Seattle restaurants are known for their superb seafood. What separates really good seafood restaurants from the rest can be the atmosphere, such as in the Walrus and the Carpenter or Melusine, or a spectacular view of Puget Sound or the city skyline, as is the case in Westward or Ray’s.
Some restaurants occupy a special and unique niche that has become internationally renowned, such as Pike Place Chowders. And it is often the artistry of the chefs who take the bounty of the sea just as artists take paints and canvas, creating superb and memorable meals, such as at Manolin or Seastar.
© Blueacre Seafood
Blueacre Seafood is a sleek, modern spot serving wild seafood and fresh-from-the-farm meat, poultry, game, and vegetables. They also offer sustainably farmed oysters, mussels, and clams from their huge curved raw bar.
Chef Kevin Davis delights his guests with his imaginative and modern take on old favorites using the freshest ingredients, creating dishes such as Dungeness crab, stuffed Petrale sole with sweet peppers, sauce Mornay, and whipped potatoes. The large bar offers classic cocktails and all-American wines and craft beers on tap. Blueacre also has a nice selection of box lunches and five elegant dining rooms for private events.
1700 7th Ave, Seattle, WA 98101, Phone: 206-659-0737
2.The Walrus and the Carpenter
© The Walrus and the Carpenter
If the unpretentious décor throws you, trust that the long lines of customers in this small Ballard oyster bar are a sign that the Walrus and the Carpenter is a place that serves superb food.
The atmosphere is fun and buzzing, and the large zinc bar and cute outdoor patio are perfect for slurping their excellent and large selection of cold oysters or for munching on small yet delightful plates of grilled sardines with walnuts, fried oysters with cilantro aioli, or black cod brandade while imbibing superb wines by the glass, craft beer, cider, and fancy cocktails. If you don’t feel like seafood, they have a few meat dishes – try the fried pirozhki with chorizo, spicy quince jam, and hardboiled egg or some of their interesting cheeses.
4743 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107, Phone: 206-395-9227
3.Pike Place Chowder
© Pike Place Chowder
Pike Place Chowder is one of those Seattle eateries that are featured in every tourist guide as an absolute must-visit. As a result, its flagship Pike Place Market spot is swarming with tourists, all getting a taste of one of the eight kinds of chowder served every day. They also offer samplers of five chowders.
Can they be called chowder flights? The counter service and utilitarian, no-nonsense décor doesn’t bother anyone, and while all they serve are the chowders and great sandwiches, that is all they need to be America's number one and Seattle's best chowder café. If you become completely hooked, you will be glad to learn that they now deliver their chowders anywhere in the States. If you are curious about the basic recipe, they are all simmered slowly in small batches, with plenty of fresh seafood and vegetables as well as real butter and cream.
1530 Post Alley, Flagship Chowder House, Seattle, WA 98101, Phone: 206-267-2537
4.Elliott's Oyster House
© Elliott's Oyster House
Located at Pier 56 on Seattle's bustling historic waterfront, Elliott’s Oyster House has been delighting its customers since 1975 with a fantastic view over Eliott Bay from its cozy dining room and fantastic outdoor terrace overlooking the water.
The stars of the menu are oysters, all 30 kinds of them, prepared in any way imaginable. Working with local fishermen, they offer sustainable Dungeness crab, Alaskan halibut, wild salmon, and Pacific Northwest shellfish. If you like your seafood raw, sit at the 21-foot-long raw bar. Elliott’s has a superb wine list and local beer on tap. The place is hopping during happy hour.
1201 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98101, Phone: 206-623-4340
© Bar Melusine
Bright, airy, and with the distinct impression of salt marshes on the windy coasts of northern France, Bar Melusine is cool and modern French, with its white and green décor and a menu dominated by delightful land and sea, with snacks from Normandy and Brittany or grignotages. There is a beautiful white marble oyster bar that usually has eight kinds of oysters listed on the chalkboard, mainly from several of Washington State’s smaller farms.
Melusine can fit 50 people in cozy two-people booths and large communal tables that invite socializing, creating a nice buzz that adds to the fresh atmosphere of the restaurant. Chef Jay Guerrero treats his customers with such delights as fried fish skin with fish roe and shaved sausages and confit duck gizzard served with smoked yoghurt. The list of good French wines is impressive and there are some rather interesting cocktails.
1060 E Union St, Seattle, WA 98109, Phone: 206-900-8808
© Flying Fish
The new location and new ownership of the Flying Fish did not take anything from this upscale restaurant’s well-established reputation for super-fresh seafood and an innovative menu that changes daily as different seafood becomes available. Working with local fishermen and food producers, they bring super-fresh crabs, oysters, fish, meats, baked goods, and produce to the table.
The large, bright dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows attracts both tourists and locals from nearby companies. The best value are the three-course lunch and dinner menus with wine suggestions. Happy hour oysters for $1 are not to be missed. There is a nice wine list with a good selection of Northwestern wines. More Things to Do in Seattle
300 Westlake Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109, Phone: 206-728-8595
, From LA
One of Seattle’s favorite spots for fresh seafood, Ray’s has been around for more than 40 years, starting as a simple fish shack and growing into an elegant restaurant with an incomparable view of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. The elegant dining room is perfect for special occasions and the large outdoor terrace is everyone’s favorite spot for a more casual meal and drinks while watching the sunset.
The menu ranges from simple, honest grilled salmon, crab cakes, and raw oysters to many dishes with a distinctly Asian flare such as scallops with green curry or black cod marinated in kasu. The superb wine list offers something for everyone.
6049 Seaview Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107, Phone: 206-789-3770
8.Rock Creek Seafood & Spirits
© Rock Creek Seafood & Spirits
You can count on Seattle’s food-loving crowd to discover and keep returning to this superb eatery with its cool vibe. Rock Creek is a fun place in the Freemont neighborhood with high ceilings, rustic wood beams, river rocks, and huge photo murals of roaring rivers that create a lively outdoorsy atmosphere of a fishing lodge or a mountain cabin. Chef-owner Eric Donnelly is a wizard with seafood and fish and serves local Northwest staples such as crab, mussels, and oysters, East Coast favorites such as striped bass as well as rarely seen exotic fish such as Hawaiian Ono or Kona Kampachi.
The flavors are international and complex and the presentation is pure art. To taste a bit of everything, go for small plates and try a few. To start with, you might go for the grilled Norwegian mackerel ‘In Saor’, pine nuts, currants, celery, pickled shallots, saba, and grilled bread. The wine list is very respectable and there are some great cocktails.
4300 Fremont Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103, Phone: 206-557-7532
9.Salty's on Alki
© Salty's on Alki
Salty’s is huge, but even if it were twice as large, it would still fill quickly. Million-dollar views of Puget Sound, the city skyline, the funky décor in the large dining room with its huge windows, and the wraparound deck or the large patio over the water as well as the decadent buffet on Sundays make this popular West Settle spot an absolutely must for any visitor.
The locals use it to show off to their visitors, significant others, or business partners. The menu revolves around fresh Northwest seafood with live Dungeness crab, oysters, and clams as well as Maine lobster and Alaskan salmon and halibut when they are in season. On the ‘turf’ side, you can find Certified Angus Beef Natural® Steak, pasta and chicken, and, of course, the famous Sunday brunch buffet with just about everything.
1936 Harbor Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98126, Phone: 206-937-1600
10.Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar
© Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar
Seastar has received so many accolades since it opened its doors in 2002 that it absolutely must be checked out. Chef John Howie’s elegant, understated, and upscale restaurant in Bellevue provides discerning clients the freshest fruits of the sea from the Pacific Northwest and the Puget Sound.
The chef’s innovative take on the good old American classics results in superb dishes such as applewood-grilled swordfish with capers and artichokes or cedar plank-roasted Alaskan king crab with vegetables. Shared plates and small plates are the best way to sample the chef’s artistry. While the dining room is more formal and quiet, Seastar’s raw bar with hand-rolled sushi and fabulous oysters is more relaxed and boisterous. The New and Old World wine list is both extensive and superb.
205 108th Ave NE #100, Bellevue, WA 98004, Phone: 425-456-0010
11.Seatown Seabar & Rotisserie
© Seatown Seabar & Rotisserie
Be prepared to wait at Seatown Seabar, but it’s well worth it. Alternatively, opt for a takeout, as many impatient people do, and enjoy the treats that Chef Tom Douglas’ very popular seafood deli near Pike Place Market produces.
There is a distinctly European, informal, and relaxed vibe among the sit-down décor, which certainly does not prepare you for the superb food you will discover. From the creamy oyster soup with foie gras butter and roast rub lamb pie to three kinds of cracked crabs and ahi poke with soy sesame, scallions, macadamia nuts, and seaweed salad, you are in the presence of a first-class chef.
2010 Western Ave, Seattle, WA 98121, Phone: 206-436-0390
12.Six Seven Restaurant & Lounge
© Six Seven Restaurant & Lounge
Located inside the Edgewater Hotel, Six Seven is an elegant restaurant with breathtaking views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. The cuisine is classic American focused on fresh seasonal seafood and fresh produce prepared with flair and imagination by Executive Chef Jesse Souza.
The restaurant has a very popular Saturday and Sunday whole-day brunch and a delightful lunch menu featuring all-time favorites with a twist, such the Brie L.T., which is wheatberry bread loaded with thick slices of Brie, crispy bacon, tomatoes, crunchy lettuce, and a rosemary-fig aioli. The wine cellar has some hard-to-find Oregon, Washington, and Northern California wines.
The Edgewater Hotel, 2411 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98121, Phone: 206-269-4575
© The Brooklyn
Whether you choose to sit in the Old World elegant dining room in the back or around the huge circular counter facing the raw bar and the booze, you will have great time at The Brooklyn because everything they serve is superb. For oyster lovers, the selection of oysters is unmatched, but the rest of the mostly seafood-focused menu is equally impressive.
Try the pan-seared and flash-smoked white Gulf prawns with candied prosciutto, English cucumber, and harissa remoulade. Happy hour, available in the lounge, bar, and outdoor patio, has great bargains and you can enjoy many of the chef’s delights for more reasonable prices in this otherwise fairly expensive restaurant. The martinis are strong, the selection of wines and craft beers is excellent, and the chef’s selection of sliders and raw oysters are more than enough for a meal.
1212 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98101, Phone: 206-224-7000
You can paddle your kayak or drive your boat straight to Westward’s dock and then relax in one of the Adirondack chairs lining the coast overlooking Lake Union and wait for the waiter to bring you a glass of wine while you try to decide whether to go for the salmon gravlax tartine or the wood-fired striped mullet. While Westward’s dining room is lovely, with large windows and tasteful nautical décor, their outdoor patio is so wonderful that it is usually packed – the view is that spectacular.
There is an atmosphere of a celebration, with colorful umbrellas during the day and distant sparkling city lights at night. All dishes are sharable and come in small or large versions, which is a very good thing since you will be tempted to try everything, so bring friends or family. The Little Gull Oyster Bar and a grocery are part of the same complex.
2501 N Northlake Way, Seattle, WA 98103, Phone: 206-552-8215
Manolin is a jewel of a seafood eatery tucked into Wallingford’s Stone Way; simultaneously rustic and sophisticated, it has soothing pale blue-green tiled walls and chunky wood tables. Seating benches are salvaged church pews and the high-top tables are recycled bowling alley boards.
The place is widely popular and the wait for dinner is over an hour, so the best time to come is happy hour, when it is less crowded and you can get the same dishes that are served at dinner at half the price. Chef Alex Barkley changes his menu frequently and presents his guests with a small number of exquisitely prepared small plates that look almost too beautiful to eat. But eat them you will and you will love every bite. Try the albacore ceviche with almonds, habanero peppers, and raspberries. If you can, sit on the lovely patio; it has a cozy fire pit that you will enjoy whatever the weather.
3621 Stone Way N, Seattle, WA 98103, Phone: 206-294-3331
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15 Best Seafood Restaurants in Seattle
- Blueacre Seafood, Photo: Blueacre Seafood
- The Walrus and the Carpenter, Photo: The Walrus and the Carpenter
- Pike Place Chowder, Photo: Pike Place Chowder
- Elliott's Oyster House, Photo: Elliott's Oyster House
- Bar Melusine, Photo: Bar Melusine
- Flying Fish, Photo: Flying Fish
- Ray's, Photo: Ray's
- Rock Creek Seafood & Spirits, Photo: Rock Creek Seafood & Spirits
- Salty's on Alki, Photo: Salty's on Alki
- Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar, Photo: Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar
- Seatown Seabar & Rotisserie, Photo: Seatown Seabar & Rotisserie
- Six Seven Restaurant & Lounge, Photo: Six Seven Restaurant & Lounge
- The Brooklyn, Photo: The Brooklyn
- Westward, Photo: Westward
- Manolin, Photo: Manolin
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of smena - Fotolia.com