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Please Help.....

We are going to be in Seattle for one night. Where do you suggest to go for the best seafood experience? Will drive anywhere, price is not an option, if it is worth it. Doesn't have to be fancy, just has to be memorable. Any suggestions are helpful.
Regards

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  1. Stay away from the tourist places like Ivars, McCormick's, and probably anything else on the downtown Seattle waterfront. Ray's Boathouse in Ballard is great, as is Chandler's on the southend of Lake Union. If I was going to eat seafood in Seattle, and it was a special occasion and are looking for the best service, food and atmosphere and view, there is nothing finer in Seattle than Canlis. It is high end, but it does not get any better.

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    Canlis Restaurant
    2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

    Ray's Boathouse Restaurant
    6049 Seaview Ave., Seattle, WA 98107

    Lake Union Cafe
    3119 Eastlake Ave E, Seattle, WA 98102

    1 Reply
    1. re: Gevino

      I agree with Ray's and Chandler's, but I don't get why Canlis is always recommended. I've been there a few times, awhile ago, but was always treated shabby. It seems if you aren't dripping with money and known to the people there, they could care less. I could relate the stories about the few times I've been to Canlis, but that's another post. Ray's and Chandler's are both great places for a nice dinner.

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      Canlis Restaurant
      2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

    2. I personally like Ivar's eating establishments. The Ferry landing locations on the Puget Sound in Seattle, Mukilteo and the inland location on Lake Washington offer good seafood and scenic views of our beautiful country. They serve in season fresh halibut and King salmon that is delicious, well prepared and value priced. Their wine list offers some tasty local reds and whites at reasonable prices.

      1. I would point you toward Anchovies and Olives or Walrus and the Carpenter. There are many other threads if you do a search on "seafood" on this board, so I'd look at those too.

        1. For seafood in the downtown area - Etta's. In the Queen Anne/Fremont area - Ponti Seafood. Along the waterfront - Waterfront (like a steakhouse but with seafood). For pasta with seafood in Pioneer Square - Il Terrazzo. Check out their menus and see what appeals to you.

          1. Avoid, avoid, avoid Ivar's.

            The only thing on the waterfront worth eating is oysters (and only the oysters) at Elliott's.

            I second the recommendations for Ray's or Canlis if price is not a major consideration. The Walrus & Carpenter is a mob scene, don't bother unless you are getting there way early or like waiting.

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            Canlis Restaurant
            2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

            12 Replies
            1. re: terrier

              I agree. Recommending Ivar's to a Seattle visitor is like recommending the Olive Garden for guests from Italy. Etta's does seafood very well.

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              Olive Garden
              4221 196th St SW, Lynnwood, WA 98036

              1. re: terrier

                Alright, I know it's fun to rain down hatorade, but seriously, how about posting something useful?

                I'll obviously agree that the best thing about Elliot's is their oyster happy hour (and their oyster selection in general), but the basic items are well prepared. They don't do anything fancy or particularly creative, but it's a pretty good showcase for a basic preparations of seafood. I think it's silly to dismiss a place because it's not the hot new thing.

                And yeah, Ivar's is more about the history than about current product (which I'll say is still better than seafood in most of the rest of the country), but really? "Is like recommending Olive Garden for guests for Italy"? I mean, it's funny for a cheap laugh at the expense of both corporate food and a local legacy, but not particularly useful.

                I've found Ivar's Salmon House in particular is a pretty good place for out-of-towners. The Indian longhouse motif is kinda fun (and uniquely NW), the view is unexpectedly fantastic, and they do some good basic preparations for $10-$15 less than Ray's, WSG or Blueacre.

                It's actually becoming one of my go-tos for taking out-of-town guests to in Seattle.

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                Canlis Restaurant
                2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

                Ivar's Salmon House
                401 NE Northlake Way, Seattle, WA 98105

                Olive Garden
                4221 196th St SW, Lynnwood, WA 98036

                1. re: GreenYoshi

                  I agree with GreenYoshi. The longhouse is impressive, the view of the ship canal is interesting, and the menu impressed the out of towner I took there. "5 kinds of salmon? I didn't know there WERE 5 kinds of salmon!"

                  1. re: GreenYoshi

                    Ivar's current product is terrible frozen crap-from-a-box-from-a-factory dropped into a deep fryer. If it was ever good, it was before my time.

