It’s never been easy to marry the culinary and performance arts without compromising the quality of the fare. (See also: Las Vegas’ orgies of abundance.) A few places in Seattle get it right, pushing artistic boundaries while also pulling off fine dining.
The most outstanding is Teatro Zinzanni, the original circus dinner theatre and the city’s best bet for a one-stop date night. Inside the theatre’s ornate spiegeltent in Lower Queen Anne, a cast of comedic, cabaret and cirque artists put on a three-hour production every Wednesday through Sunday. The show changes three times throughout the year and executive chef Erik Carlson changes the menu’s five courses to reflect the theme of each new show. For the current production, Bonsoir Liliane, he created a menu filled with French influence, inspired by the show’s star diva Liliane Montevecchi.
The Triple Door in downtown Seattle features adventurous Southeast Asian fare from neighboring restaurant Wild Ginger alongside wildly diverse entertainment that, this month, ranges from indie rock (Lemonheads, Nov. 5) to geek worship (Wil Wheaton vs. Paul and Storm, Nov. 17) to jazz (Cocoa Martini, Nov. 27) and the blues (Curtis Salgado, Nov. 11). Located in a one-time porn theatre (don’t think about that), the theatre boasts great sightlines and an intimate setting for the front rows.
Central Cinema in the Central District brings back the classics: movies on the big screen and a bag of popcorn—with real butter! Its more refined items include microbrews, hand-made personal pizzas and stuffed dates. If your date is going well and you want to sneak away (or if Tremors isn’t as good as you remember), the onsite Café Noir offers the same food and drink away from the silver screen.
Sometimes the restaurant is the show. This is the case with Vito’s, the OG First Hill hangout that now features an elegant Scorsese-ready interior, mood-setting live music of many lounge-y varieties, an extensive and reasonable Italian menu, showmen bartenders and tables filled with a new generation of culture-makers.
Illustration by Tom Dougherty