Updated March 14, 2023

We’re pretty casual around here. No pretensions. Come as you are. Fine dining in Edmonds usually means a special place with special chefs preparing iconic food, and making you feel kinda special, too.

The gifted culinary artists behind the kitchen take care to source as locally, seasonally, and sustainably as possible, while putting their signature and spin on everything from the appetizers to the craft cocktails. Much of their menu is customized for robust foodies looking to experience fine dining without the fuss, foodies who want to know where their ingredients come from, and even a thing or two about the small farmers, area fishermen, and artisans responsible for those exciting fresh sheets.

Frankly, all of Edmonds could be considered fine dining, destination restaurants, from the coffee shops serving more than coffee and that one celebrated fish market in the center of town, serving more than the fresh catch of the day, to these special, specialty restaurants serving you, their favorite customer.

Kahlo’s Cantina (102 Main St.) opened April 22 to rave reviews — and 400 hungry diners — serving up authentic, upscale Mexican cuisine. Named after Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, the restaurant owned by Claudia Arechiga is perfectly situated right next to the ferry terminal for picturesque views and special occasions.

Dining here is a special occasion every day. 

Imagine sharing Cazuelas — tequila citrus soda — family style, or fancy mojitos, while diving into a vanilla-scented Tres Leches Cake, on the outside deck, watching all the action. And that’s just cocktails and dessert!

The menu is loaded with Mexican specialties you’ll not likely find anywhere else but in prime travel destinations: grilled, goat-cheese-stuffed, bacon-wrapped jalapenos, Kahlo’s Torta Ahogada, a pork carnitas sandwich happily drowning in tomato achiote sauce, beef birria stew soft tacos and burritos, Pescado Sarandeando, whole marinated, grilled fish brightened with citrus and herbs. Entrees come with a choice of two sides, including roasted, crema-draped elote (corn), Papa Fritas (fries), Mexican rice dotted with pepita seeds, and chile-enhanced black beans. Chef Daniela is the creative heart behind the dishes using “original ingredients of the ancestral recipes…but better [website].”

Long favored as a go-to for special occasion dinners and sumptuous presentations, owner Tim Morris’ Epulo Bistro brings a bit of European, Mediterranean ooh-la-la to the Northwest. Originally set up at 526 Main Street since 2009, the restaurant moved over to Salish Crossing at 190 Sunset.

Epulo Bistro’s where you go for champagne, house-made burrata, prime filet of beef, and a piece of chocolate torte. Other house specials and entrees include boneless braised beef short ribs, Rigatoni Formaggio, Epulo’s famous petite lamb chops, and those heavenly, handmade Italian doughnuts, zeppole, with salted caramel and cinnamon sugar. Monday Night’s right for Prime Rib Dinner, too.

If you go to one place for high-class surf ‘n turf with the NW in mind, head directly to Salt & Iron on 321 Main St., downtown Edmonds. A part of the Shubert Ho/Andrew Leckie restaurant empire, Salt & Iron upgrades the standard meat, potato, and veg, with top-notch, modern, clever improvements and clean, sophisticated finishes. A petit filet draped over a potato-horseradish croquette with meaty broccolini, luxuriating on a bed of demi-glace…ahhh! Duck confit, beef bone marrow, scallop squid ink risotto, crispy octopus and Spanish chorizo, mussels and clams and black rice pilaf. Are we there yet?

Edmonds’ premier Japanese restaurant SanKai on 111 4th Ave. N. means mountain/sea. For you, that means exquisite omakase (“trust” in the chef’s choice) sushi, extensive, fresh seafood selections, sophisticated, clean, poetic bites, and beloved Seattle sushi master, Ryuichi Nakano (Kisaku) presiding over the fine details. 

Here, you’ll taste the traditional and the modern, nuanced with Northwest style — a fusion that slowly warms your soul, rather than shows off. California roll and Futomaki, Brussels sprout tempura, salmon Katsu, prawn & scallop gyoza, braised pork and daikon, toro and crunchy daikon kim chee in a crispy wonton shell, gochujang aioli on top, spicy Korean sashimi bowl.

Shubert Ho/Andrew Leckie brought Nakano-San up from Seattle to help open everyone’s favorite place for sushi done right, respectfully.

The food at Portofino Restaurant & Bar, 1306 Olympic View Drive, looks and tastes like a million dollars. The eclectic Italian/Greek menu ticks off all the boxes for foodies, gourmands, and social butterflies just wanting in on trendy, appetizing shareables. Portofino manages to be both lavish and down-home, with the variety of starters, mains, and sides, plus vegan and low-carb choices. Meatball sliders, feta fries with tzatziki sauce, pizza rolls, mozzarella sticks, Caprese and Greek salad, pear gorgonzola pasta, gnocchi, Chicken Marsala, wild salmon fettuccine, gyros, grinders, and calzones…Who’s hungry?

Swanky, yet comfy-casual, the family-owned FIVE Restaurant on 650 Edmonds Way regularly wows diners with an inviting, thoughtfully sourced menu of everyone’s favorites turned up several notches in a classy, down-home atmosphere. “There is intention when we create at FIVE. We have taken the time to source the perfect ingredients for our creations [website].” An outdoor patio feels like a vacation out in nature, with hanging vines, peekaboo wood-paneled fencing, and patio heaters. When you visit, you’re gonna wanna dig in, and linger. 

Notable dishes on the loaded menu include Croque Madame for brunch, shareable Penn Cove mussels & Manila clams and baked goat cheese covered in toasted pistachios, served with fig-kalamata olive tapenade, and crostini, an organic red beet and goat cheese salad, perhaps, and of course, pizza and pasta, their bread and butter. A lot of regulars swear by the tomato sauce, which they claim is the best they’ve ever tasted. 

