Find Fresh Flavors at Cynara in the Market District

by Alison Bailey • Photos by Heather Harris, Elements Photography

Where can you find lamb stew, baklava crumble and a hibiscus-infused take on an Old Fashioned at a bar featuring over 80 unique bottles of whiskey?

Christian Skilling’s second restaurant in Olympia, Cynara. Fans of the westside’s Iron Rabbit will love the refined yet casual atmosphere of the new location, and its northwest-inspired Mediterranean and Pacific Rim cuisine.

Nestled in Olympia’s growing Market District, Cynara opened in September 2020. The community has continued to buzz about it and the Google reviews speak for themselves. “I have an incredible team committed to providing engaging service and quality food and drinks,” explains Christian.

Iron Rabbit has been beloved for its neighborhood atmosphere and approachable menu since 2005. Choose Cynara when you’re craving a slightly elevated dining experience. If you have adventurous young eaters, they’re welcome too. Cynara has a bar as well as an all-ages lounge area in addition to the dining area. Christian participated in the design of the new location and loves the welcoming feel of all the open spaces.

Cynara is open for lunch and dinner. Guests can savor the atmosphere and beautifully plated flavors with a dine-in experience, or order online for easy curbside pickup. The lunch menu features spicy, slow-braised lamb stew with apricots and mint as well as other sandwiches, soups, salads, and a steak.

Dinner at Cynara is something special. Start your meal with their artichoke hearts appetizer, served with pink peppercorn aioli, hazelnuts and mint. One of their most popular dishes is the chicken Veronique, a bone-in chicken breast with Riesling cream sauce, grapes and pistachios. Their vegetarian cauliflower entrée, featuring hazelnuts, apricots, honey, and pomegranate balsamic, has been well received alongside a helping of quinoa herb salad. The lamb stew is available at dinner as well, along with a roasted duck leg and filet mignon.

If you’re inclined to enjoy a drink with your dinner, you’ll be in the right place. Cynara offers an extensive craft cocktail list, an exciting selection of local beer and cider on tap (including Olympia’s own Headless Mumby), plus a robust gin and whiskey selection in addition to a growing wine list. Ask for an Old Roosevelt if we piqued your curiosity with the idea of a hibiscus-infused Old Fashioned.

“Opening during a pandemic has had its challenges, but it’s also been inspiring,” Christian says. “We’ve built an amazing team and seeing so much excitement and support from the community has been wonderful and humbling.” He’s grateful for all of the businesses and individuals that made the opening of his second restaurant possible, above all his wife Oksana.

Cynara is located at 500 Columbia Street Northwest, just south of the Olympia Farmer’s Market. They serve lunch from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily. Dinner hours are 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, though closing times may vary. Reservations are not required. If you haven’t been yet, consider this your cue!

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