best cocktails in town & best winelist.
I've lived in Ballard for many years and have eaten next door at Le Gourmand many times, but I'd never been to Sambar.
I was looking at Le Gourmand's website and came across Sambar's - sambarseattle dot com - and decided to go after reading about the cocktails. They were amazing - I had a gingerini, which is basically a ginger martini - fantastic. My friend had a Saguaro which had tequila and hibiscus flower and some spicy pepper, and it was great, too. I had one as well since I liked it so much, and she had another one with rose essence, I think.
So good - very good soup and the frites are to die for!
I beg to differ!. This bar is special. It is unfortunate that someone here had such bad luck to catch the folks at Sambar on an off night, which could happen anywhere, and then never give them a second chance. But I have to admit, its ok, because this place can only remain a hidden gem for so long and has been uncomfortably full lately. Sambar is for a certain type of connoisseur, a francophile foodie. It is like a Parisian jewel box in bloom. It has the power to seduce and does, enveloping every sense. I have, on several occasions, shut the place down, floating out the door filled with a hum of pleasure and delight. It is actually not that expensive but beware, once the drinks start flowing your judgement weakens and things start to add up. But it is so worth it I would name my first born "Sambar" (which is funny considering the bar is named after the owners' child, Sam--mine would be named Sambar). I think the main bartender deserves an honorable mention here. Jay is an absolute professional and perfectionist. He has travelled the world drinking and eating the best of the best, is passionate about what he does, is inventive and treats each person like a VIP. This has been my experience. So if you don't like beautiful servers (did I mention that:), a charming multi lingual and talented bartender, and a boutique bar worthy of Parisian sophistication, don't go to Sambar!
Thank you so much for your kind review. We're flattered and humbled by your perspective. We try hard in every aspect mentioned so thank you kindly for your observations - it is much appreciated.
One of Seattle's Best Bars.
Classy. Sophisticated. Fun. Hidden. Comfortable. Exciting. These are a few of the terms that come to mind. Sambar in Ballard resembles a sweet little find you might find in New York or San Francisco's Marina District. The best drinks in town. Those of us in the restaurant industry know - Sambar is the type of place where you can put your hands in the air and just say "make me a gin drink" w/ no other specifications, and you'll get some of the best cocktails in the city made for you, one after another. The food is good. A little small but fine for bar food. Much higher quality than 'bar food' as well. Summer / Spring / warm fall nights you can sit outside which is always fun.
Easily one of the best bars in Seattle
Thank you for the great quote: "'make me a gin drink' w/ no other specifications, and you'll get some of the best cocktails in the city made for you, one after another." That is great. We really appreciate it. Cheers - Sambar staff
Don't Bother!. While the small cozy atmosphere could be charming - all is lost from your first interaction with the wait staff. Last time I checked and was a paying customer they were not doing me a favor by just let say acknowledging my presence. We were the only clients in the bar and getting a drink truly was a act from a higher power. We had friends join us shortly after we arrived and not a single drink came out at the same time - strange. We waited 15 minutes just for a glass of wine and we asked our server if it might be coming soon the response was curt and rude - when the bar tender can get to it - seriously!? It takes like 20 seconds and at this time there were maybe 10 people in the bar. I had heard such great things but one visit was enough to turn me off for ever! My friends and I eat out several times a week at wonderful places and usually tip well above 20% - they would have to pay me and well to go back!
All of us at Sambar truly apologize for the slow service you experienced. We?re certainly not perfect but we do strive to provide the best service, night in and night out. Sometimes drinks come slower as we utilize only the freshest ingredients, using our own mixes, herbs and concoctions developed in house and on premise particular to each drink. Our bartenders are consummate professionals and make, truly, some of the best cocktails we?ve ever experienced. Of course we are a bit biased, but it is our hope that our guests have the same experience. Again, we apologize for the experience and hope you come back in ? if you do, please introduce yourself and we?ll see what we can do to make it up to you.
Best regards ? Sarah and Bruce Naftaly ? owners Sambar
Beautiful cocktails, frites and garden. A small, enchanting garden offers a great outdoor seating opportunity. Steak Frites were perfect. Lots of inventive and nuanced cocktails to choose from. I felt like I was in a Parisian neighborhood gem. Everything I had heard/read about snooty service or no place to sit was completely wrong. The servers and bartender were polite and charming (if a little eager on the plate clearing). Will go back again!
This place is not woth checking out.
