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Sep 22, 2003 08:50 PM

waterfront dining--ray's? emory's? another?

  • d

I'm (still) planning my Northwest road trip in early November, and now I'm looking for a fine place for dinner by a waterfront. I've read the merits of Ray's Boathouse by Puget Sound and Emory's Lake House by Silver Lake. Is one better than the other? Are there other eateries that do a better job with food? (In the end, I'd rather have great food over the great view.) And is the view even worthwhile after 8pm in November in the Pacific Northwest? (I normally have dinner after 8.)

And--finally--what restaurant choices with waterfront views are there for the budget-minded? After a week at Nell's, Brasa's, Zoe's, Andaluca's and a couple of top-notch sushi places, I fear my budget will not survive Ray's or Emory's.

Sorry for so many questions in one message.

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  1. Great food with waterfront views for the budget-minded? Surely you jest. (The last place I went to that meets those criteria was 8 years ago ... in Hoi An, Vietnam.) But in November many Seattle restaurants will probably again offer 3-course lunches/dinners for $12.50/$25. (Nothing has yet been announced.) Hopefully at least one of these will have water views. Past participants with views included Ponti Seafood Grill and Canlis.

    Another option is the cafe at Ray's, which is less formal, less expensive, and of course less good than the restaurant, but has the same great view.

    Also: you might want to remove Brasa from your list; I've heard bad things recently. And note that Brasa, Zoe, and Andaluca don't have "'s" at the end of their names.


    10 Replies
    1. re: Bruce Burger

      Yep, call me a fool for linking "waterfront" and "budget-minded" in one thought for a metropolitan area, but I felt it might be possible. Consider it a challenge--someone come up with a place that's supposed to be good to great with food, easy on the budget, and has at least decent waterfront views, and I'll try it and let y'all know how well I survived.

      The above challenge aside, I'm beginning to think a waterfront view may not be worth the trouble. Since I'm not hungry for dinner until after 8pm, and the November sun will have set some time before then, what kind of view would I actually have? It would be something else if I had a city view from the Space Needle, but a darkened ocean is less impressive. Anyone with an insight on this?

      Thanks for the heads-up on Brasa.

      1. re: Daniel C

        Sounds like you might be looking for a restaurant like Chinooks. Casual, on the fisherman's terminal slightly south of Ballard. Not cutting edge but good basic seafood - also good for families. Here's a review of it.


        1. re: ElizabethC

          I would second Chinooks. I forget about it too often, but it does offer very good quality, straight forward seafood in a pleasant location.

          Another casual, fairly inexpensive waterfront place is the Leschi Cafe on Lake Washington. Beautiful location, but I'd say the food at Chinooks is better.

          One of the better happy hour menus in town is at McCormick's Harborside on Lake Union. It's a great deal and they offer some tasty stuff. Their normal menu is fairly pricey.

        2. re: Daniel C

          Frankly, the best bargain in town (and you can look at the dark waters as you Matt's at the Market.
          I can't wait to go back!

        3. re: Bruce Burger

          By the way, when you say that the cafe at Ray's is less good than the restaurant, do you mean that it's less refined but still good food, or that the food is of lesser quality?

          1. re: Daniel C

            > By the way, when you say that the cafe at Ray's is
            > less good than the restaurant, do you mean that it's
            > less refined but still good food, or that the food
            > is of lesser quality?

            It's been so long since I've eaten at either that I hesitate to answer. Certainly the former; I would guess not the latter.

            1. re: Bruce Burger

              We really like Ray's - the upstairs does not take reservations & is less fancy, but still quite good seafood. If you want something fancier, you can order from the downstairs menu (in our experience). It faces west so the sunset view is often beautiful.

              Another place we used to go for the Sunset view (now we have a toddler so dining out is limited) was a little restaurant called Sanmi Sushi. Good sushi, great view (same as Palisade, which is right next door).

                1. re: akq

                  It was open in 2003 when the original post was made.

                  1. re: bluedog67

                    Yup, but since the thread was resurected, I added that it had closed.

        4. I would offer up Anthony's Bell Street Diner on the waterfront. Solid seafood with a nice water view without being expensive.

          Another option would be drive to Alki Beach, park the car and walk along the shops and restaurants until something catches your eye or nose, most places along the beach are actually very reasonable and not a few do some very good seafood. Many of the places on Alki also do weekend breakfast/brunch so you would actually be able to see the water in daylight while you eat.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Rocky
            carol ann buckner

            where is alki beach? thanks....

          2. Thanks to all for your suggestions. Ray's Boathouse (or Emory's Lake House; I still haven't decided which) remains in my plans, but Ray's Cafe, Chinook's, or Bell Street Diner look like good alternatives if my budget takes a beating over the week.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Daniel C

              My wife points out that if you really want a view at night, you are better off across the water from downtown Seattle, so you can see the lights of Seattle. Two options would be Palisade (pretty good food, expensive) and Salty's on Alki (fair food, moderate). Palisade does have an excellent Sunday brunch, if that fits into your schedule.

              1. re: Daniel C

                I know you are asking about Emorys or Ray's. I've been to both and I prefer Emory's. Their new chef is actually quite amazing. I used to think the food there was just ok, but the last few times I've been there I've been blown away. Great new exciting optoins!!! I urge you to try it!

                1. re: Daniel C

                  I haven't eaten at Ray's (restaurant), but we did take fmaily to the cafe/bar upstairs and were really sorry we did. The food was bad, especially for the price. I have heard diehard fans say that the restaurant is miles better though... I am not ready to take my chances. Chinooks is decent and consistent.

                2. Ray's Cafe bar has a late happy hour which is a screaming deal (10pm) if you can wait that long and don't want a fancy meal. Their salmon burgers are good, as are the seared ahi, mussels in curry sauce and clams. YUM.

                  At 8pm you won't see much except for lights in Seattle. For that, i agree with other posters that Saltys or Palisades would be better. I'd choose Salty's, but it's not going to be an especially low budget meal.

                  1. Anthony's has a great view, but I'm always happily content with simply going to Ivar's, ordering some fish and chips and chowder and throwing french fries to the seagulls.