There was a time when Leavenworth's dining options could be summed up in two words: Beer, and brats.
Spring forward to today, and you have some new fine dining options. Two different places with one thing in common, they both bring the outdoors -- in.
Husband and wife team Colin Patterson and Amber Tande make culinary magic at Mana -- before that, they ran Sutra in Wallingford -- a now-shuttered vegetarian restaurant often listed among Seattle's best.
But they left the city -- for a place where they felt they could be their best.
"We just wanted to have proximity to nature and community, so we picked Leavenworth," explained Colin.
Now they forage as a family -- and what they find occasionally makes it onto the menu.
Mana does one seating a night, there are eight courses -- and the bounty of this place is on every plate. Colin explained he likes to keep it wild, yet refined, and constantly asks himself this question:
"How can we bring the wildness and still have a really really lovely, elegant meal?"
Amber specializes in drinks crafted from flowers and herbs:
"So we have an eight-course nonalcoholic pairing there's also a lot lighter on the belly," she said.
When we visited, an asparagus mushroom cake, stinging nettle souffle with smoked mushrooms, and salmon sizzled on its plate with hot oil were among Mana's offerings.
Chris Petry, the owner of Oh Yeah Farms says, "It's the best display of what we do as farmers on a plate."
Just a few blocks away, Watershed is another restaurant bringing the outdoors in. This deck is a major draw --even for chef/co-owner Dan Fiske.
“Honestly the view out there, we walk out every day you look up there the at the Enchantments," said Fiske.
On the constantly changing menu tonight: Locally raised pork chops with Yakima apple slaw, chicken breast with bread pudding, and wild salmon on a bed of forbidden rice. The servings are humongous.
“We have a lot of outdoor people working up an appetite. We're here to let them unwind and fill up," said Fiske.
Watershed's decor also brings the outside inside: locally made skis and snowboards hang on the walls, and tables are topped with pinecones and river rocks in the bar.
Leavenworth was selected Best Tiny Town by the voters of the Pacific Northwest in the 2017 Best Northwest Escapes viewers poll.
221 8th Street, Leavenworth WA 98826
1033 commercial St. Leavenworth, WA 98826