Kingfisher Restaurant: unusual, stellar dining

We are always up for an unusual dining experience.  We love sushi when there’s the chef’s choice or ordering “catch of the day”.  Um, what’s it gonna be?  We also love when the dining style is totally unexpected.  Example:  you’re seated for fine dining and discover that it’s a buffet style dining room with really incredible dishes.  That’s what we found at the Kingfisher Restaurant at the Sleeping Lady Resort.  The Kingfisher Restaurant is set up to have sides and salads at your discretion, and then entrees served by chef staff.  It’s an odd situation at first, but totally works and is actually an awesome dining experience.  Here’s why the Kingfisher Restaurant at the Sleeping Lady was so great:


First Impressions of Kingfisher Restaurant

kingfisher restaurant pinOur meals in the Kingfisher Restaurant were stellar.  On our first visit we were sat by the grand stone fireplace, which was perfect because we’d just come in from strolling the grounds of the Sleeping Lady… in the snow.  We were freezing and in great need of direct heat and good food.  Our server explained the layout of the dining room and how to proceed.  He presented us with a thorough wine list (with lots of local options) and then set us free.

We had to take a second to process how dinner was going to work because we were a bit caught off guard.  Being the travel bloggers that we are, we had attempted to research the menu ahead of time, but were confused by the wording and the vague offerings posted online.  It now all made sense to us.  Well, kind of.  The only way to hammer it down and not feel like we were in a weird Vegas style banquet hall was just to go explore and start trying stuff.  And it was awesome.


Side and Salad Bar in Kingfisher Restaurant at Sleeping Lady Resort Leavenworth WA 3First Course Station – personally, I always chuckle when I’m asked about salad before the entree at dinner.  Two reasons for this:  

1.)  I want dinner, not greens

2.)  shouldn’t roughage follow a meal to help with digestion?  

Anyways, being good sports we went and made ourselves some salads.  The options were really well thought out:  mixed herbal greens or crisp lettuces, wild mushrooms, edamame, creamy balsamic
cheeses, or prepared salads, tossed or grain blends.  Really the “salad bar”, if I have to call it that, was high quality ingredients strategically placed to get you excited and interested in dinner.  Instead of offering appetizers, there’s the salad station which gets your own culinary juices sparked up.  Well played, Kingfisher Restaurant.  Well played.

Buffet at Kingfisher Dining Room at Sleeping Lady Resort Leavenworth WA 2Entree Service
– we say “service” as it was plated for us.  There was a tiny queue to stand in while those in front of us were plated, which gave us a chance to see what was being offered for entrees.  The Kingfisher Restaurant knows that they’ve got diverse guests with a variety of dietary requirements and tastes and it showed.  Each night there were very different options for fish, red meat and vegetarian choices.  And they were interesting (see below).  

Tip:  it’s okay to direct the plating so you don’t get more than what you want… or so that your OCD tendencies don’t go wild when your food touches.


Red Velvet Cake in Kingfisher Restaurant at Sleeping Lady Resort Leavenworth WA 2Dessert Indulgence – one never NEEDS dessert, but if you’re given the option of several unusual treats that you know you’ll not get at home or in a regular dining experience, you should try a little of something.  And if there is a type of red velvet bunt cake, well, that just goes with red wine of any sort and you should do the wine a favor by having a little.  But to be serious for a moment, the small portions and variety of desserts was perfect for finishing off a meal.

And now for the highlights of what we ate…



Halibut – it’s always a treat to have halibut because I always forget it exists.  The Kingfisher Restaurant prepared their version brilliantly with a fennel/blood orange/Meyer lemon fondue drizzled over it.  Why isn’t every food every day served like that?  It should be.  This brilliance was accompanied by a Brussels sprout and root vegetable bake that packed a hidden kick to it.  Really tasty.  Oh, and there was a russet potato/roasted garlic/Gruyere gratin too.  And it was amazing.

