Steps away from Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle, this is the place to go for classic, sustainable Pacific Northwest cuisine. It is clear as soon as you step inside that the restaurant’s goal is to pay homage to farm fresh food. Pictures of Prosser Farm (one of the farms located two hours outside of Seattle where Dahlia Lounge sources its fruits and vegetables) hang on the walls, and an open kitchen suggests transparency.
Dahlia lounge is the flagship restaurant of renowned Seattle Chef Tom Douglas and is a staple of Seattle’s dining scene for a reason–it’s classic, comfortable, and serves fresh PNW eats.
What to order
Start with the Rosé vinegar marinated beets, and enjoy the tangy fresh spinach salad with lentils, delicata squash, apple and feta–a lunch that won’t leave you comatose before your next meeting.
Between working at Nav.it and being a mom, I manage to keep myself pretty busy, so working lunches are a great way for me to maximize my time. Daliah Lounge is a place I return to over and over again because of the great service and even better food. There is something for everyone on the menu, and you can feel confident that what’s featured on the menu is locally sourced and fresh.
Money Score: Okay
The prices at Dahlia Lounge are a little steep, but I’m willing to spend a little more when the food is consistently tasty, and the presentation is beautiful. Lunchtime entrees run from $14 to $24 a plate. But I haven’t had a bad meal at Dahlia Lounge and will happily continue to come back. I enjoy having working lunches here because it’s nice to have an elevated, visionary conversation over an equally enjoyable meal. Some meetings just call for a little extra class, and Dahlia Lounge caters to the professional lunch crowd with well-timed service and delicious food.
Consciousness Score: Good
Right off the bat, our server asked us if there were any allergies at the table. My colleague is allergic to gluten, soy, and dairy, so I thought it was really nice that they took the initiative to ask before we had to inquire. It’s not always easy to find what you’re looking for on a menu when you’re someone with a variety of dietary restrictions. Our server promptly walked us through the entire menu, letting us know which dishes could easily be altered to accommodate his allergies.
Dahlia Lounge is the oldest restaurant owned by Seattle Chef Tom Douglas, and there is a reason it has stayed relevant in Seattle’s changing food scene. The food is not only delicious, but it’s also sustainably sourced. Together with his wife and business partner, Jackie Cross who runs Prosser Farms, Tom Douglas has been bringing farm fresh vegetables and sustainable seafood to Dahlia lounge since 1980. It’s clear by reading over the menu that the ingredients are selected seasonally and with care.
‘All the Feels’ Score: Okay
I would have given Dahlia Lounge a 2 for ambiance, but I had a personal experience that bumped my score up to an ‘okay’. The decor is a bit stuffy and outdated, and it’s a fairly large space so it lacks the intimacy I would usually look for in a fine dining experience. However, after lunch I had another meeting scheduled, so I ordered a drink at the bar and waited for my colleague to arrive. Originally, I thought the bartender was a bit cold in the classic Seattle freeze type of way, but it turns out he may have just been shy, as he opened up when I made an effort to start a conversation.
In the process of multiple meetings and moving from lunch to the bar, I left the restaurant without my wallet. Luckily, my bartender went out of his way to look me up on Facebook and let me know that he had found it! The service is always great here, but the fact that my bartender went above and beyond to reunite me with my belongings was exceptional.
Rosé Vinegar Marinated Beets with Burrata, Orange and Pistachio, $9
Tasty and elegant, I would highly recommend this dish to start your meal. We asked for the burrata on the side since we were splitting this dish, which meant it needed to be dairy-free. I tried a bite both with and without the burrata, and each bite was just as satisfying as the other. The citrus added a brightness to the dish that really balanced out the sweetness of the beets. The plating was beautiful, but it wasn’t a lot of food, so only order if you are planning to get an entree, as well.
Spinach Salad with Lentils Delicata Squash, Apple, Feta, and Cider Vinaigrette, $14
While there was a little too much salad dressing for my taste, the spinach was straight-out-of-the-garden fresh, so it didn’t get that slimy wilted texture an overdressed spinach salad can get. The lentils added an earthiness, which balanced out the sweet notes of the apples and made the salad filling. The feta was creamy, and the tangy bite of the cheese paired well with the delicata squash. I could have done without the golden raisins, as the apple already added enough sweetness.
A salad for lunch at Dahlia Lounge is a great choice because you will feel content but not too full, perfect for getting over that afternoon slump and back on your grind at work.
Grilled Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon, Harissa-honey Yogurt, Black Lentils, Carrot, Pickled Cucumbers,$24
Hey, correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t pickled cucumbers just pickles? We got a big kick out of this description! But when the dish arrived, it was beautiful, and you could tell that the pickles were made in house. The chef kindly substituted a harissa sauce for the yogurt, which kept the integrity of the flavors in the dish. The salmon was perfectly cooked and garnished with fresh parsley and mint, which highlighted the smoky earthy flavors in the dish.