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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Upmarket restaurant

Tue–Sat 5:00pm–10:00pm
Sun 5:00pm–9:00pm

Features Date-friendly, good wines, veg-friendly
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Essential


9702 NE 120th Pl.
Kirkland, WA
(425) 823-1505
Café Juanita
Some of the best Italian-inspired, locally-sourced cooking, in a genteel house

If you’re going to haul your cookies to the Eastside for one meal, you should come here. The menu is a mix of the pride of the Northwest (Oregon lamb, Washington-raised rabbit, and mussels from British Columbia) and Italy (lardo, Umbrian lentils, Barbera risotto). This might all come together like so: local squab with miner’s lettuce, veal sweetbreads, and Moscato foie gras pan sauce. Pastas are homemade, as are gelati in unusual flavors like fennel seed and honeycomb.

At the risk of sounding like we’re writing a personal ad, the kitchen also has a way with organ meats, tails, and trotters. And Café Juanita has one of the region’s most extensive wine lists: great Italian wines and the best of the Northwest big hitters are represented, with tons of gems at every price point.

The converted house doesn’t look very promising from the outside, and the dining room, although appropriately elegant, is not transportive in any particular way. But with soft music accompanying the gentle chatter of delighted guests of all ages; gracious, professional service; and sink-in-and-stay-awhile gray leather bench seating, Café Juanita creates just the refined, ethereal vibe you expect when you’re spending so much money.

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