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New To SEA Want Good Seafood Without Being A Tourist

I'm new to Seattle and I am looking for good seafood without having to experiment with all of the touristy places on the pier or the chains I've heard so many negative comments about. Where do the locals go for what's real, fresh, served well, and priced in accordance with the value? Everything from middle to low end cost wise to the higher end would be great. Thanks !

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  1. I actually do like McCormick and Shmick's- especially during happy hour...
    Try La Isla in Ballard and order the Salmon
    Try Pacific Inn on Stone Way and order the fish and chips

    I have heard a few good things about- Pike Street Fish Fry & Jack's Fish Spot

    1 Reply
    1. re: natalie.warner

      Thanks for the advice. I'll check them out.

      Some of the things I've heard about Ivar's (all restaurant types) has been a bit scary. Some consider it touristy, overpriced, and constant mention of poor service.

      Trying to avoid that kind of stuff. I've lived in the Cape Cod area and remember a wonderful place out on the working fishing docks where the locals went. The trawlers come in, the lobster and fish come off, and directly into the kitchen. You ate in a large, rustic paneled dining room and it was a moderately priced smorgasbord. One line fried , one line not. Excellent chowda :) and all the trimmings. Everyone from the dock workers, to real estate agents, and lawyers. The locals know the good places. Huge fresh lobster for a song.

    2. Chinook's is reliable for the money - and it is at the Fisherman's Terminal, not in the downtown tourist zone.

      In the tourist zone, Elliott's progressive oyster happy hour is still worthy of note.

      I generally avoid "seafood restaurants" though, preferring restaurants serving a particular cuisine containing seafood.

      9 Replies
      1. re: terrier

        Thanks, that sounds like good advice. I'm going to have to acquire a taste for raw oysters. I love them pretty much all other ways.

        Have any places been caught selling one fish or shellfish for something else? It's a big problem in Florida, particualy in the tourist areas. People go to a specific area for grouper and and end up getting farmed fish from Vietnam, Thailand, or China. The state officals caught 160 different places in "grouper country" misrepresenting their product.

        I've never heard about it here so I guess it's not a problem.

        1. re: terrier

          I would agree, there are certain seafood menu items at many good places, but they aren't really seafood restaurants. Anything from 7 stars crab to Matt's catfish.

          Flying Fish is a great seafood restaurant, not touristy at all. Ray's (upstairs cafe or downstairs upscale) is consistently good seafood. Pike place chowder is good, and has interesting flavors. The Lock Spot has really good salmon chowder.

          1. re: bluedog67

            I love chowder, so tell me what Northwest Chowder is? I like New England and Long Island is OK. I may have to try the local variety. Chownder on the East Coast was a meal by itself. I'm sure what is done locally is unique.

            1. re: TaylorRoot

              I am from the east coast also. Chowder here is NE style, chunky, thick and often creamy. Some places have bread bowl. Pike place chowder serves lots of variations of fish and flavors. There a a couple locations, one in the market, and one in Pacific Place mall. It is actually quite good, so don't be deterred by the food court feel if you go to the mall location.

              1. re: bluedog67

                That all sounds great. My company has a shuttle to Pacific Place I'll have to check that out. Thanks:)

                1. re: TaylorRoot

                  The mall and the market are about 6 blocks apart... I would suggest the market.

                  1. re: natalie.warner

                    When the weather improves I'm going to have to take some Saturdays and just walk around downtown and see the sights. You always see and remember more on foot it seems. Thanks for the advice.

                  2. re: TaylorRoot

                    Shuttle to Pike Place?
                    My kind of company.

                    1. re: mrnelso

                      Yes my company encourages us to commute using mass transit. They pay us infact rather than drive as they have several confined campuses around town. So they run shuttles so we can go to meeting and a few places around town for errands and lunch. They are good to us :)

          2. Ponti, over in Fremont is a nice seafood choice.
            Admittedly, I've had varying experiences with them over the years, but when they're good, they're very good.

            1. Steelhead Diner in the Market has terrific fish with a New Orleans twist. Best fried oysters in the NW.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Roger livingston

                That sounds great for sure! Anything New Orleans gets my attention. Fried oysters are great, but I'm going to have to get into raw oysters. I've heard so many descriptions of the experience. For a newbie, do you do them straight? Or put the sauce on them?

              2. Matt's in the Market
                Steelhead Diner
                Third Floor Fish Cafe (Kirkland)
                Pacific Inn Pub
                Jack's Fish Spot

                1 Reply
                1. re: equinoise

                  I'll check these out. More consistent advice and that really is good. Thanks !