4645 E Pacific Coast Highway
Long Beach, California
The Hawaiian invites you to enjoy an Hawaiian Holiday of Fine Food, Tropical Drink, and Good Hospitality.
Postcard from The Jab’s collection.
One of the most beautiful modernist restaurants in the country, Canlis still retains many features from its original late 40s design by architectural firms Wimberly & Cook and
Tucker, Shields & Terry for restaurateur Peter Canlis (who had previously opened the Canlis’ Charcoal Broiler in Waikiki, Hawaii, in 1947). Opened in 1950, Canlis’ Charcoal Broiler (now just Canlis) in Seattle was the ultimate in swank, with a soaring roofline, rock walls, and a porte-cochère, de rigueur in the 1950s for arriving in style in your Cadillac.
At one time there was even a small illuminated tiki to greet you as you drove up, and other tikis in the restaurant and on the grounds.
In the 1950s Canlis featured an open kitchen, charcoal broiled steaks, mahi-mahi flown in from Hawaii, and fresh local oysters served by Kimono-wearing Japanese waitresses in a dining room filled with rock walls, an open beamed ceiling and massive plate-glass windows overlooking Lake Union.
In the late 1990s I visited Canlis. Although I was impressed by the building, the contemporary decor from a 1996 remodel didn’t go well with the modern design of the building. We were on a budget which didn’t allow for dining there (it was perhaps the most expensive restaurant in Seattle), so we just had a cocktail in the lounge and vowed to return another time for dinner. Alas, it was before digital cameras so I don’t have pictures. The good news is that a few years later they remodeled again and the redesign is much more appropriate for the space. The decor is simple, highlighting the incredible rock walls, wooden beams, and expansive windows. They honor the amazing building by showcasing a vintage photo and a recent one on the restaurant’s web site. It’s still owned by the Canlis family, who seem to really care about their history, food, service, and customers. Reports are that the food (Pacific Northwest cuisine) is better than ever, though still very expensive, so save your money for a special night out “old style” when you are visiting Seattle. Oh, be warned: there is a dress code. Gents, wear a jacket (but why not wear a suit and tie?); ladies, wear a dress. Personally, I love that they still have a dress code.
2576 Aurora Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98109
Open for dinner only, Mon – Fri, 5:30pm – close, Sat 5:00pm – close, closed Sundays
What happened to all the cafeterias? I used to eat at the Biscayne Miracle Mile Cafeteria in Coral Gables on every trip to Florida, but sadly it closed about five years ago. The only one I’m aware of in California is Clifton’s in Los Angeles, which is now closed for refurbishing. In the San Francisco Bay Area there are several old hofbraus, but no cafeterias left (that I know about).
The Crown Room closed around 1999, but it is open on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Eve, and Mother’s Day, and for private functions.
Currently the only view restaurants with regular hours left in San Francisco are The Top Of The Mark atop the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel (designed by local art deco architect Timothy Pflueger in 1939), Harry Denton’s Starlight Room atop the Sir Francis Drake Hotel (redecorated in 2011), and The View atop the Marriott Marquis Hotel.
Canlis’ Charcoal Broiler – Portland, Oregon
Epicurean dining at one the world’s most beautiful restaurants and lounges…with a sweeping vie of the city from Oregon’s tallest building.
Canlis’…also in Seattle and Honolulu
This Portland location is closed, but the Seattle restaurant is still open! Although remodeled in 1984, 1996, and in 2005, it retains its large picture windows and rock walls. A beautiful and elegant restaurant with excellent food (by all reports – I have yet to dine there).
2576 Aurora Avenue North, Seattle, Washington 98109
Open Mon-Fri 5:30-close, Saturdays 5:00-close, closed Sundays
Attire is dressy. Men should wear a suit or sport coat.