Founded in 1930, Pike’s Place Fish Market in Seattle, Washington pretty much set the bar for the area’s general public in regard to their love for seafood. Sure, the city is situated on the Puget Sound, making the fares of the sea commonplace, but the truth is that someone or something had to get the ball rolling, and Pike’s Place Fish Market is that catalyst, so to speak. Seattle also boasts a great love for sushi, which is likely also rooted in the market’s existence. Many of the pricier restaurants in the area offer this particular culinary delight, and no one is too ‘broke’ to find a serving that they can’t afford. Even gas stations and convenience stores sell it, though it’s not as good as that of the restaurants. Regardless, it’s a fact that seafood is available year around in that part of the Great Northwest, and it will not disappoint, no matter what month of the year it is.
So, you’re going to visit Seattle. Maybe you’ve been told over and over that you just have to eat some seafood while you’re there. You know that it abounds, that there are countless places to eat that offer an abundance of variety, but you’d like to narrow down your options. Which seafood restaurants are the best? Which ones are worth the risk of actually paying good money to eat at? Well, we wanted to help.
Below we have put together a list of twenty of the best seafood restaurants in Seattle. We have them listed with number one being the very best, but number twenty is definitely not the least, so keep that in mind. While there are many to choose from, and the price ranges vary, visitors should know that the turnover is great, and new eateries are opening (while others are closing) all the time. But there are those who have earned enough good repute that they are something of permanent fixtures, and one visit will tell you why. So read on to discover…
20. Duke’s Chowder House
Overlooking Lake Union, Duke’s Chowder House, like many other area restaurants, boasts the ‘best seafood in town’. There is something to their claim. The restaurant says they are committed to serving only ‘100% sustainable seafood’, according to their website, and they offer such fares as Mexican Pacific Prawns, Alaska Copper River Salmon, and Dungeoness Crab. The most popular dish available at Duke’s, believe it or not, is the Panko-breaded cod and Chips, which sells for $17.90 for a two-piece meal and $21.90 for three pieces. With a wide array of pastas, salads, drinks, and ‘Appeteasers’ to choose from, Duke’s easily comes in at number twenty on our list.
Located in Seattle’s International District, Maneki is a Japanese restaurant that opened its doors in 1904 and boasts being the very first sushi bar in the area. The restaurant also features private matted rooms (tatami rooms) and a karaoke bar. This place has some of the most wonderful seafood found in Japantown. Menu offerings include a wide array of sushi dishes, other dishes that feature either mackerel or salmon, and steaks for those who may not desire seafood. Dinners come with Miso soup, rice, sunomono, and fruit, and tea comes with them as well. This excellent restaurant still stands tall after having passed the test of time.
18. Ray’s Boathouse
Ray’s Boathouse in Ballard offers and amazing view of Shilshole Bay and some incredible seafood, to boot. Offering waterfront fine dining, patrons can get sustainable seafood dishes that include the very best, most beautiful dishes with scallops, salmon, shrimp, and many other choices. With a wonderful wine list and even better view of the Olympic Mountains, Ray’s is a favorite of locals and tourists alike, and well worth the cost.
17. Pike’s Place’s Market Grill
Patrons rave about the fresh salmon sandwich offered at the Market Grill, and for good reason; the salmon is amazing, and handled so well. The seafood chowder is another claim to fame, and it’s true that customers clamor to this place for more. Compared to a ‘hole in the wall’, the Market Grill isn’t the most exclusive spot, but it is definitely one of the best, and makes our list with little effort.
16. Six Seven
Inside the Edgewater Hotel is the Six Seven restaurant, which boasts incredible dishes rooted in the Pacific Northwest and views to match. This award-winning place features best naturally-raised, organic seafood, prepared by Executive Chef Jesse Souza. Wines come from either Washington, Oregon, and Northern California, and are easily paired to any dish ordered. You can eat indoors or outside at the beautiful restaurant that offers some of the best views available.
