If you’re a fan of high-quality seafood from a backyard source and live in Washington State, look no further than Puget Sound. At just over 1,000 square miles, Puget Sound is the second largest estuary in the United States and is home to more than 3,000 species of invertebrates, including oysters, clams, mussels and Dungeness crab, according to the National Wildlife Federation. The Sound is also home to over 200 species of marine fish, including salmon, rainbow trout and rockfish.
This abundance of fresh, local seafood also means that there is a plethora of seafood-themed restaurants in the area.
So we took a close look at publicly posted reviews and ratings of Google customers’ seafood restaurants on the borders of Puget Sound, from Bellingham in the north to Olympia about 150 miles south.
We have selected ten of the most popular restaurants according to Google reviews. All restaurants included have been rated four stars or higher on a five star system. All reviews cited in the article were written within the last six months or less:
Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar
222 Capitol Way N.
Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar is a lively waterside restaurant and local favorite at the Port of Olympia, just off the scenic promenade with indoor and outdoor seating. Owned by second-generation oyster farmers Shina Wysocki and Kyle Lentz, they serve mouth-watering dishes like steamed clams and baked oysters with butter sauce. It’s the ultimate no-fuss seafood experience. No reservation required.
“Coming from out of state, we walked in without a reservation and the staff was happy to accommodate us,” wrote Nick Coffman in his Google review. “The food was exceptionally delicious (loved the deconstructed clam chowder), our server was very helpful, and the whole experience was well above our expectations.”
Olympia Oyster House
320 4th Ave W.
Although it has changed owners and had its ups and downs over the years, the Olympia Oyster House remains a favorite of locals and visitors alike. Located at the base of Puget Sound just off the boat docks with expansive outdoor patio seating, their menu includes items like prosciutto-wrapped shrimp, mushroom scampi, and halibut burgers.
“Delicious, unique food for our group and a great location near the Capitol building in Olympia,” writes Lance Roper in his review. “Not too long to wait but we had a quick drink at the bar and walked out onto the pier.”
Anthony Olympia’s home base
704 Columbia Street NW
Known for their high quality service, upscale atmosphere and harbor views from inside and out, Anthony Olympia’s home base has long been a local favorite for an exceptional dining experience. Seasonal seafood selections like the highly prized Copper River salmon add to the appeal for serious seafood lovers.
“Anthony never disappoints!” writes Anthony Ballantine in his review. “The view alone is worth the experience, but they are quite simply the masters of seafood preparation. The staff are attentive at every step of the meal, you are never more than one course away from their care.
4015 Ruston Road
An intimate waterfront restaurant with stunning views of Commencement Bay in Tacoma, the lobster shop serves local specialties like lobster bisque, crab cakes and aglio shrimp pasta.
“I needed to take a friend to a great restaurant and bet on this one and it certainly didn’t disappoint,” writes Tony Luong in his review. “The service, ambience, views, server and most importantly the food in all areas was absolutely delicious. I would definitely stay here again!”
1199 Dock Street
Owned by parent company Pacific Seafood Group, The fishmonger is a more casual dining experience with indoor and outdoor seating right on the water. The restaurant is known for its convenient location, waterfront views, and robust menu that includes local raw oysters, coconut shrimp, and lobster rolls.
“Sat at the bar and had their raw oysters and clam chowder,” Vanessa Serbola wrote in her review. “The oysters were amazing and a decent size. Goes very well with Odin beer (has a dinosaur on tap). The clam chowder was very filling, hits the spot on a cold day. Make sure to get the big bowl. I will definitely stay here again.”
Salty at Alki Beach
1936 Harbor Avenue, Southwest
In the high end in terms of price, Salty at Alki Beach is known for its exceptional service staff, epic views of the Elliott Bay waterfront, and award-winning Sunday brunch service. Offering specialties like Norwegian King Crab and Smothered Redfish, they also have an extensive wine list.
“Fantastic service, delicious food, and amazing scenery,” Ace Lawson wrote in his review. “Be prepared to spend $35-80 for entrees, but the food is well worth it. I recommend going at sunset so you can see the view of the city.
6049 Seaview Ave NW
Perched above the water with views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound, Ray’s Boathouse is a fine dining restaurant renowned for its elegant atmosphere and views as well as its menu. Customers can choose from items like Wild Alaskan Halibut and Penn Cove Mussels. They also have extensive wine lists for dinner and dessert.
“I can’t rate this place high enough,” wrote Chris Telford in his review. “The upstairs bar is great, the view for the sunset was amazing and the food topped them both. Was there for a friend’s birthday, we had a great table, fantastic drinks and all the seafood ordered was fresh and some of the best I’ve had. Delicious.”
The shrimp shack
6168 National Road 20
Popular place for seafood lovers, The shrimp shack in Anacortes is known for its affordable seafood options, family atmosphere and tasty fried menus. Their menu emphasizes local seafood specialties like medium coonstripe shrimp and fresh crab from nearby Puget Sound waters.
“Loved the popcorn shrimp!” writes Jackie Owens in her review. “This place is almost always busy and I can see why. The menu is quite extensive and includes non-seafood dishes and a children’s menu. Lots of fun and we will be back.”
Chuckanut Manor Seafood and Grill
3056 Chuckanut Drive
A popular choice for seafood lovers is Chuckanut Manor Seafood & Grill, a short drive from Bellingham on scenic Chuckanut Drive. An elegant dining experience with a casual atmosphere and menu, diners can enjoy magnificent views of Samish Bay and the San Juan Islands whether dining indoors or outdoors. Popular menu items include halibut and fries with truffle fries, clam chowder, and seared oysters.
“Beautiful view, delicious food and fantastic service! We have never had a bad experience or mediocre food at this restaurant,” wrote Chris Crim in their review. “Fun to see sailboats in the sound and eagles flying right outside your window. Not sure who the chef is but they are accomplished and we have dined in some pretty spectacular restaurants and this food is the best!
Rock and Rye Oyster House
1145 N. State St.
Located in the historic Herald building, Rock and Rye Oyster House is a Bellingham seafood and drink favourite. In addition to their craft cocktails and extensive menu of craft beers and ciders, the restaurant also offers a seasonal menu that features inventive dishes like sautéed clams, steamed mussels, and oyster chowder.
“Such a cute date night experience!” writes Molly Ronne. “The fried oysters were phenomenal – all the seafood plates were fresh and delicious. I would definitely leave the little ones at home when I leave. Our server, Pete, was attentive but respected our time and was not intrusive.
This story was originally published June 15, 2022 5:00 a.m.