In a seafood obsessed city blessed with bounty from the sea, the local dining scene highlights everything from freshly shucked oysters to beautifully charred octopus and beyond. Without straying too far from the pier along Alaskan Way, find The Crab Pot (*1301 Alaskan Way; thecrabpotseattle.com), whose spacious restaurant befits the sizable buckets of fresh seafood served. Devour its “Seafeasts” of clams, mussels, Dungeness crab, snow crab, and andouille sausage right from the tabletop with wood mallet in hand.
For another hands-on meal, head to the Chinatown–International District, where Crawfish King (725 S Lane St; crawfishkingwa.com) adds some Cajun and Asian flair to its seafood boils. The five-pound bucket comes with bright-red crawfish, plus crab, clams, mussels, and shrimp; just choose your savory sauce and spice level. Another reliable go-to for crab is Etta’s (*2020 Western Ave; ettasrestaurant.com). The Crabby Hour at this Tom Douglas eatery is a must. On weekdays, head to the bar to nosh on Dungeness crab cake sandwiches with house-made tartar sauce, or perhaps a whole steamed crab served with butter and grilled lemon.
It’s no surprise that some of Seattle’s best seafood spots are nestled on its watery shores. Perched dockside along Lake Union are newcomers The White Swan Public House (1001 Fairview Ave N; whiteswanpublichouse.com) and its more fast-casual sibling restaurant The 100 Pound Clam (1001 Fairview Ave N; 100poundclam.com). During happy hour at The White Swan, dig into the Shells and Champagne special: two dozen fresh oysters, one pound of peel-and-eat shrimp, plus a bottle of brut cava. And save room for an order of Poutine O’ the Sea, complete with little neck clams, chowder, bacon, and scallion, all piled atop fries. Just outside on the patio, walk up to the window at The 100 Pound Clam for perfectly fried fish with dill fries or a dozen oysters on the half shell.
Put together your own feast with small and large plates from RockCreek Seafood and Spirits (*4300 Fremont Ave N; rockcreekseattle.com). This eatery focuses on globally sourced and sustainable seafood, with local offerings like mussels and crab as well as freshly caught fish such as Hawaiian opah and Carolina skate, rarely seen on other Seattle menus. Salty’s on Alki Beach (*1936 Harbor Ave SW; saltys.com) boasts one of the best views in the city—and an epic brunch buffet, too. Feast on crab legs galore and salt-crusted steelhead salmon, or even have your pasta topped with sweet snow crab meat, Oregon bay shrimp, or cedar-smoked salmon.
Closer to downtown, Cinque Terre (2001 Westlake Ave; cinqueterreseattle.com) brings the Italian Riviera to its modern South Lake Union digs. Happy hour here means half off the extensive bar menu: think clams and mussels steamed by the pound, plus a curated selection of Northwest oysters topped with a Champagne and blood orange granita. For a full meal, the Polpo Mario is a hearty dish of charred octopus legs over mashed potatoes.
If your idea of a seafood feast entails dozens of briny bivalves, you’re in luck—almost every neighborhood has a top-notch oyster bar. Taylor Shellfish (*multiple locations; taylorshellfishfarms.com) supplies oysters to countless Seattle restaurants; go straight to the source in Pioneer Square, Capitol Hill, or Queen Anne. Elliott’s Oyster House (*1201 Alaskan Way; elliottsoysterhouse.com) boasts a dockside locale with sweeping views of Elliott Bay and a 21-foot-long oyster bar. On Capitol Hill, James Beard chef Renee Erickson recently added Bar Melusine (1060 E Union St; barmelusine.com) to her lineup of oyster bars—among them Ballard’s Barnacle Bar (4743 Ballard Ave NW; the barnaclebar.com) and The Walrus and the Carpenter (4743 Ballard Ave NW; thewalrusbar.com). Also on Capitol Hill, Anchovies and Olives (*1550 15th Ave; ethanstowellrestaurants.com) hosts an Oyster Power Hour on Friday and Saturday, when no mollusk is safe. Fresh oysters at Ballard Annex Oyster House (5410 Ballard Ave NW; ballardannex.com) rotate daily, with dishes like the Annex lobster roll doing a little East Coast swing in the Pacific Northwest.
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