The bi-level Loft Café + Courtyard makes the most of its modest, but mighty space on 515 Main St. The restaurant/social lounge will surprise you with what it’s got going on: live, happening music, craft cocktails/local wines, and a surprisingly fresh, compact New American menu fit for sit-down and takeout. 

Picture yourself out on the sun-dappled front patio, sampling truffle fries, calamari fritti, and stuffed mushrooms before a dinner of prime rib and Dungeness crab risotto. Or, maybe a prime rib filet, cedar-planked wild salmon, and fish & chips. Most definitely dessert, if there’s ricotta doughnuts. And, there is.

Girardi’s Osteria is more than a luxe Italian restaurant with rustic Italian fare on starched-white tablecloths and a waiting list most weekends. It’s the kind, patient server going out of his way to make you feel comfortable, welcome, and appreciated in the din of a packed house. It’s that fashionable, quaint little cottage house on 504 5th Ave. S. that became a family owned and operated community hub as far back as 1999, thanks to the osteria’s namesake, owner/executive chef Bruno Girardi, originally from Milan. (The Milani family took over recently, with Girardi protégé Armando Andrade as head chef.) It’s the jaw-dropping menu, designed to keep you coming back for more. Try the battered green bean fries, bacon-wrapped dates, Spaghetti Puttanesca, saffron cream sauce paella, pumpkin ravioli, and Veal Marsala with Linguini Alfredo.

Chanterelle is the kind of place you only dream about. The name alone evokes idyllic images of friends gathering at a favorite outdoor café gawking at the scenery, dining on the day’s harvests with a bottle of the house’s finest wine. Edmonds’ version, “sophisticated, eclectic, comforting and familiar,” isn’t that far off the mark. This restaurant on 316 Main St. comes closest to courses and pairings. But it’s also not so pretentious that you can’t just drop by for a leisurely lunch before hopping on the ferry, or heading off to your child’s soccer match. 

Feeling a little more luxurious? How about a piece of wild, grilled salmon, accompanied by roasted lemon chutney and fresh basil chiffonade, or New York Steak au Poivre in a brandy peppercorn demi-glace with your seasonal cocktail (Chanterelle Paloma, blueberry basil bourbon, blackberry thyme daiquiri)? Playing it casual? Then, the ahi sandwich with wasabi mayo, or a black bean burrito might do. 

Brunch here is a getaway in itself, featuring four glorious Benedicts, lighter breakfast bowls, bagel and lox, and those lemon ricotta pancakes, brightened with lemon Devonshire cream and berries. Breakfast/dinner specials include Langostino Benedict (told you), gremolata prime rib, braised short ribs in Cabernet sauce, and creamy Chanterelle sea bass.

Las Brisas is your one-stop oasis from the hustle and bustle of the everyday. Gorgeously opulent inside and out, the high-class modern Mexican restaurant is an experience rather than just a quick dash-and-go. The friendly, attentive staff ensures every diner is well taken care of. “Whether our guests are eating in the main dining room, enjoying a drink at the full-service bar, meeting new people at the open-seating table, or enjoying a party on the patio, we strive to make the Las Brisas' experience unforgettable by providing unmatched service to each and every guest,” according to the website. And, this is true, as attested by visitors who fast become regulars. You don’t eat here; you dine

The menu features locally-sourced, grain-finished, grass-fed beef from Painted Hills, antibiotic- and hormone-free beef and pork, organically-raised chicken, vegan options, and phenomenal Mexican cuisine, celebrated. Standouts: Diablo wings, Caldo de Mariscos (seafood broth), Macho Vegetarian Burrito, and churros with caramel sauce. The family restaurant opened in 2001, and moved to Old Milltown, 201 5th Ave. S., in 2012.

On Bistro 76’s breakfast and lunch menu, you can find soy ginger-marinated pork banh mi pita wraps, Cuban pork hash, yakisoba stir fry, fancy BLT with heirloom tomatoes and pesto aioli on Montana Wheat bread, pierogi, house-made buttermilk biscuits & gravy, smoked salmon toast, and a delightful new foodie find called rice fritters — a family favorite from Chef/Owner Briana Davis. Rice fritters are thin rice pancakes, doused in powdered sugar and raspberry jam. Davis grew up cooking rustic, Italian family recipes with her mom and grandma. She pours those happy days, love of family, and a diverse palate into the popular bistro she opened in 2016 in Perrinville (18401 76th Ave. W.). “Being a bistro has allowed us the unique opportunity to explore a variety of cuisines. As long it's cooked with passion and from the heart, you know you can't go wrong [website]." She also has a full-service catering company, Costa Davis Catering.

Bar Dojo’s no ordinary Asian-fusion/Chino-Latin restaurant. Located at 8404 Bowdoin Way/Five Corners, Bar Dojo’s the crowning glory of restaurateurs Shubert Ho and Andrew Leckie, the first to capture the hearts of local foodies and visitors passing through, jonesing for rapturous umami blends in fetching packages. Just scroll their IG. In no time, you’ll be right over, picking up seafood boils, prime rib spreads, and assorted odds and ends of a crazy-delicious, cross-cultural mixed plate. Chef de Cuisine Luis Brambila makes everything ridiculously appetizing and almost too ravishing to eat. Best picks: pork and chive dumplings, Furikake fries, ahi poke nachos, egg noodle veggie stir fry, and coconut red curry rice noodles. Oh, and the Mexican/Japanese masterpiece, birria ramen.

See? NW casual, fine dining destination restaurants in Edmonds really are something special, ahead of their time and ready to make your day, push global boundaries, and shake up the culinary world with delicious, gorgeous, ethnically-rich cuisines.