One of the best things about visiting a new city is experiencing the local flavors at the town’s most highly regarded restaurants, whether they be humble hole-in-the-wall eateries or full-on gourmet experiences.
Seattle is no different, and with its location on Puget Sound, it’s no surprise that so much of its culinary scene revolves around seafood. From greasy fish sandwiches to sushi rolls to Dungeness crab dinners, you’re sure to find some of the best seafood restaurants in Seattle—here are ten to get you started!
1. Pike Place Chowder
When it comes to great seafood, where better to begin than the world-famous Pike Place Market? While Pike Place Chowder does have another location in the upscale Pacific Place shopping center, you’ll definitely want to check out the original Pike Place Market location, where you can watch all sorts of fish be elegantly packed, cleaned, and sold before having a delicious seafood meal yourself. A hot bowl of chowder made from fresh fish and shellfish is always welcome on a rainy Seattle day.
2. Market Grill
Another incredible Pike Place restaurant, the Market Grill is right in the action—you’ll have to fight for a seat at lunchtime. Whether you take a later lunch to avoid the crowds or show up early to get to the front of the line, it’ll all be worth it when you take a bite of one of the grill’s signature sandwiches, with grilled seafood on bread baked right in the market. There’s outdoor seating for guests who want to take in some Puget Sound air with their seafood sandwiches, but the indoor seating shouldn’t be missed either, as you can enjoy the charming, tucked away atmosphere of the restaurant and the hustle and bustle of the marketplace.
3. Matt’s in the Market
The last restaurant from Pike Place on the list, Matt’s in the Market offers a wholly different dining experience than most in the marketplace. With a second-floor location, you’re lifted from the cacophony of the main floor below and greeted by a gorgeous view of Elliott Bay and gourmet-style seafood dining. Elegant salads and entrees, hearty sandwiches, and fish from the stalls downstairs offer an interesting contrast to the typical Pike Place Market experience.
4. Shiro’s Sushi
You can’t talk about seafood without mentioning sushi, and with a prime Belltown location just a half-mile away from Pike Place Market, Shiro’s Sushi is a phenomenal place to experience a different take on Seattle seafood. Guests seated in comfy restaurant tables can enjoy a great sushi dinner and omakase (or chef’s choice) courses, but for the authentic Shiro’s experience, you’ll want to sit right at the bar, where you’ll have front-row seats to the sushi-making action.
5. Space Needle’s SkyCity
Literally towering over the city, the Space Needle’s SkyCity restaurant is maybe a little (okay, a lot) touristy, but you have to do it at least once for the view—and the surprisingly good food. In a remarkable feat of engineering, the chamber at the top of the Space Needle slowly rotates, offering a panoramic view of the city as you eat. You’ll have your choice of seafood dishes like Dungeness crab cakes, pan-seared salmon, and fish and chips made from Alaskan halibut. If you’re dining with children, be sure to treat them to the lunar orbiter for dessert, an ice cream sundae that seems to smoke and steam thanks to dry ice hidden in the dish below. For a prime photo op after your meal, head outside to the observation platform.
6. Ray’s Boathouse
The presence of Pike Place Market might concentrate some of the best seafood restaurants in Seattle, but that hardly means the neighborhood has a monopoly on fish. Take Ray’s Boathouse, for instance: an upscale waterfront restaurant with great food and views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. You can enjoy those views up close in a cushy restaurant table, sit right at the bar, or have a more casual dining experience at the café upstairs. Wherever you eat, you’re sure to love the out-of-this-world seafood, made with sustainably caught fish and plated in a variety of interesting ways.
7. The Walrus and the Carpenter
This is one eatery that you definitely don’t want to miss. Founded in 2010, The Walrus and the Carpenter has already become a fixture in the Old Ballard neighborhood, and for a good reason—they make amazing seafood! Bright-colored stools, a branch-inspired chandelier hanging over the bar, and a bright, happy atmosphere make The Walrus and the Carpenter a perfect joint to take in some great grub. The menu changes daily to take advantage of only the freshest ingredients, including a wide selection of the restaurant’s famous oysters.
8. Chinook’s at Salmon Bay
Pike Place Market isn’t the only historic site in Seattle when it comes to fresh-caught fish. Salmon Bay has been the home base of the North Pacific fishing fleet for over a century, and Chinook’s is a great family-friendly place to eat some truly amazing fish and chips. The restaurant has an excellent view of the docks and waterfront, where you can watch some of the fleet’s 700 ships return home with a hull full of fish—a perfect sight alongside the restaurant’s bright, cheerful interiors.
9. Ivar’s Salmon House
The North Seattle location of local chain Ivar’s has an utterly unique atmosphere. This restaurant is inspired by Pacific Northwest art and culture, with touches like an open-pit barbecue for smoked dishes, beautiful cedar woodwork, and views of the boats on Lake Union. Ivar’s boasts incredible salmon dishes, like delicious grilled cuts and flavorful sandwiches, and you can’t forget the chowder! It’s a good choice for quick take-out dining and Sunday brunches alike.
10. Coastal Kitchen
The premier fish and oyster bar in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, Coastal Kitchen offers a killer combination of sustainably raised and caught seafood, upscale furnishings, and a personable staff. Despite its high-end location, Coastal Kitchen is perfect for casual dining, with breakfasts, multiple happy hours, and other deals that make it easy to enjoy some drinks, fish, and conversation, and leave fueled up for a full day of exploring The Emerald City.
Featured photo courtesy of Jasperdo
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