King Salmon – stereotypes exist for a reason.  My favorite stereotype about people in Washington State is that we always are eating salmon.  Know what?  We are.  And we never get sick of it.  Salmon itself has a very strong flavor, so when it’s served with a sauce, it’s important that it can hold its own against the fish.  Enter the leek/pineapple/pink peppercorn chutney.  Again the Kingfisher Restaurant presented us with a sauce equal to the task of complimenting a beautiful piece of fish.

Flat Iron Steak – I don’t do steak typically, but Chris does.  He really enjoyed the flat iron steak and complimented its perfect cooking, which was surprising as it was a part of the buffet style service.  I loved the red onion jam it was served with and actually put a bit of it on my salmon.

Rainbow Quinoa – we don’t typically buy quinoa to cook at home and avoid it in restaurants due to its political charge (contrived or real, who knows).  I dug into here though, as it was already prepared and I wanted to give it a whirl.  Wow.  What made this presentation and flavor so great was the sofrito that dressed it.  I looooooove sofrito and think it really needs to cross over into more styles of cooking than just Puerto Rican.  What set this combo apart though was having kalamata olives in the mix.  It was a very well thought and unusual vegetarian dish.  I loved it.

Black Eyed Peas – it’s totally not New Years anymore, but that’s okay.  Kingfisher Restaurant served them up with some greens (of course) and coconut.  Coconut?  Yep.  It was good and was a great starter soup when we’d just come in from the cold.



Chorizo Eggs – you can never go wrong with chorizo.  At least I don’t think you can.  Kingfisher Restaurant’s chorizo had a really delayed spice in comparison to most chorizos I’ve enjoyed before.  It was good and made for a filling dish.

Tomato Avocado Salad – it’s so nice to start the day with something fresh and clean, like a bowl of fruit or lemon water or something.  How’s about we start with a cool tomato and avocado salad and then have normal breakfast foods on the side?  That’s the approach I took.  While Chris opted for the chorizo and some nice breads, this hit the spot for me.

Salmon Lox – again with the stereotype:  us PNW folks love our salmon in any form at any time of day.  What made the Kingfisher’s lox worth mentioning?  They were perfectly smoked, not too thick/thin, and they were presented with the appropriate accouterments.



Citron Posset – do you want me to write a treatise on how much I love pudding in any form?  Okay, I won’t do it today, but I could.  And the citron posset would be the first thing I mention, quickly followed by this amazing lavender and vanilla bean panna cotta I used to get in Seattle.  Anyways, the posset had the perfect creamy texture that we want from a pudding creme, but it also was exceptionally delicate, meaning that when it hit the tongue, it completely collapsed and was nothing but vibrant citrus creaminess.  I know, that was not eloquently stated at all, but it’s tough to describe something so good.

Cafe Mousse – another wonderful creation.  I have less to say because it’s more of a standard to find.  This mousse had the perfect body and wasn’t overwhelming in flavor.  The sweetness was very mild, but not bitter.  Again, it was perfect.


As in any restaurant, you have items that really stand out.  The Kingfisher Restaurant had many, and thanks to the unusual dining style, we got to try them all!  If you’re going to Leavenworth, Washington, the Sleeping Lady Resort is really a top notch place to stay.  From the cozy cabins to the warm and unusual dining, it’s not going to disappoint.  The welcomed us in for an amazing weekend of great food and relaxation and now we cannot wait to return.


  • Renne Simpson

    “vibrant citrus creaminess” – well when you put it that way…who wouldn’t want to try this?? At first I had no idea what a “Citron Posset” was, so thank you for explaining it. It sounds amazing. And I also lol’ed at “I want dinner, not greens.” YES! Lol!

    February 8, 2016 at 7:10 pm
  • Voyager

    This is real indulgence for the taste buds, pampering for the palate and a feast for the senses 🙂

    February 8, 2016 at 10:07 pm
  • Marta

    I might ask to become a honorary citizen of Washington State as I love salmon! This sounds like a really cool place and isn’t it great when our travel blogger preparedness gets caught by surprise?

