal with your business partner—request to be seated in one of the high-backed booths.
Rib-eye steak: a tender, flavorful cut of beef from the rib section that is prepared either bone-in or boneless.
Steak oscar: steak served with toppings of crabmeat, asparagus, and a creamy sauce—either hollandaise or béarnaise.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
For the art collector: Admire the work of local and national artists at Jeffery Moose Gallery (1333 Fifth Avenue).
For the theatergoer: ACT – A Contemporary Theatre (700 Union Street) houses five theaters in one building. Past performances have included Little Shop of Horrors and Arthur Miller's The Price.
For the fashionista: Butch Blum (1332 Sixth Avenue) currates high-end collections from European clothing and accessory designers.
Where to Sit: The 180-degree wall of windows overlooking Elliott Bay ups your odds of nabbing a stunning waterfront view. But the rest of the dining room offers its own picturesque scenes including a fish pond replete with a babbling waterfall.
When to Go: Budget-conscious diners can score the same incredible views and fresh seafood during affordable prix-fixe lunches or “first seating” dinners held before the evening rush.
While You’re Waiting: Order a classic cocktail cooled by one of Palisade’s signature ice spheres, which are designed to melt slower and chill drinks longer than traditional cubes.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
By land: Stroll through the 12 acres of greenery that make up Magnolia Park (1461 Magnolia Boulevard W.), admiring clear views of Puget Sound.
By sea: Take a sunset cruise courtesy of Far Niente Sailing Charters (2601 West Marina Place).
Despite there being three restaurants, each Salty's boasts a waterfront view. The Seattle location looks out on Elliott Bay and the city's skyline, the Redondo Beach location has views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, and the Portland spot oversees the Columbia River. And customers don't have to fret about getting a window spot—the spectacular sights are viewable from nearly every seat in the house.
About the only thing longer than the menu is the list of awards. A plethora of critics and publications have heaped praise on Salty's on Alki, naming it everything from the Best Place to Bring a Date (West Seattle Hearld) to Best All-You-Can-Eat Buffet (Seattle Weekly). Wine Spectator has given the Seattle location an Award of Excellence every year from 2003–2013, and Seattle Magazine also named that branch the restaurant with the best view from 2009–2011.
Salty's on Alki’s brunch, replete with a huge all-you-can-eat buffet, has been lauded by publications ranging from OpenTable to Seattle Magazine. It’s not hard to see why. Every Sunday (and Saturday at the Seattle and Portland locations), the staff situates trays and trays of prawns, salmon, dungeness crab, oysters, and other fresh seafood next to made-to-order omelet stations, waffle bars, hand-carved meats, and every dessert Betty Crocker could ever imagine. It's even got a make-your-own bloody-mary bar, where patrons can whip up custom hangover cures.
When to Go: Dine to a soundtrack of live piano tunes Tuesday–Saturday evenings.
Where to Sit: Ask for a table close to a window for breathtaking views of Lake Union at sunset, or request outdoor seating for harbor-side dining.
Inside Tip: Check out the seven-day-a-week happy hour for generously portioned bar snacks—such as prime steakhouse sliders or marsala chicken skewers—that can curb the sticker shock of the pricey dinner menu.
While You're in the Neighborhood
Before: Scope out the 360-degree view of Seattle from the periscope at the top of the Museum of History & Industry (860 Terry Avenue, Lake Union Park).
After: Take in a classic performance at the Seattle Shakespeare Company (305 Harrison Street).
The doors aren’t even open when the crowds start to gather for happy hour at Jak’s Grill. The West Seattle location only has 20 seats, and come 4:30 p.m., the scramble can resemble a game of musical chairs. If you’re lucky enough to nab a seat, you’ll be treated to a full hour of food and drink specials. The Jak’s burger is the top-ranking item on this truncated menu, described by the Seattle Times as “the kind of burger your neighbor grills on the Weber during the July Fourth weekend.” The smokey half-pound patty is topped with the basics: tomato, lettuce, and onions, with cheese available for an extra dollar.
Burgers aren’t the only well-grilled treat on Jak’s menu. You’ll also find prime top sirloin, new york strips, and even filet mignon—all aged a minimum of 28 days and cooked simply without pretension. And while you won’t get an elaborate plating or fancy garnish, you will get a bearnaise or demi-glace, a large cut of steak, and hearty portions of salad, veggies, potatoes, and fresh bread to round out your meal.
Weekend brunches also bring long lines to Jak’s reservation-free dining rooms. During this time, you can nab a burger, a steak sandwich, or a jazzed up breakfast benedict served atop Jak’s famous potato pancakes. As if that weren’t enticement enough, a brunch happy hour rewards early birds with discount mimosas and breakfast basics.