Seattle has left an indelible mark on my palate. Known as the Emerald City, Seattle’s rich maritime heritage and bustling fishing industry make it a veritable seafood lover’s paradise. I’ll recount my firsthand experiences at three exceptional seafood establishments and provide recommendations for three more. Each location offers distinct flavors and charm, ensuring a memorable culinary journey.
My Culinary Adventures
Pike Place Chowder
Location: Pike Place Market, 1530 Post Alley, Seattle, WA 98101
My Seattle gastronomic journey commenced at Pike Place Market, an iconic locale that immerses you in the city’s vibrant food culture. Pike Place Chowder, nestled within this bustling market, beckoned me with its unassuming facade.
Upon entering Pike Place Chowder, I was greeted by the inviting scent of simmering seafood broths and the hum of conversation. The menu boasted a delightful array of chowders, from New England Clam Chowder to Market Chowder, and even Smoked Salmon Chowder. After much contemplation, I settled on their award-winning New England Clam Chowder, presented in a freshly baked sourdough bread bowl, and a cup of the creamy Dungeness Crab Bisque.
The New England Clam Chowder was a revelation. It possessed a velvety texture and was brimming with tender clams, diced potatoes, and fragrant herbs. The sourdough bread bowl added a delightful crunch, elevating the experience. Equally impressive was the Dungeness Crab Bisque, a silky concoction that tantalized the taste buds with its robust crab flavor.
- An exceptional array of chowder options.
- Use of high-quality, fresh ingredients.
- Unique presentation in sourdough bread bowls.
- Friendly and attentive staff.
- Convenient location within Pike Place Market.
- Prone to overcrowding; prepare for possible wait times during peak hours.
- Limited seating space.
Recommended for: Chowder aficionados, seafood enthusiasts, and anyone in pursuit of an authentic Seattle experience.
Reservation Platform: Pike Place Chowder does not accept reservations, but the wait is usually worthwhile. Check their website for current queue lengths before your visit.
Taylor Shellfish Farms
Location: 410 Occidental Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
For my second seafood escapade, I ventured to Taylor Shellfish Farms in the historic Pioneer Square district. This establishment promised a unique experience, offering the freshest oysters and shellfish in a rustic and inviting ambiance.
Taylor Shellfish Farms is a haven for oyster aficionados, and I was eager to delve into their impressive selection. The restaurant’s unpretentious atmosphere and open kitchen allowed me a front-row view of the shucking and preparation processes.
Opting for their Oyster Tasting Platter, I indulged in a selection of Pacific Northwest oysters, including Kumamoto, Shigoku, and Totten Inlet oysters. Each oyster presented its distinct flavor profile – Kumamotos were subtly sweet, Shigokus offered a briny crispness, and Totten Inlets featured a creamy texture. House-made mignonette and cocktail sauces accompanied the oysters, heightening the tasting experience.
In addition to oysters, I sampled their Geoduck Sashimi, a local delicacy. The geoduck, a large saltwater clam native to the Pacific Northwest, was thinly sliced and served with a zesty ponzu sauce. Its clean, slightly crunchy texture was a revelation, underscoring the restaurant’s commitment to freshness.
- Exceptional variety of oysters.
- Rustic and welcoming ambiance.
- Knowledgeable staff adept at guiding oyster selection.
- Emphasis on sustainable and locally sourced seafood.
- Creative use of geoduck on the menu.
- Limited non-seafood options for accompanying non-seafood enthusiasts.
Recommended for: Oyster enthusiasts, shellfish aficionados, and those desiring a distinctive seafood experience.
Reservation Platform: Reservations can be made through their website, which is highly recommended given the restaurant’s popularity.
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Location: 4743 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107
Ballard, a neighborhood steeped in maritime history, was my next culinary destination. The Walrus and the Carpenter, a cozy and critically acclaimed oyster bar, beckoned with its remarkable oyster selection and more.
Upon entering The Walrus and the Carpenter, I was captivated by its charming, nautical-themed decor. The restaurant exuded a warm and inviting ambiance, and its marble-topped bar provided a ringside view of the shuckers’ artistry.
Commencing my visit with their Oyster Pan Roast, a delectable marriage of oysters, bacon, and cream, I was treated to a melange of smoky and savory flavors intertwined with the oysters’ brininess. To accompany this culinary delight, I selected a crisp Chardonnay, expertly recommended by the knowledgeable staff.
The pièce de résistance was the Oyster Plate, a meticulous presentation of diverse oysters from various regions. Each oyster was thoughtfully described by the server, allowing me to appreciate the nuances of their terroir. The oysters were complemented by house-made condiments like pickled shallots and mignonette sauce, enriching the tasting experience.
- Superb array of oysters from diverse regions.
- Thoughtfully crafted seafood dishes.
- Cozy and enchanting atmosphere.
- Attentive and knowledgeable staff.
- Extensive wine and cocktail list.
- Limited seating; reservations are strongly recommended.
- Can get a bit noisy during peak hours.
Recommended for: Oyster enthusiasts, wine connoisseurs, and those seeking a refined seafood experience.
Reservation Platform: Reservations can be made through their website, an advisable step given the restaurant’s popularity.
Ivar’s Acres of Clams
Location: 1001 Alaskan Way, Pier 54, Seattle, WA 98101
No seafood odyssey in Seattle is complete without a visit to Ivar’s Acres of Clams, a historic landmark offering classic seafood dishes with stunning views of Puget Sound.
Ivar’s Acres of Clams is renowned for its legendary Fish ‘n Chips, a crispy and golden delight featuring the catch of the day, served with their famous coleslaw and irresistible French fries. The open-air dining deck provides the perfect setting to savor this quintessential Seattle meal while taking in the breathtaking waterfront scenery.