    February 9, 2016 at 3:57 am
  • Ajay Sood

    Hmmm… I just ate but got hungry reading this! Great job with menu-ese and images!

    February 9, 2016 at 5:00 am
  • Stéphanie Langlet

    OMG, how could you survive so much food ? Ah ah, let’s say after a good hiking in a frozen land, you really deserved it ! These red cakes are really strange…

    February 9, 2016 at 6:51 am
    • 2TD-Rob
      Rob Taylor

      Trying things in small portions is the key. We learned very quickly to ask for small portions after being served a grand amount of food. Oh, America. The red cake was wonderful though: very moist and flavorful.

      February 9, 2016 at 6:57 am
  • Kevin Wagar

    I love the unique serving arrangement. It’s always a blast when a restaurant changes up the norm and throws you off your game a little bit. The food looks amazing!

    February 9, 2016 at 12:52 pm
  • nonsoloamore

    Wow, this looks all so delicious!! I really like Halibut but I never tried it with fennel and blood orange.

    February 9, 2016 at 1:14 pm
  • Menorca

    Funny that you mention having the roughage after the dinner.because a couple of my friends actually do that!each time! But besides that, all the food sounds amazing and I’d love to have the Cafe Mousse:)Longing for dessert right now!

    February 9, 2016 at 2:21 pm
  • melody pittman

    Great selection! I am one of those foodie weirdoes who likes the salads best, soups next, and then anything else, desserts not much at all. I would really love to try this brunch buffet, yummy stuff there. 😉

    February 9, 2016 at 7:37 pm
  • Carlie

    I’ve never had posset! I’m intrigued now 🙂 Thanks for sharing about this beautiful resort and your experiences there and at the restaurant. I’m always looking for places to visit on the West Coast, and this sounds like my kinda meal and place!

    February 9, 2016 at 8:53 pm
    • 2td-admin

      It’s worth a jaunt northward to invest a day or two and experience the eastern side of Washington. It’s very different…and awesome.

      February 10, 2016 at 5:26 am
  • Ami

    You’ve got me sold to the salads and the desserts. I don’t mind skipping the main course 😀

    February 9, 2016 at 9:07 pm
  • Allison (

    The Salmon and Cafe Mousse sound amazing! Actually, it all looks very good. I wish we had a restaurant like this closer to our home.

    February 10, 2016 at 6:38 am
  • Jessica

    Oh Salmon, how I miss thee. Normally I don’t mind a predominantly veg existence in India but once in awhile I pang for something like this.

    I would’ve definitely been thrown off by this set up. I love a good sit down restaurant where I have a menu to peruse to my heart’s content and don’t have the pressure to stand in a line and pick on the stop.

    February 10, 2016 at 7:20 pm
    • Rob Taylor

      Yes, I can imagine that a little Western cuisine sounds good every now and then. And yes, the setup is weird at first but then flows perfectly, and there really isn’t any pressure to try things you don’t want to 🙂

      February 11, 2016 at 5:19 am
  • Sally from Passport & Plates

    Reading this before eating was such a bad idea! Your photos are absolutely drool-worthy. You had me sold with the resort review but this is icing on the cake!

    February 13, 2016 at 11:03 am
  • Sabine

    This is my type of restaurant, original tasty food, creative and people have thought about it. That’s how I like it best. And it seems like the selection and variation of dishes was great as well.

    February 15, 2016 at 10:07 am
  • Erin Klema | The Epicurean Traveler

    The setup you describe does seem unique, but I think I’d enjoy having a mix of sides or the ability to craft my own ideal salad to pair with what sounds like delicious fish entrees. I’d be all about that salmon. Maybe I need to live in the PNW!

    February 15, 2016 at 11:52 am
  • Elizabeth @ Compass & Fork

    This place sounds really good! But I hate places like this- I always eat too much! 🙂

    February 16, 2016 at 2:19 am
  • My Alwar

    My mouth is watering seriously, the food really looks delicious !! Red velvet bunt cake seems very yummy…

    February 27, 2016 at 4:59 am

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