[?] 5 birthday dinner suggestions of the small & intimate variety?

This question was posed to me by a friend who was passing them along to his company’s VP. I didn’t have a ton of time to research it so I just started listing off places that I would want someone to take me – places with good reputations and would be more fun to go with someone romantically rather than friendship-ly.

To be fair: There are obviously a million awesome restaurants in each neighborhood but these were the first to come to mind and all happen to be scattered across Capitol Hill. The best birthday dinner I’VE ever had was at Elemental at Gasworks which sadly closed their doors last summer and I don’t think I will ever get over it.


I’ve never been to Dinette, but I walk by it regularly and always think, “it looks so cozy and romantic in there”. Dinette is sandwiched in the middle of a block that includes Crumble & Flake, Tacos Gringos, Montana, and whatever the Elite is about to be turned into, so it’s in good company. Their website says that they serve “mostly rustic European fare that is great for sharing” and a quick look at their menu has me salivating for a butter lettuce salad and Basque-style braised lamb.

Making a night of it? Try a fizzy adult beverage at the nearby Montana before or after your meal! 


Tango and I are old friends. It used to be a regular happy hour spot but more recently it’s turned into the place I take people to blow them away with dessert. We hosted Doug’s 39th birthday dinner in their private room and it was such a fun evening full of great wine and lots and lots of tapas. The menu doesn’t change much, but I don’t think it needs to because they’ve been doing it for a long time and it’s practically perfect. My must-orders? The cheap dates, the pan-roasted green beans and harissa, any of the cheese selections, and the carnitas del puerco. Do not leave here without ordering the El Diablo for dessert. Do you hear me? ORDER THE EL DIABLO.

Making a night of it? Visit the new Rumba, Tango’s sister restaurant right next door! 


Be prepared to course your way through dinner at Lark. There just really isn’t any reason to rush your way through – just pick an item from each section of the menu and a bottle of wine and sit back and wait for the food to arrive at your table. It’s all about sharing and seasonal food.

Making a night of it? Grab a cocktail at Caffe Presse or Canon before or after!


I just think that the IDEA of Poppy is so cool, not to mention I love the design of their logo and collateral. The premise for the restaurant is based on Indian thalis, which I like to describe as “one big tray of a bunch of little dishes” – and with a Northwest flair. So rather than your traditional Indian dishes (those you can get at Traveler’s Thali House), they’re serving up local and seasonal stuff NW food that is INSPIRED by Indian cuisine. The menu changes regularly and the thalis come in all different sizes and prices, but if you’re going to go for it, then just go for it, I say.

Making a night of it? Grab dessert at Dilettante Mocha and Martini Bar!

Sitka & Spruce

Sitka & Spruce is one of those critically acclaimed Seattle restaurants that I always tell people to go to even though I’ve never been myself, which is so ridiculous – but I don’t need to go there to know that I love it. It’s located in the Melrose Market which is one of my favorite buildings in Seattle and I just think the vibe is so cool. The only bad thing I’ve ever heard about it was that there was a wait, but obviously you should just call and make a reservation so you can avoid that problem. Go there and report back – or better yet, take me with you!

Making a night of it? Get your sip on at Bar Ferd’nand, right outside the Sitka & Spruce “doors”. (There’s no real elegant way of describing how things are situated inside the Melrose Market – you’ll understand when you get there.


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