A healthy oyster platter at Taylor Shellfish. Photograph by Amber Fouts.
Seattle may not be have the centuries-old traditions of east coast fish houses, but pristine seafood is everywhere. Our regional waters infuse the entry menus of neighborhood bistros with halibut and black cod, or deliver Dungeness crab in our soups, sandwiches, and even our macaroni and cheese. Here are our favorite places that focus on great seafood.
Victor Steinbrueck cultivates a network of local fisheries that would impress the Michelin star crowd. But it turns the resulting transport into something you’d expect from an oceanfront restaurant or grocery store: rockfish banh mi, salmon BLT, a large bowl of homemade fries with bits of bacon and bacon. smoked cod. Local Tide’s signature, plush crab roll on the good split bun, only surfaces on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays; even this limited series takes four hours to prepare: the kitchen smashes a lot of crap around the house rather than taking it out of a freezer or a can.
A region so rich in seafood deserves more places like Eric Donnelly’s, where the chef’s sense of fishing and the delicacy of flavors come together for preparations you won’t see on 15 other menus of the city. Donnelly’s menu features equal parts Totten Island and Hawaiian Tombo, and slaloms ranging from grilled whole snapper and tuna tiradito to a hearty Neah Bay shellfish and rockfish stew. The menu technically focuses on seafood, but throw in the covered terrace, the cocktails, the gently southern brunch menu: RockCreek is the whole thing.
To the west
Renee Erickson’s restaurant group Sea Creatures revamped this titanic waterfront eatery in 2020. Now the focus is on the Pacific Coast, from Washington spotted shrimp and Hama Hama clams to a scallop ceviche. lively posed with care in a swimming pool of aguachile. The seafood tower has arranged Baja blue shrimp among geoduck clam, whitefish caviar, smoked mussels and a multitude of raw oysters. Erickson remains a champion of freshly peeled local specimens, but Westward is her first menu to also serve baked oysters (and smothered in ancho butter or beef bacon).
Bellevue, Capitol Hill, Pioneer Square, Queen Anne
The family-owned oyster farm has four dining outposts in the Seattle area, each with their own menu and vibe – a pre-game fried food feel at Pioneer Square, bright intimacy at the Seattle Center, a true fish market vibe with bubbling water tanks on Capitol Hill, but several kinds of pristine oysters remain firmly center stage at each. You can order them carefully peeled by the dozen, or hot and fried, smoked in a savory dip, even in the company’s signature stew. Taylor’s kitchens also do well with geoduck, dungeness, and Japanese clams.
Seattle Fish Guys
Mutual Fish and City Fish alumni have opened a seafood market in a nondescript building at 23rd and Jackson, which is as much a lunch destination as it is for black cod fillets or raw scallops and spotted shrimp. Personalized poke bowls, shrimp cocktails, crab sandwiches, large platters of sashimi, chowder and uni and fresh oysters are both meticulous preparation and absurdly fresh seafood, all of it. with the perfect handful of beers to wash them down.
Recently reopened after changing shape to become a bagel shop and then a Brazilian beach party over the past year, Manolin has resumed its membership in the coastal dishes of South and Central America. Rockfish ceviche (with kernels!) Stands out even in a city filled with excellent, raw seafood. The restaurant’s bagel alter ego, Old Salt, still operates during the day, selling smoky black cod that’s capable of turning all day long, whether you order it by the pound or in a sandwich.
Shubert Ho’s no-frills fishmonger and seafood cafe has taken an unexpected leap this year – a second location at the Seattle Art Museum. Which means two very different spaces can now satisfy those cravings for lobster or Dungeness crab rolls, fish and chips, fish tacos and bag-fried softshell. Edmonds’ location has grown to a walk-in window with plenty of covered tables outside.
Downtown, Pike Place Market
It’s hard to dissociate this Post Alley counter from high-season tourist lines, but it’s even harder to forget that superb, creamy, clam-rich soup. Order online for faster access to vegan crab and oyster, smoked salmon, and even lime and coconut based varieties. The Pike Place Market location has outdoor seating, but the location on the top floor of Pacific Place seems like a secret.
The walrus and the carpenter
Sure, it’s impossible to distill all of Seattle in one restaurant, but nothing comes closer than Renee Erickson’s Oyster Bar. In 2010, she designed this hideaway at the back of the Kolstrand building as an unpretentious hangout. Then came the national buzz and the excitement has not abated since. No wonder, given the small platters of speckled shrimp and smoked salmon belly, the perfect height platters of veg, this steak tartare. And, of course, fresh and cold oysters from Washington and not too far beyond. Order a few to compare and contrast.
Acres of Ivar Clams
Ivar Haglund, Seattle’s own PT Barnum with a yen for pranks, started a waterfront fish and chip counter in 1938; it has since grown to include over 20 outposts, including quick and casual chowder and fry bars from Tacoma to Bellingham and the Salmon House restaurant for special occasions in North Lake Union. Menus vary, the vibe is anything but cool, but the quality of the seafood is always legit, whether it’s coconut curry mussels at the flagship waterfront or a basket of fried shrimp while waiting for the Mukilteo ferry.
The public house of the white swan
Union of Southern Lakes
Hidden away in the Ocean Alexander Marina on Lake Union, the seafood-specializing brother of Matt’s in the Market applies his rustic, seasonal focus to crab puppies, beautiful halibut mixes and a rich fruit stew. seafood. Even casual staples like crispy calamari and fish sandwiches display the care of a cuisine with high-end roots; ditto the house’s signature “seafood poutine”, essentially fries topped with clam chowder and bacon. Also on site: plenty of freshly scaled oysters (and champagne to accompany) and one of the city’s epic waterfront patios.
Ray’s Boathouse and Ray’s Cafe
Below: The site of the Thousand Anniversaries Dinners. Upstairs: A more casual menu, lunch service, and a patio with views of Shilshole Bay that draw summer visitors like a slush machine in a heatwave. The middle ground: seafood prepared in a range from the familiar to the classic. Ray’s revolutionary era is long behind it, but hoist a glass of Washington wine at the restaurant that started out as a cafe and bait shop in the 1930s, then introduced Northwest features like oysters. Olympia and the Copper River salmon in our vernacular. (Make it a red wine, as Ray’s was an early supporter of associating it with salmon.)
You can forgive Duke Moscrip for a few dad jokes strewn across the menus at his seven-slot restaurant chain. Man is a seafood sourcing legend, traveling by propeller plane and fishing boat to support sustainable fishing even before most people knew what those terms meant. Seafood today looks just as good as ever, and large lunch and dinner menus balance familiar preparations (fish tacos, dungeness salads, pesto salmon, so much chowder) with a robust and unexpected array of dishes. gluten free.
AQUA by El Gaucho
A sprawling feel to the window walls at the tip of Pier 70 offers cruise ship views of Elliott Bay with an interior view – shiny show kitchen, shiny copper light fixtures, gorgeous and shiny people – for compete. All brought to you by the same people behind the longtime steak house chain, El Gaucho. So: piano bar, check; lobster tail add-on, check. The fish treatments draw hints of French or Japanese flavor, or even an occasional dash of kale, while the modular list of protein entrees and shareable carby sides (dungeness mac and cheese) echoes the format of old fashioned steak house menu.
Elliott Oyster House
The waterfront location means tourists take up most of the tables at this venerable seafood restaurant. But Elliott’s oyster program is second to none – a list as carefully selected and curated as any any wine list, and a staff who can break it all down for the uninitiated. The company’s new beverage manager, Amanda Reed, brings new energy that bodes well for the wine list and cocktail program.