Maybe you love the idea of sitting around a table with your other half, another couple, and a bottle of wine while you make plans for a vacation you’ll never take. Or maybe you can’t stand the possibility of witnessing two other people bicker all night about which cat breed is most politically correct to adopt. Either way, sooner or later you’ll probably end up going on a double date. You want a specific type of restaurant for this occasion - someplace you can reserve a table in advance, and where the food and environment could potentially spark conversation if an awkward silence strikes (or if that cat fight gets to be too much).
Double date invitations are like Bop-It. Hesitate when that annoying couple asks if you’re free this weekend, and you lose. If you book a table at Frank’s, however, everyone wins. Ravenna is a pretty quiet neighborhood, but this low-key oyster bar is typically buzzing with a crowd that makes even the blandest of dates exciting. Hop in a booth, order some drinks, and then pass around some mini lobster rolls - or just go right for the fried chicken plate.
We wish there were more places like Reckless Noodle House. Everything about this operation is sleek but unpretentious. The music is upbeat, we love the homemade ginger beer, and their take on Vietnamese street food is so delicious (especially the braised beef cheek noodles) that it will probably forge a lifelong bond between you and the other people you go with. Some friend groups might have “that weekend in Reno,” but you four will always have Reckless Noodle House.
Delancey is always comfortably packed. The lively energy inside makes a double date tolerable at the very least and like a party at the very best. We advise making a reservation and ordering wood-fired pizzas, roasted brussels sprouts with goat gouda (if they have them that night), and a few bottles of red wine. Afterwards, head next door to Delancey’s sister bar, Essex, for a cocktail - unless you never want to see these people again, in which case you should fake a very sudden flu.
It’s happening - after months of stalling, you’re finally going out with that random couple you met at the farmers’ market. If you’d rather start by just committing to a drink, Navy Strength is a good spot to keep in mind. It’s easy to secure a table, the tiki cocktails are excellent, and there’s a delicious menu of small and large snacks ranging from steam buns to duck larb for when people get hungry. If you’re having fun (or decide you simply have nothing to lose), try the rum-heavy zombie drink that’s so strong, there’s a limit of two per person.
Joule is a Korean steakhouse that works well if you’re happy sharing food family-style - because you’re going to want a bit of everything. We like the kalbi short rib steak, crispy garlic eggplant, and mushroom-topped smoked tofu, to name just a few things. The interior is a cool space where you could linger for a long time, so don’t be surprised if after dinner and a few rounds of cocktails, you’re already promising to make plans again (and meaning it).
Or maybe you don’t want to share, which is totally OK. Sushi Kashiba is a great place to go if a pricey set sushi dinner is appealing (there are some a la carte options, too). Normally, you’d want to sit at the sushi bar, but for an occasion such as this, call ahead and reserve a table. Regardless of where you sit, the food here is worth the steep price tag. And if you’re OK with sharing just a little, we suggest an order of chicken karaage for the table.
We know that double dates aren’t (technically) a competition between couples, but if you want to prove that you’re more interesting, intellectually nuanced, and superior in general, bring the other couple to dinner at Cook Weaver. The dining room has stained glass windows and a mural preserved from the 1930s that depicts a Russian folktale (which you can explain as you test the wine for everyone). This place describes its food as “inauthentic Eurasian cuisine,” so prepare to eat things like pea spaetzle with fermented black beans, brisket bibimbap with hominy, and crab-seasoned fried chicken with pineapple hot sauce. Then, bask in your victorious restaurant decision over rosewater cocktails.
Le Messe has many four-seater tables, but that’s not why we chose it for this guide. It’s here because the atmosphere somehow maintains high energy without being too noisy, and also because the homemade pastas are very good. You could get a few for the table - or you could just get the bucatini carbonara by yourself. Whichever path you choose, round things out with some smoked fish crostini and crudo.
On a double date, it’s important to go somewhere that’s nice but not too romantic. Red Cow is a French brasserie that fits within these parameters. It specializes in really great steak frites, but you could also build a mix-and-match meal with some salads, charcuterie, and all sorts of French classics. If it’s nice out, sit at one of the picnic tables on the patio.
La Cocina Oaxaquena is the ideal place if you’re looking for a low-pressure night involving pint-sized margaritas and plenty of tacos. It’s casual, but still dark and just loud enough to make you think it’s the weekend on a Tuesday night. As a bonus, the tortilla chips here are fried to order (a true Seattle anomaly), and the excellent salsa is free and unlimited - just like friendship.
Come to Citizen Six with a couple you already like, so you can make the most of the fact that this is a fun place to hang out. Some of the Mexican/Korean dishes work well as share plates (like the loaded bulgogi fries), and then there are some you’ll want to hoard for yourself, like the habanero-battered chicken sandwich. If it’s nice out, head to the back patio, which overlooks a trainyard.