Seattle Dining Guide

The Best Seafood in Seattle

Where to find the oysters, the crab rolls, and the sustainably sourced delicacies that define our waterbound town.

By Allecia Vermillion and Seattle Met Staff March 13, 2024

An oyster platter with benefits at Taylor Shellfish.

Image: Amber Fouts

Magnificent seafood is as much our city's brand as innovation, public radio, and our weird pride about not using umbrellas. And yet we have surprisingly few dedicated fish restaurants, not counting oyster bars and sushi destinations

Halibut and black cod entrees infuse menus at neighborhood bistros; we put dungeness crab into our soup, our sandwiches, even our mac and cheese. These are all good things. But here are some favorite local spots that do focus on great seafood.

Victor Steinbrueck's Local Tide serves crab rolls just three days a week.

Image: Amber Fouts

Local Tide


Victor Steinbrueck cultivates a network of local fisheries that would impress the Michelin star crowd. But he turns that haul into the diner menu of your seafaring dreams—rockfish banh mi, salmon BLTs, a big bowl of home fries layered with bacon bits and smoked cod. Local Tide’s signature, a plush roll of hand-picked crab on just the right split bun, only surfaces on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.


Fremont (and coming soon to kirkland)

A region this rich in seafood deserves more spots like Eric Donnelly’s, where the chef’s fishing acumen and culinary finesse join forces for preparations you won’t see on 20 other menus around town. Donnelly’s menu is equal parts Totten Inlet and Hawaiian tombo, and slaloms from whole grilled snapper to tuna tiradito to a hearty stew of shellfish and Neah Bay rockfish. Throw in the covered patio, the cocktails, the gently Southern brunch menu: RockCreek is the whole package. The Kirkland location is set to open in spring.


Bainbridge Island

Brendan McGill’s flagship restaurant pays tribute to the water however it can: seaweed focaccia, a kelp caesar, a martini with shellfish-rested gin. The rest of the menu makes use of McGill’s nearby farm and the wood-fueled oven. The execution isn’t always even, but the service and the menu's sheer brain-boggling ambition make each meal feel like a special occasion.

Under Renee Erickson's watch, Westward's menu has embraced the broader Pacific coastline.

Image: Amber Fouts



Chef Mike Stamey runs Renee Erickson’s restaurant on the north end of Lake Union. When the water-and-skyline view is this good, the patio this ample, most restaurants could phone in the food. But Stamey’s seafood menu spans the Pacific coastline, from Washington spot prawns to spicy clam dip to scallop ceviche in aguachile. All hail the seafood tower.

Peak PNW: Freshly shucked oysters consumed next to bubbling tanks at Taylor Shellfish's Melrose Market location.

Image: Amber Fouts

Taylor Shellfish

Capitol Hill, Pioneer Square, Queen Anne

The family-run oyster farming operation has four Seattle-area dining outposts, each with its own menu and ambience—a pregame-fried-food feel at Pioneer Square, a bright intimacy at Seattle Center, a genuine fish market vibe with bubbling water tanks on Capitol Hill. You can order them expertly shucked by the dozen, but Taylor’s kitchens also do right by geoduck, dungeness, and manila clams.

Seattle Fish Guys

Central District

Alums from Mutual Fish and City Fish opened a non-bougie seafood market at 23rd and Jackson that’s just as much a destination for lunch as for black cod fillets or raw scallops and spot prawns. Custom poke bowls, shrimp cocktail, crab sandwiches, big plates of sashimi, chowder, and fresh uni and oysters are a product of careful prep and absurdly fresh ingredients, all with the perfect handful of beers to wash them down.

Even the bloody mary at the Market is a seafood-centric experience.

Image: Amber Fouts

The Market

Edmonds, Downtown

Shubert Ho’s downtown Edmonds cafe is tiny—a counter and a covered, heated patio. But it puts out a massive lineup of casual fish dishes. The lobster rolls have a devout following, but the menu’s full of finds, like lobster fries, green curry shrimp and grits, or a bag full of fried soft-shell crab. The Market serves a similar menu, plus morning coffee, at its Seattle Art Museum location.

