It's true. Canlis, that decades-old venerable fine dining institution located on the Northeast slope of Seattle's Queen Anne neighborhood, has upon repeat visitation established itself as the world's premier romantic Chemex destination for two.
Fair warning: Though it's true that the restaurant's infamous dress code is no longer enforced in the lounge, you may well be snooted at by the front desk staff for showing up in a flannel and jeans. ‘Tis no big whoop; this is no place to slouch, but you should feel perfectly free to enjoy the bar area as you please, leaving the dress code to your own sartorial discretion. You won't be turned away.
This is where you come for a Chemex and a souffle, and to bask in an interior design scheme straight out of Peter Brady's rumpus room. You come here for the view, and the valet service, but most of all, you come here for one of the best coffee services in Seattle. There's just something special about great coffee in a high-end restaurant, and we respect restaurants that aren't serving garbage, or being hoodwinked by hucksters, or settling for second best.
Canlis is quite simply one of the most dramatic spaces in America in which to enjoy fine coffee. If you live on the West Coast and happen to be a coffee person who is trying to woo another coffee person, this place is a world-class deal sealer. Exposed stone columns, dramatically sloped ceilings live piano – on a recent visit, the septuagenarian pianist absolutely went to town on “Bennie And The Jets” – and that view, every inch of it still stunning more than a half-decade after the restaurant first opened its doors. The place just drips with class.
There are large and small Chemex options, running between $9 and $12 for a small and $16 to $22 for a large. A shot of Intelligentsia's Black Cat espresso runs $5, served with reverse osmosis sparkling water from Sweden. Having tried several of their Chemex options, it's the espresso that most stands out, though you'd do well to order both; get a shot when you first sit down, order a Chemex with dessert.
And seriously, the dessert. Just an exemplary Grand Marnier souffle, seemingly lifted wholesale out of the middle of last century's fine dining milieu, every inch as charmingly throwback as the restaurant itself. Or the Mille-Feuille, a banana-caramel-chocolate deconstruction presented in considerably more modern fashion, displayed a la Franz Kline, with bursting flecks of feuilletine and a deep dark chocolate ganache. It is worth every single individual dollar of the $12 asking price, and highly recommended.
Canlis currently serves coffees from Intelligentsia (a Sprudge.com sponsor), Transcend Coffee, Sightglass Coffee (a Sprudge.com sponsor) and Barismo. Go here as soon as you can. We simply can't recommend the coffee service at Canlis enough.