Also ranked at #4 for The Best Sushi Restaurants in Seattle, Japonessa is a sushi kitchen (cocina) located in downtown Seattle on Union and 1st, with another location at Lincoln Square South in downtown Bellevue. Japonessa claims to have a Japanese core-concept, with added ‘hints of Latin flair’. Sushi choices include sashimi and nagiri, but also offers rolls featuring mango, jalapeno, and cilantro. Such versatility has gone over very well in the area, making Japonessa well worth a visit.
14. Aqua by El Gaucho
Located on Alaskan Way with a view of Elliot Bay, Aqua by El Gaucho is known for its grilled Chilean Sea Bass served with rice wine oyster sauce. The place has earned a coveted spot on Gayot’s list of Top 10 Seafood Restaurants in America list, as well as the 2015 Restaurant of the Year award from the Washington State Wine Commission. They claim to source only the very finest of ingredients, which includes fresh seafood, Niman Ranch All-Natural Prime Certified Angus beef, and meats prepared an exclusive charcoal grill that is operated in an open, ‘exhibition-style’ kitchen. They also offer a variety of daily options that change, and are suited to any diet type. Aqua by El Gaucho is one of Seattle’s very best.
While known as a Sushi restaurant, Shiro’s has so much more to offer. Sure, it’s the #1 Sushi restaurant in the area, but other claims to fame include the black cod. Said to have long waits (with reservations being necessary) and high prices, prior patrons swear that it’s all well-worth it, and that one will have dreams of coming back. Other unbelievable fares include fresh oysters, geoduck butter, sashimi, and a Tuna Tasting sushi plate. Shiro’s is a much-loved Seattle seafood go-to.
12. Salty’s on Alki
Right on the Seattle skyline on Alki Beach at Elliot Bay, Salty’s is a ‘Waterfront Seafood Grill’ boasts ‘astonishing Northwest coastal cuisine’. Awards won by this particular restaurant include 2006 &2016 Sommelier of the Year (Washington Wine Commission), 2019 Open Table (100 Most Scenic Restaurants in America), The Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, and 2019 Open Table (100 Best Brunches in America). Originally named ‘Salty Pickerel’s and Angus McHereford’s’, this place contributes a very wide array of wonderful food, and is intent on making the customer happy.
The north shore of Lake Union is where you will find Westward. More than a restaurant, Westward even offers oyster shucking classes! Menu options change daily to keep things fresh, but some offerings include Blue Prawn Crudo, Local Sockeye Salmon, Crispy Octopus Salad, and so much more. This amazing place is just waiting to serve you, and is one of the best options in the Seattle area.
10. Anthony’s Home Port
Anthony’s claims a variety of services, with restaurants classified as both dinner houses, ‘to-go spots’, and casual dining. When Bud Gould opened the doors in 1969, we doubt he had any idea how the chain would grow in the years to come, but it has. In 1984 the company even opened its own wholesale food company, which ensured that guests would only get the very freshest seafood available. They also have a ‘Best of Season’ calendar, which shows featured highlights that are in-season at the time, making those dishes the very best on the menu, no matter what the date. You can find more about Anthony’s on their website.
9. Matt’s in the Market
Ranked #9 for seafood in the Seattle area, Matt’s in the Market is found tucked away in the Corner Market Building in Pike’s Place Market. Appetizers include everything from oysters on the half-shell to chef adorned deviled eggs, and main courses offer steamed mussel, clams, scallops, and more. While only founded in 1996, the place seems to have been around forever, but this may be due to having sister restaurants that include The White Swan Public House, Radiator Whisky, and The 100 Pound Clam. You will not regret paying a visit to Matt’s in the slightest.
8. Ivar’s Salmon House
Another Lake Union spot, Ivar’s has been operating since 1938, and one taste will give you a clear picture of their expertise. Featuring batter-dipped Alaskan Cod with chips and slaw, alder-grilled salmon, and lots more, Ivar’ also has several locations to choose from, with options almost everywhere in Seattle and the surrounding area. Enjoy ‘Acres of Clams’, the Seafood Bar, Mukilted Landing, and the Salmon House, all offering variety in their delicious fares. See their website for more information on the menu, locations, and making reservations.