Worst service I've ever encountered in Seattle and I do my best to frequent every hot or charmin gspot. What little I had of the food was good, but it took upwards of 45 minutes to get out drinks even though the place wasn't busy.
The picture and atmosphere is much cuter on the website than the actual spot. The wait staff seems almost asleep--boring, unfriendly. Not rude exactly, but dispassionate folks. I sure hope they're not going for the idea of French snootiness since they're part of le Goumand Resaurant, since I've been to France/Paris many times and the service everywhere is spectacular. The mojo of the people working there is a downer. The food isn't good enough here to outweigh the lame experience.
Rude and pretentious. I had heard great things about the drinks at Sambar for quite awhile and I was really excited to go there with a few girlfriends for a relaxing Saturday evening. We arrived at about 9:15 and discovered that we would have to wait, which was no problem for us. After we told the server that we could wait for a table that was just paying, she rudely said, "Yeah, I'm gonna need to see all IDs." We are used to being carded because we are young-looking (25 to be exact), but the way she asked it was demanding and she repeatedly looked us up and down. There was not a clearly defined area to wait so we were trying to stay out of the way of the servers, who would basically just push through us. We are not stupid and we quickly got the hint that they did not want us there so we just left. I would half-expect this kind of treatment if we were dressed inappropriately and if we were rude, which was not at all the case. Don't go unless you are 40+ and are wearing khakis.
bad service. i wait to get a service for more than half on hour , i was really upset, i went other day and the service was much better
Drinks, Atmosphere & Bartenders are Amazing. The servers have attitude and the owners don't care.. In response to Mandg's input; First and foremost let me say my husband and I were dedicated weekly patrons for over 3 years and I still think this is the best bar in the city for drinks and atmosphere. Service was always exceptional until about 1 1/2 years ago when Ester moved to the restaurant Le Gourmand . I was also there that night because it was my surprise party that was so loud. This was my favorite bar and most of the guests there have been on and off for many years. The bill was NOT suppose to be split 9 ways but the last couple who arrived needed to leave right away because she was pregnant (not drinking alcohol) and suddenly felt like she was sick. The waitress who is notorious for bad service, had been fantastic the entire evening until then and completely flipped. A simple "it is not our policy to split checks on large parties" would have been sufficient, but instead she went inside, made up checks for everyone and basically threw us out. The bartender was horrified and told me to return to talk to him directly on another night. Everyone tipped the bartender the 25% of the entire bill that would have gone to the waitress. The 2nd large party that was waiting was seated as she was pulling chairs and lifting them over our heads and when one of them commented that she like the waitress earrings, she pulled them out of her ear and threw them on the table in front of her. Overall this waitress is generally bad tempered and the other one is beautiful with an air of "I'm too good to be serving you", but wil in her own time. The owners are secure that if they loose dedicated clientel there is always enough money in this city that someone else will take their place. We are now back at Cafe Lago in Montlake, where the food and drinks are amazing, and the service is always friendly!
HORRIBLE SERVICE! Not rude...just dumb!.
I have been in the service industry for 8 years and consider myself to be pretty reasonable and understanding when it comes to bad service, however this one takes the cake...
My boyfriend and I went there yesterday about 20 mintues after they opened and sat down at one of the tall uncomfortable bar tables. After sitting for a minute that waitress came over with menus took our drink order and came back a bit later to ask if we want something to eat. We ordered the ham and cheese mini-sandwiches (by the way they LOOKED amazing) then she walks over to the 4 ladies sitting right next to us and tells them all about that evenings specials, changes on the menu and what they were out of and took their order ad offered more drinks. We both exchanged glances and were curious on why we weren't given the same treament. Then she walks over gives the ladies big napkins, forks and knives and 5 mintues later hands us 2 cocktail napkins. After that she walks out with the HOTTEST pressed sandwich i've ever seen. We were both in dire need of a snack however were unable to even try the sandwich because of lack of silverware, plates ANYTHING! I mean this place is the size of my closet she kept walking by and never gave us a second glance or had the smarts to ask us if something was wrong. Finally we had it and I leaned back and set my credit card on the bar and asked for our bill. She swipped my card, charged me for everything (even the untouched sandwich) while i'm signing the credit slip and LEAVING A TIP she had the smarts to ask "Did you not like your sandwich?" and I just looked at her and said "I never even touched it I like to use a fork, knife, plate and napkin when I eat." and walked out...
needless to say I WON'T BE BACK.
It wasn't just us either the couple behind us kept looking around for her too. She may have been a fantastic server, however she can only handle a ONE tables section.
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