Cliff House Restaurant (331 N. State St., 360/734-8660, www.bellinghamcliffhouse.com , 4:30–9:30 p.m. daily, $30) is famous for its whiskey crab soup, oyster bar, fresh seafood, and Angus beef. This is an old favorite with a big deck facing Bellingham Bay for alfresco dining.
The fair-weather favorite Fairhaven Fish and Chips (1020 Harris Ave., 360/733-5021, 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Sat., noon–5 p.m. Sun.) is easy to find — just look for the red double-decker bus surrounded by patio umbrellas and tables. Step up to the bus window to order a basket of golden crispy deliciousness, plus clam chowder, Italian sodas, and ice cream.
Harborside Bistro (1 Bellwether Way, 360/392-3100 or 877/411-1200, www.harborsidebistro.com , 7 a.m.–9 p.m. daily, $25) is a charming place for fresh seafood and hormone-free beef. It’s right on the water at the luxurious Hotel Bellwether.
A few steps away on the marina is Anthony’s HomePort (25 Bellwether Way, 360/647-5588, www.anthonys.com , 11:30 a.m.–9:30 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 11:30 a.m.–10:30 p.m. Fri.–Sat., $30), part of a Northwest chain of upscale seafood restaurants.
Dirty Dan Harris’ (1211 11th St., 360/676-1011, www.dirtydanharris.com , 5–9:30 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 5–10 p.m. Fri.–Sat., $24) in the Fairhaven District  serves prime rib, steaks, and fresh seafood dinners in an 1800s-style saloon. It’s named for Daniel Jefferson Harris, a feisty eccentric best known for his bathing habits—or lack thereof—who platted the town’s streets, built a dock, and sold lots to the thousands of folks who rolled into Fairhaven in 1883. He made a small fortune in the process.