Love is in the Air: Date night in the Highlands
By Kathryn Dean, Vista Park
When my husband and I first moved to the neighborhood in 2006, our date options were limited. In fact, a coffee date at Ladro was about the only option. Soon Sip and Agave were completed, and eventually Zeeks pizza moved in. Then with the completion of Grand Ridge plaza, date night was changed forever.
This planned urban village now has plenty of shops and restaurants within walking distance. And we do take advantage of them. On the occasional afternoon that Paul is working from home, we’ll take a walking date down to the Ram for happy hour. Or if we would rather have a movie night, we’ll stop for dinner at Big Fish or Agave before the movie. For anniversaries and other special occasions, we often find ourselves at Sip. But for ladies night out or trivia, it’s almost always Zeeks.
Fine Dining: Sip restaurant and wine bar is a wine-lover’s destination. With a fireplace, multiple seating styles and a full bar, Sip has the perfect ambiance for a romantic night out. From Feb. 12-14, the restaurant offers a special five-course set menu with optional wine pairings. On Valentine’s Day, the five-course menu will be the main attraction. (Reservations strongly recommended. Regular dinner menus will not be available Feb. 14.)
Casual Fine Dining: Big Fish Grill offers the best of surf and turf in a slightly more casual ambiance. Big Fish is your seafood destination, but with a full bar and a variety of options on the menu, it will appeal to many tastes. For Valentine’s dining, look for a new steak option and special surf and turf plate on the menu.
Bai Tong (a family favorite) offers authentic Thai cuisine in a colorful, comfortable atmosphere. For a real treat, mimic the traditional floor dining by sitting in one of the sunken booths supported by colorful pillows. Or sit in the chic bar area with an amazing three dimensional map of Bangkok on the back wall.
Casual Dining: We have so many wonderful options, this category requires sub-categories:
Sushi: Chinoise Sushi Bar & Asian Grill offers Pan Asian cuisine in a light, contemporary décor with a sushi bar and full bar offering Asian inspired specialty drinks. Oysters on the half shell will be a Valentine’s delicacy.
Aji Sushi and Grill offers fine Japanese Cuisine. This restaurant appears to be casual, but the dining experience feels like anything but. From the table settings to the attention of the chef, who brought us off-menu options to try, this restaurant earns date-night approval.
Mexican: Agave has been a neighborhood staple since 2006, originally opened under the name, Marcela’s. Winner of 2015 best of Issaquah and Sammamish, Agave boasts an extensive tequila menu and fine Mexican cuisine. They do have limited first come, first served seating, so you might have a wait on busy nights.
Sports Bar: The Ram is a popular Highlands destination for the casual date, the burger and beer lover, and those who don’t want to miss the big game. Often full on weekend nights, but they offer call-ahead seating.
Pizza: Zeeks offers a full bar and casual atmosphere plus amazing pizzas with creative names such as Tree hugger, Texas Leaguer and Jimmi the Greek. Zeeks feels like the “Cheers” of the Highlands, possibly because the frequently-present owner, Mark Mullet, lives in the Highlands, and the bartender, Jeremy, has been there as long as I can remember. You will nearly always find somebody there who knows your name.
We have other great casual options for dining such as MOD, Jimmy Johns, or Subway – popular with teenagers and those looking for something quick and casual.
You can enjoy a complete romantic date night, including a movie, right here in our own backyard.