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“Second visit, different experience though mostly good”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Cafe Juanita

Cafe Juanita
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Ranked #3 of 266 Restaurants in Kirkland
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $41 - $80
Cuisines: Italian, Contemporary
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions, Local cuisine, Business meetings
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Full Bar, Parking Available, Private Dining, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Dining style: Fine Dining
Level Contributor
104 reviews
68 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Second visit, different experience though mostly good”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 14, 2013

I reviewed Cafe Juanita several months ago after our first visit. We only ordered entrees that time but decided to go all out this time around. Skipped lunch to make sure we had an appetite for multiple courses.

We had reservations for 10/11/13 - were seated promptly. Table was in the middle of the room so we asked for and were given a table along the wall.

Order the octopus and procuitto/melon appetizers. The procuitto/melon was good. BF said the octopus was ok - it was heavy and flavorless so he wouldn't order it again.

We next ordered the small goat cheese gnocchi w/ beef heart dish to share. The gnocchi was excellent though the portion was tiny. Would order the large one next time. BF ate the beef heart and said it was good.

For entrees we ordered the Wagu strip steak and lamb. BF loved the lamb and the portion was decent. The Wagu came with carrot puree and grilled endive. I'm not a fan of grilled lettuce so asked for a substitute. Was brought the equivalent of about 3 small mushrooms as a side - along with about 3-4 oz of steak - that's it. So, since I don't eat mushrooms either I only ate the small steak portion - for $45. Was disappointed in the lack of effort to substitute something more substantial (I had asked for the chickpea gnocchi). I was still pretty hungry after eating the entree - which is rare. Also, based on diners around me, the entrees (lamb, duck, rabbit, fish) all seemed to be quite a bit more substantial than the steak entree - not sure why.

For dessert we ordered the nectarine sorbeto and panna cotta. Both were excellent, though not usually a nectarine fan. The sorbetto was smooth and refreshing and 2 small scoops was plenty. The panna cotta was like eating vanilla air and the honey with it was excellent.

For drinks, Bf had 2 glasses of wine and I had 1 pop. Took us about 2.5 hrs total as well, so plan plenty of time if planning multiple courses.

Total bill was $190 plus tip which was okay since we were expecting it. Overall, we'll go back again but for picky eaters it's a challenge. They are definately willing to omit ingredients if they can but don't expect that you'll actually get a substitute. Call ahead to see what they can offer - that's what I'll be doing next time.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank amendoz1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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241 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
301 reviews
195 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 185 helpful votes
“Still My Favorite After All These Years”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 12, 2013

We've been coming to Cafe Juanita for my birthday for years. It never disappoints. The evening starts with a selection of in-house breads and crackers--today there were thin crackers with kalamata olives pressed between the two thin, delectable layers, parmesan crisps, rosemary bread,and a white bread. Delicious--we got two servings! The fresh porcinis, simply done, both cooked and raw, were superb. An assortment of beets on marcona almond butter were the best beets I've ever had. My partner was thrilled with his goat cheese gnocchi with--of all things--thin slices of beef heart. Yummy. I had the Ligurian silk handkerchief-a thin layer of pasta with sage leaves folded in atop a bed of sunchokes in parmesan broth with a perfectly cooked egg. A very rich but wonderful dish! We weren't too hungry so we skipped entrees. The only glitch came at dessert time when my chocolate crostata with luscious huckleberry sorbet (reminding me how much better huckleberries are than blueberries) arrived first, but my husband's chocolate and fig gelato and our after dinner beverages did not arrive until much later. The waiter apologized profusely and gave us our beverages and the gelato gratis without our complaining about the delay. I know the restaurant was serving a large party downstairs, so perhaps the kitchen's timing was a little off that night. Otherwise a perfect night. I'll be back again same time next year (and probably even before then).

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank paokano
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scranton, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
49 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 3, 2013

This place looks pretty unassuming, but inside it is warm and inviting, with delicious food and wonderful service. Great wine list too.

Visited September 2013
Thank marykatec1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kirkland, Washington
Level Contributor
235 reviews
104 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 151 helpful votes
“Chef Holly Smith puts pride and care into every bite”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 7, 2013

The unassuming exterior of Café Juanita makes the inside even more spectacular. This is not a place that is all fluff and no substance - the food and every bite is superb. Friendly, attentive and comfortable staff in warm environment working as if you were their best friend. Each plate is lovingly tended to before coming to your table. This isn't only my favorite of the Eastside, but of the West Coast.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank mcclungp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, BC
Level Contributor
109 reviews
50 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
“Sublime food in a lovely setting”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 4, 2013

The setting is nothing to write home about but the food. Oh my God, the food. The foie gras with grilled peaches and cocoa nibs. I can still taste it. Burrata and grilled peaches; a taste of my wife's. Excellent. A squid in risotto with octopus. Yes.
Curiously the main courses were great but did not match up to the entrées (appetizers to Americans). My wife and I had ribbon egg pasta with fresh in season chanterelles. Wonderful because of the freshness of the ingredients. My daughter had a risotto with balsamic vinegar sauteed cherry tomatoes. Wonderful, wonderful flavours. My son had a pasta with a bolognese sauce which again was a classic of its type.
We overdid bread which is remarkable in tis own right and had a crema inglés dessert with a brittle side dessert with blueberries and other fruit. Sublime
Service was very good and attentive and server knew her stuff. Extra marks because she didn't tell us her name and that she would be our server.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank wgr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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