Another must-try at Ivar’s is their world-famous Clam Chowder, which has earned its place among the city’s best. The creamy chowder, brimming with tender clams and diced potatoes, is hearty and flavorful. You can opt to enjoy it in a sourdough bread bowl for an extra indulgent experience.
- Iconic Seattle seafood restaurant with a rich history.
- Spectacular waterfront views.
- Classic Fish ‘n Chips and Clam Chowder.
- Family-friendly atmosphere.
- Friendly service.
- A popular destination, so it can get crowded.
- Limited reservations, so be prepared for a wait during peak hours.
Recommended for: Visitors seeking classic Seattle seafood dishes in a historic setting.
Reservation Platform: Limited reservations are available for parties of six or more, so plan your visit during off-peak hours.
Location: 2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109
For a more refined seafood dining experience, Canlis epitomizes elegance and culinary excellence. Perched atop a hill, this iconic restaurant offers breathtaking panoramic views of Lake Union and the city skyline.
Canlis is celebrated for its ever-evolving tasting menu, a showcase of the finest seasonal ingredients, including top-tier seafood. Each dish is a masterpiece, meticulously crafted and presented with precision.
One of my favorite Canlis dishes was their Sablefish, a succulent fish known for its buttery texture. It was prepared to perfection, served atop a bed of black garlic, and adorned with a delicate smoked mussel sauce. The flavors harmonized seamlessly, making every bite a sublime revelation.
To complement the seafood dishes, I explored their extensive wine list, featuring an impressive selection of local and international wines. The knowledgeable sommelier was instrumental in helping me make the perfect wine pairings.
- An unparalleled fine dining experience.
- Exceptional tasting menu.
- Impeccable service.
- Stunning views of Lake Union.
- Outstanding wine selection.
- High-end pricing.
- Advanced reservations are essential.
Recommended for: Gourmet aficionados, couples celebrating special occasions, and those seeking a luxurious dining experience.
Reservation Platform: Reservations can be made through their website, and booking well in advance is advised.
Location: 2501 N Northlake Way, Seattle, WA 98103
Westward offers a unique twist on the traditional seafood restaurant experience. Situated on the northern shore of Lake Union, this charming eatery combines a relaxed atmosphere with delectable small plates and stunning waterfront views.
Westward’s menu is designed for sharing, making it an excellent choice for a group outing. The Wood-Grilled Mediterranean Octopus was a standout dish, marrying perfectly tender octopus with a medley of flavors such as olives, capers, and citrus.
Their House Smoked Trout Dip is another crowd-pleaser, served with warm, freshly baked bread. The dip is creamy and teeming with smoky trout flavor, making it an ideal starter to share with friends.
The restaurant’s lakeside patio is the ideal setting to enjoy your meal, especially during Seattle’s beautiful summer months. The outdoor fire pit and Adirondack chairs create a cozy and welcoming atmosphere.
- Unique small plates menu.
- Relaxed and friendly ambiance.
- Lakeside dining with a view.
- Excellent cocktails and craft beers.
- Ideal for group dining.
- Limited reservations for larger parties.
- Popularity, so consider arriving early or dining during off-peak hours.
Recommended for: Those seeking a casual and scenic seafood dining experience with friends or family.
Reservation Platform: Reservations can be made through their website, though availability for larger groups may be limited.
Seattle, known as the “Seafood Haven,” boasts a diverse and tantalizing array of seafood dining experiences. From cozy chowder shops to upscale seafood bistros, the city caters to every palate. During my culinary journey in Seattle, I explored both renowned favorites and hidden gems, each leaving an indelible mark.
Table of Recommendations:
|Pike Place Chowder||Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA 98101||New England Clam Chowder and Crab Bisque||Exceptional chowder varieties, fresh ingredients, creative presentation.||Crowded during peak hours, limited seating.||9.5/10|
|Taylor Shellfish Farms||410 Occidental Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104||Oyster Tasting Platter and Geoduck Sashimi||Outstanding variety of oysters, rustic ambiance, knowledgeable staff.||Limited non-seafood options, busy hours.||9/10|
|The Walrus and the Carpenter||4743 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107||Oyster Pan Roast and Oyster Plate||Superb oyster selection, cozy ambience, attentive staff.||Limited seating, potential noise during peak times.||9.5/10|
|Ivar’s Acres of Clams||1001 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98101||Fish ‘n Chips and Clam Chowder||Iconic seafood destination, waterfront views, classic dishes.||Crowded during peak times, limited reservations.||9/10|
|Canlis||2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109||Tasting Menu with Sablefish||Unparalleled fine dining, stunning views, exceptional service.||High-end pricing, advanced reservations required.||10/10|
|Westward||2501 N Northlake Way, Seattle, WA 98103||Wood-Grilled Mediterranean Octopus and Smoked Trout Dip||Unique small plates menu, relaxed lakeside ambiance, ideal for groups.||Limited reservations for larger parties, popularity.||9/10|
For classic Seattle seafood, don’t miss Pike Place Chowder, Ivar’s Acres of Clams, or The Walrus and the Carpenter. Each offers a unique and memorable chowder experience, with The Walrus and the Carpenter providing an exceptional oyster selection.
For a high-end dining experience with impeccable service and breathtaking views, Canlis is a must-visit.
Westward is the perfect choice for those seeking a relaxed atmosphere and the opportunity to sample a variety of small plates by the lakeside.
No matter where you choose to dine, Seattle’s seafood offerings will leave you with a deep appreciation for the city’s maritime culture and culinary excellence. From casual chowder to fine dining, this “Seafood Haven” has something to satisfy every seafood lover’s cravings. So, pack your appetite and embark on a seafood journey through the enchanting streets of Seattle. Your taste buds will thank you.