Given its waterfront location, it should come as no surprise that Seattle’s specialty is fresh seafood of all types. The city is jammed with fishy restaurants, from takeout fish-and-chips joints to luxury dining that will set you back $60 per person and more.
With five species of oysters grown in Puget Sound waters—including the native Olympia oyster—Seattle has a reputation as one of the best places to slurp fresh oysters on the half-shell.
Emmett Watson’s Oyster Bar (1916 Pike Pl., 206/448-7721, 11:30 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 11:30 a.m.–8 p.m. Fri.–Sat., 11:30 a.m.–6 p.m. Sun., $12) is one of the best of these, a relaxed little place in the Soames-Dunn Building at Pike Place Market, with reasonable prices and ultra-fresh oysters, plus great salmon soup or fish and chips.
Elliott’s Oyster House & Seafood Restaurant (Pier 56, 206/623-4340, 11:30 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 11:30 a.m.–6 p.m. Sun., $22) is one of the better waterfront seafood restaurants, with crab, clams, and freshly shucked oysters. Expensive, but it’s a fantastic location.
You will not go wrong at Etta’s Seafood (2020 Western Ave., 206/443-6000, www.tomdouglas.com, 11:30 a.m.–9:30 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m. Fri., 9 a.m.–3 p.m. and 4–10 p.m. Sat., 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Sun., $27–34) in Pike Place Market. The mixed drinks are great.
Ivar’s Acres of Clams (on the waterfront at Pier 54, 206/624-6852, www.ivars.net, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, $22) was folk singer Ivar Haglund’s original restaurant (open since 1938). The restaurant is an unpretentious, quality seafood restaurant that often surprises diners who only know Ivars for the tourist-friendly takeout bar out front ($7.50 for four-piece cod and chips).
A bright and elegant waterfront place, Anthony’s Pier 66 (2201 Alaskan Way, 206/448-6688, www.anthonys.com, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5–10 p.m. daily, $30) serves a seafood menu that includes award-winning clam chowder, fresh mahimahi, scallops, crab fettuccine, and other favorites.
Downstairs at the more casual Bell St. Diner the menu also focuses on fresh seafood, but prices are lower and the wine list is smaller. Both places have delightful patios overlooking Elliott Bay.
Just up the street from Pike Place Market, Cutter’s Bayhouse (2001 Western Ave., 206/448-4884, www.cuttersbayhouse.com, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 9:30 a.m.–10 p.m. Fri.–Sat., $16–40) has a lively bar with a long list of hors d'oeuvres; its specialties—fresh fish, pasta, and prime rib dishes—are accompanied by an extensive wine-by-the-glass list. Sunsets over the Olympics are even more notable than the food.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition