Critic's Notebook

Here They Are: The Best Seattle-Area Restaurants and Bars for Holiday Merrymaking

As chosen by you, the readers of 'Seattle Met.' And what fine taste you have!

By Kathryn Robinson December 10, 2012

The Sorrento Hotel Fireside Room: One special holiday hangout

We put out the call for your holiday traditions...look at the great stuff you came back to us with!
  • My new holiday tradition is warming up with a hot chocolate-and-Bailey's at different fireplace bars around town. Shelter Lounge in Ballard went above and beyond recently: Their hot water machine was broken, so they heated some milk "the old-fashioned way" (on the stove), apologized for it taking so long (which it didn't, we were busy making S'mores at the fire pit), and then comp'd us our drinks. That's the holiday spirit.
  • Matt's In the Market: for lunch the week of Christmas, midday with friends in silly holiday hats, reindeer ears, and a dancing Christmas tree, with a little bit too much champagne and a lot of HO HO HO.
  • We had New Years Eve 2011 at The Coterie Room in Belltown. Not only did the crystal chandelier sparkle throughout the evening and the cocktails were mixed with whimsy, but the direct view out the ceiling-to-floor windows of the Space Needle Fireworks at midnight was the best front-row seat in town. Even owners Brian McCracken and Dana Tough celebrated with all of the guests until the wee hours.
  • A friend and I only realized after the fact that we have a tradition of meeting at Il Corvo the day before Thanksgiving. (Is two years a tradition?) She always takes that week off, and normally works in Bellevue, so it's our once-a-year chance to have amazing pasta for lunch in the middle of the week. Guess next year we'll be at the new Pioneer Square location.
  • My husband and I don't really buy gifts for each other, we take a day or at least the afternoon off from work and have a great lunch somewhere (last year: MistralKitchen), and then shop together for the rest of the day. It's so lovely and decadent to have a bottle of wine with lunch while everyone else is at their desk, and of course the boozy lunch makes shopping more fun—and expensive.
  • My family always goes to Starbucks on Christmas morning. The shop is always packed wall-to-wall with families, the line is known to go out the door, but everybody still seems happy to be there for once rather than in a rush to get their latte and get to work. Maybe it's because we always go to the one next to my in-laws' house, but there are always people we know there too. And that's even better in my opinion, because I enjoy seeing friends just as much as I enjoy seeing family on Christmas.
  • Dinner at Assaggio with my family. Corner seating by the window where all of the holiday lights twinkled on the streets. Owner Mauro would come over with a giant smile and an antipasti tray to wish us a Merry Christmas.
  • Each year, the weekend after Thanksgiving, my family would go downtown to shop and head to Bruno's Italian/Mexican Restaurant for lunch. Bruno was always at the front waiting for us with a huge hug.  Pizza, margarita, or chimichanga—there was something for each of us at Bruno’s. 
  • Lunch at Tulio with my girls poker group.  They really go all out with the décor.
  • New Year’s Eve at Palisade has been a family tradition for a number of years.  The ambience and view of the boats decorated for the holidays is a perfect surrounding to meet and greet family members after a hectic Christmas holiday. The Maytag salad has always been a favorite, and we love the raw oysters and the salmon.
  • My husband and I always pick a day to go shopping downtown, go to a movie at the Cinerama, and then have dinner at The Palace Kitchen. Best burger in Seattle!
  • Christmas Eve goes a little like this: I start with a round of Duck Farts at my place—I know, sounds so white trash but very tasty for a cold winter night—then walk to the Dragonfish Asian Café for a happy hour roll and small plate. Walk to Oliver’s Lounge in the Mayflower Park Hotel for crab cakes. Continue on to Pike Place Market to take in the lights with nobody around, then walk up to the Quarter Lounge for a shot of Jameson or a shitty beer.  (Okay, let’s be honest, both. It’s Christmas.) Then Midnight Mass at St. James, and a cab home.


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