For the Couple: Lloyd Martin Lloyd Martin, tucked all the way up

For the Couple: Lloyd Martin

Lloyd Martin, tucked all the way up on Queen Anne Avenue, is still one of the most intimate spots in town. Its tiny jewel-box space has only 10 seats, and the bar and kitchen are an arm’s reach away. Here, under atmospheric low lighting, chef Sam Crannell serves pristine three-course tasting menus that draw heavily on the season and local ingredients. Expect beauties like matsutake bisque, rabbit ravioli with Italian porcini and saba and huckleberry cake with whipped mascarpone. The wine list is extensive and calls for a special bottle shared by two. NICOLE SPRINKLE

1525 Queen Anne Ave. N., 420-7602,

For the Seafood Lover: Westward

Over one year in, Westward has yet to let me down, whether for weekend brunch, a drink and raw oysters at happy hour, or a proper dinner. The stylish, award-winning, nationally lauded spot on Lake Union delivers the best seafood, meat, and produce, which then gets chef Zoi Antonitsas’ unique Mediterranean twist. Standouts include their always-fresh oysters on the half shell; braised lamb shoulder with herb & onion salad, pomegranate, tzatziki, and pita; and whole roasted branzino with roasted fennel and its pollen and avgolemono sauce. NS

2501 N. Northlake Way, 552-8215,

For the Sushi Connoisseur: Mashiko’s

Yes, your loved one will have to travel to West Seatttle and make reservations if you want to snag a seat at what’s widely considered Seattle’s best spot for sushi. But with a focus on sustainability, chef Sato serves nigiri and sashimi you likely won’t find elsewhere, such as the rainbow trout I had on a recent visit. Omakase (or chef’s choice) here is truly an adventure, and will allow you to sample ultra-fresh and interesting preparations of things like uni and matsutake mushrooms. No monster-sized, cream-cheese-laden sushi rolls here. NS

4725 California Ave. S.W., 935-4339,

For the Seasonal Food Fanatic: Poppy

Seattleites in general have been conditioned to expect the freshest food available. But for that person in your life who truly lives by the seasonal creed, a gift certificate to Poppy should do the trick. Nearly everything on its menu reflects the growing season. Fall’s menu, for instance, includes a lavender-crusted duck leg with pomegranate red cabbage, and, of course, their signature nigella-poppy naan bread. Spring bonus: outdoor seating in their back garden. NS

622 Broadway E., 324-1108,

For the Adventurous Eater: Miyabi 45th

In a small, welcoming space in Wallingford, chef Soma’s specialty is soba noodles served with little bowls of decadent broths flavored with the likes of black truffle oil, assorted mushrooms, and leeks, or grated Japanese mountain yam, aonori, and quail egg. But it’s not all about the noodles here; she also serves items like foie-gras tofu with honey-roasted grape; kabocha pumpkin shrimp bisque; and housemade duck meatballs with fried duck egg and sauteed sunchokes. NS

2208 N. 45th St., 632-4545,

For the Sweet Lover: 
Hot Cakes Molten Cakery

It’s a no-brainer. Hot Cakes in Ballard (soon to come to Capitol Hill) gives the sweet-toother in your life a choice of stocking up on Autumn Martin’s homemade treats, like rye-whiskey caramel sauce or a s’mores kit, or taking a seat and indulging in grilled chocolate sandwiches, boozy shakes, spiked drinking caramel with mezcal, and seasonal specials like apple bread pudding. No matter the date, lines weave outside the door for summery icy treats or wintery warm ones. NS

5427 Ballard Ave. N.W., 420-3431,

For the Wine Lover: Nell’s

Nowhere in Seattle are serious wine lovers catered to more. Its list features both iconic bottlings and nerdy favorites; the staff is practiced and easy to converse with; and whatever night you show up, you’re almost certain to run into a collector or two opening a special bottle. The prices on the list are quite reasonable, as is the corkage policy, and the menu is flexible enough to accommodate just about anything you might want to pair with it. ZACH GEBALLE

6804 E. Green Lake Way N., 524-4044,

For the Night Owl: Toulouse Petit

Two things I want from late-night meals: a decent selection and an atmosphere lively enough that I don’t feel totally isolated. Lower Queen Anne’s Toulouse Petit nails both: Its menu is eclectic and available until 1 a.m., and it always feels both animated and romantic. ZG

601 Queen Anne Ave. N., 432-9069,

For the Vegetarian: Plum Bistro

There’s a reason Plum Bistro attracts celebrities to its stylish Capitol Hill digs: owner Makini Howell’s vegan delights, such as spicy Cajun mac ’n’ yease or jerk tofu-and-yam burger. But it’s not all comfort food. Elegant dinner entrees include the likes of rosemary- and sage-rubbed seitan steak with butter-bean and pumpkin succotash and oyster-mushroom fettuccine with kale, seitan, parsley, and garlic. NS

1429 12th Ave., 838-5333,

For the Stylish, Ethnic Foodie: Mamnoon

There’s undoubtedly a whole wide world (literally) to explore when it comes to ethnic food in Seattle. But what’s rarer is the swanky restaurant that also serves first-rate food—in this case, Middle Eastern. Enter Mamnoon. This shiny, spacious, open-kitchen establishment on Capitol Hill allows you to indulge in small plates like charred eggplant and minced lamb or Armenian beef tartare with cracked wheat, flowering oregano, basil radish, tomato, turnip pickle, and cilantro. NS

1508 Melrose Ave., 906-9606,


Thalis at Poppy.

Thalis at Poppy.



Oysters at Westward.

Oysters at Westward.