It's no secret that the PNW is a highly-traveled area (say it with us: West Coast is the BEST coast!). But people don't just come here for the scenic waterfront, incredible hiking, or bursting art scene—they come for the food. We're talking fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, wine that puts Italian vineyards to shame, and restaurants that make you feel at home. All of that and more can be found at Kirkland's own Café Juanita, which was the only new restaurant added to the most recent AAA Four Diamond Award List.
For more than 80 years, AAA has conducted professional, unannounced, in-person property inspections and published the results for member travelers. Establishments that meet the requirements to be AAA Inspected & Approved are assigned a rating of One to Five Diamonds. According to AAA, the Diamond Ratings for restaurants "represent a combination of the overall food, service, de?cor, and ambiance offered by the establishment. The descriptive ratings are assigned exclusively to establishments that meet and uphold AAA's rigorous approval standards."
- A Five Diamond restaurant provides leading-edge cuisine of the finest ingredients, uniquely prepared by an acclaimed chef, served by expert service staff led by a mai?tre d' in extraordinary surroundings.
- A Four Diamond restaurant provides distinctive fine dining, creatively prepared, skillfully served, often by a wine steward, amid upscale ambiance.
- A Three Diamond restaurant provides trendy cuisine, skillfully prepared and served, with expanded beverage options, in an enhanced setting.
- A Two Diamond restaurant provides familiar food, often cooked to order, served in casual surroundings.
- A One Diamond restaurant provides simple, economical food, often quick-serve, in a functional environment.
So, what is it that makes Café Juanita so unique? "It's the overall, consistent level of quality, flavors, and presentation of foods served in a refined environment with an excellent trained, knowledgeable, and accommodating staff," says AAA Inspector #31.
All AAA Diamond Rated restaurants receive unannounced and anonymous dining visits where AAA actually dines and evaluate multiple courses of the food (including quality, preparation, presentation, and taste), service (reservations, arrival, seating, dining, and departure) and decor (exterior, interior, and bathrooms).
While some restaurants may have significant strengths in one or two of these three categories, Café Juanita earned a Four Diamond score in all three areas! Of all the restaurants that are AAA Diamond Rated, only about 2 percent are awarded the Four Diamond rating. It's a very small and exclusive group.