                    The Salmon House is a slightly different story, but I just don't find the food there that great. The building is neat, but this is Chowhound, aren't we supposed to be all about the food? (For my money, Chinook's is a better bet in this class, and is also a "NW experience.")

                    The few times I ordered something other than oysters at Elliott's, I regretted it. Overcooked fish, didn't taste fresh. The McCormick & Schmick on 1st does a much better job with the basics at a comparable price - but I wouldn't recommend it either to someone willing to go a bit further from downtown.

                    1. re: terrier

                      Is Chinook the place by the Fisherman's Terminal across the bridge from Ballard? If so, I'd pass along that recommendation -- I don't eat seafood, but I've had out of town guests go there and report that the food, esp the oysters, is very good, and it's a fairly interesting place to go.

                      1. re: pusherman

                        I was at Chinooks this past weekend to get my fix of a great crab louie. This is not fine dining and I hesitate to recommend it to a group that does not include a young child or elderly parent. That said if you order simply you may do very well.

                      2. re: terrier

                        I thought about what the original poster asked. First of all, they're here for a single night. Second of all, they have enough money to spend.
                        Third, they didn't ask for the BEST SEAFOOD, which of course is at the house of any one of us! Are we gonna cook for them? Probably not!
                        No, they asked waht's the best local seafood EXPERIENCE?
                        So I recommended Salty's on Alki, which is a good place to get a newcomer in, and get'em out, chop chop, while having a good time and enjoying some nice seafood.
                        And I recommended a salmon barbecue if they could find one, because if they are interested enough to find one, they're interested in US as much as in the food. That's important. But hard to ask one-nighters to do that.
                        I notice that no one on the board actually recommended our places that are so fine that we wouldn't dare let a tourist anywhere near those places!
                        Such as How to Cook a Wolf, Canlis, or one of the seriously gourmet places. True, the seafood would be better but dinner with those people at what? $150-200 a plate? would guarantee that they'd not only have a bad experience, they'd spend their money and not get wheat they're asking for.

                        Better to spend $7.95 at Ivar's on Aurora Blvd and spend the extra money on (you know......)
                        (Note to first questioner: Do NOT take that last advice! We don't know who you are, and you don't know who we are, and chasing up and down Aurora Avenue could get you robbed and perhaps sent to jail)

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                        Canlis Restaurant
                        2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

                        Salty's on Alki
                        1936 Harbor Ave. SW, Seattle, WA 98126

                        1. re: PeteSeattle

                          Well, if they truly want the best seafood EXPERIENCE, they should get a bucket of Fish & Chips from Ivar's, a blue plastic tarp, a bottle of EverKleer and a motel room on north Aurora. (It will make their Seattle trip memorable.) Next day, they could breakfast at Lowell's and drink tomato juice and beer. It's all good.

                          1. re: Leper

                            OK, we can go this way: let's get'em a license to crab, buy them a couple of big round nets, and have them heave the baited nets off the pier at Golden Gardens Park with the Koreans and they can catch crabs there.

                            Or go squid fishing with unbaited treble hooks off the piers in downtown Seattle at night with the Thais, Laos, and others who do that. (I heard stories on the number seven bus, sounded like fun!)

                            I've seen a lot of "lines in the water" in Seattle, but unlike in the American South, what I don't see too often is lines bent with a fish on them! It happens, and when it does, the fish is huge, but it's a rare occurence. :-(

                          2. re: PeteSeattle

                            Ummm you aren't going to spend $150-$200 a plate at HTCAW (which is Italian, not seafood-centric, by the way). You aren't going to spend that on food at Canlis either. I can't imagine how you'd have a "guaranteed bad experience" at these 2 places but not at Salty's, which is sub-par in my experience.

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                            Canlis Restaurant
                            2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

                          3. re: terrier

                            Terrier, revisit your sources.
                            "Fresh" fish that sat in the hold for three weeks can't hold a candle to the flash-frozen fish that modern processors deliver.

                          4. re: GreenYoshi

                            Thank you Yoshi.
                            Ivar's, especially the Salmon House, is a memorable Seattle seafood experience.
                            It is a good value, and delivers a great view and entertaining snippets of local history.
                            It isn't Canlis, but neither are the prices or the attitudes.
                            All good.

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                            Canlis Restaurant
                            2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109