7. Umi Sake House
Umi Sake House is open seven days a week, with a last call for food every midnight, so it’s a great spot for those who like to live late. Appetizers include things like Rainbow Tartare, a variety of soups, and more; the sushi menu is versatile, with options that include more than salmon, tuna, and eel. Sushi lovers can find almost anything that suits them, from standard rolls to specialty rolls, and drink choices are boundless. Umi is definitely a sushi lovers dream!
6. Elliot’s Oyster House
Elliot’s is also located on Alaskan Way on Elliot Bay, but appears to be a namesake of the bay itself. One of the most popular dishes is Alder-planked salmon with house rub, served with oven-roasted potatoes and market vegetables, which ranges in price from $31 to $38, depending on whether one chooses King, Coho, or Alaskan Sockeye Salmon. Found on Pier 56, this spot offers more choices and versatility, and though it is pricey, customers say it is one of the very best on the Sound. For more information, visit the website.
5. Rock Creek Seafood and Spirits
This full-service restaurant can be found in Seattle’s Fremont district, with a menu that is centered around seafood fares from all around the world. Options include a variety of gourmet appetizers and egg dishes, Wild Carolina Prawns, Oyster Po’ Boy, shrimp, and so much more. They get their ingredients fresh on a daily basis, and take great pride in their two-story fishing lodge and bark-beetle pine handcrafted dining table, which add nicely to the ambiance of the place.
4. Blueacre Seafood
With a focus on seafood obtained from America’s coastal waters, Blueacre Seafood also features some foods taken from fresh water. Not only do they offer brunch, lunch, and a kid’s menu, but dinners offer some of the most delicious fares in the area. Included in their dinner menu is a wide variety of oysters on the half-shell, Alaskan Halibut, Wild Gulf Shrimp, and East Coast Scallops, to name just a few dishes. Owner Terresa Davis says that the restaurant was built in 2001, and at first housed The Oceanaire, another fine dining establishment with a seafood focus owned by herself and husband Kevin. Today, the Blueacre is one of the best in Seattle, and has no intention of leaving. Definitely pay this one a visit if you can!
3. Pike Place Chowder
If you are a chowder fan, a trip to Seattle would be wasted if you didn’t spend time here. With a large variety of handcrafted chowder offerings, this place claims that its chowder is one of America’s favorites, and we would have to agree. It has been voted Best Classic New England Clam Chowder five years running at the annual Chowdafest Competition, so the place has paid its dues. With two locations that can be found only blocks from each other, Pike Place Chowder and their great chowder variety is at number three on our list.
2. Salted Sea (Closed Unfortunately)
Open since 2015, Salted Sea is a Vietnamese-inspired restaurant that also proudly hails the Northwest. Known for the house-made steelhead caviar, Salted Sea also offers favorite Green Curry Mussels in Coconut Broth. The metal and wood restaurant can be found on Rainier Ave. S., and has become a local favorite due to their versatile preparation and unique flavor combinations.
1. The Walrus and the Carpenter
Our number one restaurant choice is Seattle’s ‘The Walrus and the Carpenter’, an eatery that was developed by a trio of friends, Chad Dale, Renee Erickson, and Jeremy Price. The doors opened in 2010, which means that its awesome success has happened in a very short period of time, and amongst old timers that are located all around. Menu offerings include eight types of oysters, six types of vegetables in a variety of forms, prawns, mussels, clams, scallops, and sardines, as well as steak, sausage, cheeses, and incredible sweet dishes that are enough to make your mouth water. We encourage you to make great your effort to visit The Walrus, as well as The Walrus Bar. It will be an experience you won’t soon forget.
There you are! Our twenty choices for the best seafood restaurants in Seattle. Now you can plan either your trip to Seattle, or your local night out, properly, without fretting that you may be missing out on some of the best fares the city has to offer. Not only will you be getting a highly palatable dish that you will brag about for years to come, but you will be exposing yourself to local culture that makes this city all that it is…and then some. So, voila! Enjoy!
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson