The Loft Cafe and Social Lounge marries the rustic beauty of lodge-like architecture with a modern menu of Pacific Northwest and Mediterranean flavors that change periodically. Their executive chef has crafted a catalog of small and large plates that pair regional seafood, such as pan-seared Alaskan halibut and bay scallops, with basil-pesto sauce and roasted red peppers in garlic cream. Large parties can even request a custom menu for their festivities, instead of piling their entrees into the shape of a birthday cake.
The chef dispatches all meals to two floors, where shadows cast by hanging lights and chandeliers play across wooden ceiling grids. He also sends meals out to the courtyard, where towering heat lamps warm hands grasping coconut mojitos—one of the eatery’s many handcrafted cocktails. During happy hour, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. every day, guests take advantage of the lower cocktail prices and snack on spicy pancetta prawns and dungeness-crab croquettes.
Faux marbled walls, stark white pillars, and gold- and burgundy-hued drapes create a stately dining backdrop inside the dining room of Capri Ristorante Italiano. An Italian mural is painted in vivid blues and whites on the domed ceiling, and chandeliers illuminate diners sitting in wrought iron and leather chairs, which is the seating style that 17th-century nobility would have envisioned being in spaceships. Notes from a piano float through the air as servers dispense classic Italian dishes such as meat-stuffed raviolis, chicken parmesan, and four-cheese pizza. Outside, a sculpture recessed in the marigold wall watches over al fresco diners, who also get a front-row seat on select nights for the area’s summer-concert series.
Even the more modest accommodations at W Seattle are deluxe. Pillow-top beds, goose-down comforters, WiFi, and bathrooms stocked with luxurious Bliss products make stays comfortable and relaxing. Guests who want a truly special stay can book the Extreme Wow suite. The 1,000-square-foot suite is located on the hotel's top floor with soaring city views, which gives guests a taste of what living in the Space Needle would be like, if the Space Needle had a jacuzzi.
While guests may come from faraway places, the food served at Trace, the W's acclaimed restaurant, doesn't. Executive Chef Steven Ariel cooks up Asian-inspired dishes with ingredients from local farms. You’ll find 100% organic produce from Willie Green's Organic Farm used in salads and locally caught seafood from Taylor Shellfish Farms in the bouillabaisse. The fresh food, served in Trace's renovated dining room, led to Food & Wine magazine naming it one of the Best Hotel Restaurants.
The first thing guests notice when walking into W Seattle is the colossal, three-story fireplace centered in the lobby. But this isn't some homespun relic. After a massive redesign (which netted the hotel a Restaurant and Bar Design Award in 2013), the architect designed a modern fireplace area that's welcoming—the space is dubbed the Living Room—while keeping to the W's modern aesthetic. In Trace, the designers took some structural columns that were once an awkward necessity and transformed them into sleek, geometric poles that frame the sushi station like curtains, drawing attention to the theatrical preparation. Elsewhere in the dining room, a mural pays homage to the duality of Seattle—a nature-lover's haven and a sci-tech mecca. One side of the mural appears to show jellyfish, but as you walk to the other side, a supersonic jet emerges from the picture.
Mai Thaiku, a relocated and reimaged incarnation of the now-closed Thaiku, boasts a new menu centered around the authentic Thai cuisine that Chef Anne Sawvalak grew up eating. This includes fresh salads built from green mango, wok-fried noodles with Chinese sausage or sliced pork, and curries simmered with fresh Thai basil or lime and cilantro. But fans of the old menu need not mourn: while The Seattle Times raved about the charred baby squid skewers, they also lauded the kitchen's willingness to prepare old Thaiku dishes when possible. To help toast favorites old and new, the restaurant also offers a cocktail list that infuses classic drinks with exotic ingredients. The potent concoctions include a martini made with black tea-infused vodka and an old fashioned made with the aphrodisiac yoshimbe, which is limited to one per customer or tired cupid.
Northwestern ingredients swim through Acquabar Bistro and Lounge's menu of homestyle American fare and seafood entrees, and fresh fruit and herbs infuse the bar's list of inventive cocktails. On weekdays, Acquabar's adjacent café specializes in casual lunches such as toasty grilled paninis and espresso with coffee beans from Caffe D'arte, and the restaurant's bistro and lounge invites dinner diners to luxuriate amid modern hardwood décor and feast on regional American entrees including Cajun catfish and po boys crafted from local oysters. Owner and experienced restaurateur David Leong, who was once profiled in Seattle Weekly, also attracts late-night revelers with live music, DJs, and sultry mermaid vocalists.
Hot-pink chairs, barstools, and booths cradle diners as they enjoy plates of Thai cuisine. The menu's fragrantly seasoned entrees borrow heavily from the recipes of Thailand, featuring various curries, fiery chili pastes, and housemade peanut sauce. Chinese staples include sweet-and-sour chicken, whose complementary flavors mirror the restaurant’s complex cocktails. Bartenders muddle jalapeños, infuse vodkas with blackberry and cantaloupe in-house, and periodically retreat to the back room to squeeze fresh milk from ripe coconuts.
As dinner parties cycle through, the modern setting begins to morph into a late-night lounge, which remains open until as late as 2 a.m. as DJs spin records and tap dance into the microphone.