Pike Place Chowder

Downtown, Pike Place Market

It’s hard to disassociate this Post Alley counter with high-season tourist lines, but it’s even tougher to forget that superb chowder—creamy and rich with clams. Order online for quicker access to varieties made with crab and oyster, smoked salmon, even vegan lime and coconut. The Pike Place Market location has outdoor seating, but the location on the top floor of Pacific Place feels like a secret.

The Walrus and the Carpenter


Back in 2010, Renee Erickson thought she was opening a casual, hidden-away oyster bar. Then came the buzz—and the excitement hasn’t diminished since. Yes, it’s a great place to eat oysters, but the broader food menu (part French, wholly Northwest) is full of inspired seafood dishes, not to mention pitch-perfect vegetables and a signature steak tartare. Come early, or plan to wait in the amaro bar next door.

Ivar's Acres of Clams


Ivar Haglund, Seattle’s own P.T. Barnum with a yen for pranks, started a fish and chips counter on the waterfront in 1938. Today it’s grown to include more than 20 fast-casual outposts that serve chowder and fish and chips from Tacoma to Marysville. Ivar’s also runs three full-service waterside restaurants, where the vibe is far from cool, but the quality of seafood is always on point.

White Swan Public House’s dockside patio.

The White Swan Public House

South Lake Union

Hidden away within the Ocean Alexander Marina on Lake Union, Matt’s in the Market’s seafood-focused sibling applies its rustic, seasonal lens to crab hush puppies, beautiful halibut preparations, and rich seafood stew. Even casual fry shack staples like crispy calamari and fishwiches display the care of a kitchen with high-end roots; ditto the house’s signature “poutine of the sea,” essentially fries topped with clam chowder and bacon. Also on premise: plenty of fresh-shucked oysters (and Champagne to pair) and one of the town’s epic waterside patios.

Ray's Boathouse and Ray's Cafe


Downstairs: the site of a thousand anniversary dinners. Upstairs: a more casual menu, lunch service, and a patio with Shilshole Bay views that draw summer visitors like a slushy machine in a heatwave. The common ground: seafood prepared along a spectrum of familiar to classic. Ray’s groundbreaking days are well behind it, but hoist a glass of Washington wine to the restaurant that began as a coffee and bait shop in the 1930s, then went on to introduce Northwest hallmarks like Olympia oysters and Copper River salmon into our dining vernacular. 

Bar Harbor

South Lake Union

An aggressively nautical hangout in the 400 Fairview building embraces seafood from the other coast. Namely a proper lobster roll, with knuckles and claws spilling out of a split roll. Plus other Northeastern-styled bar fare, and maybe some nachos and queso, because hey—it’s SLU. Local loyalists can get behind the lobster roll variation made with dungeness crab.

Duke's Seafood


You can forgive Duke Moscrip a few dad jokes sprinkled across the menus at his seven-location restaurant chainlet. The man’s a seafood sourcing legend, traveling by prop plane and fishing boat to support sustainable fisheries before most people even knew what those terms meant. Today, the seafood’s still beautiful and the large lunch and dinner menus balance familiar preparations (fish tacos, dungeness salads, salmon with pesto, so much chowder) with a robust and unexpected lineup of gluten-free dishes.
Aqua by El Gaucho sits on the edge of a pier.

Aqua by El Gaucho


El Gaucho’s sibling applies the steak house’s retro-upscale ethos to seafood, then throws in the kind of stunning views you only get at the tip of Pier 70. So: piano bar, check; lobster tail add-on, check. The modular list of protein entrees and shareable carby sides (dungeness mac and cheese) echoes the old-school steak house menu format. There are also plenty of options for diners who aren’t into seafood.

Elliott's Oyster House


The waterfront location means tourists occupy most tables at this venerable seafood spot, which serves local seafood for lunch, brunch, dinner, and happy hour. But Elliott’s oyster program is peerless—a list as carefully sourced and curated as any wine roster, and a staff able to break it all down for the uninitiated. 

Shaker and Spear


This roomy restaurant slightly submerged in the Kimpton Palladian lobby offers the reliability of a hotel restaurant and a seafood-focused menu that often exceeds expectations. Dishes like crab fritters, charred octopus, and seared sole cast local ingredients in a very accessible light.
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