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Clockwise from left: The Walrus and the Carpenter, Canlis, Sitka and Spruce

Canlis

Go. By every measure—midcentury swank, pitch-perfect service, a Northwest seasonal menu honoring classics and innovations, and that unlikely restaurant view that doesn’t exist in inverse proportion to quality—Canlis genuinely is worth every C-note. (You’ll drop a few.)

The Walrus and the Carpenter

Goif you’re cool that it’s a bar, not a dinner house, and that you’ll wait for a seat. Oyster connoisseurs and cocktail lovers lose their minds in this whitewashed, tidal dream.

Dahlia Lounge

Skip. Seattle’s only household name-chef’s original restaurant is the one everyone recommends—but Tom Douglas’s gifts of whimsical conception and culinary smarts shine brighter at his three casual Serious Pie pizzerias.

Dick’s Drive-In 

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Image: Olivia Brent

Go. You’ll love it, you’ll hate it—but you have to try it. If you’re not into limp, greasy fries or a diminutive burger glued together with American cheese, you’re out all of $3.50. If you are? Cheap midnight carb porn for life.

Sitka and Spruce

Go…if you’re a serious gastronome, to sample the earthy brilliance of a Matt Dillon meal. It’s suffused with Northwest seasonality, yes, but also deep Northwest values: originality that isn’t precious. ­

Ivar’s 

Go—selectively. This chain represents sweet hometown nostalgia and, at Acres of Clams and the Salmon House, overpriced, overcooked salmon. Instead, head for those restaurants’ adjacent takeout fish bars and enjoy decent clams and chips along the waterfront or on North Lake Union’s floating dock.

Paseo

Skip. I’ll just blurt it: Other sandwiches in Seattle are just as good as the famous Caribbean Roast (including the same sandwich at Paseo’s new rival Un Bien). Worth a try if there’s no line.

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