Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Greater Seattle >
Mar 26, 2013 08:08 AM

A Seafood Restaurant Question for Seattle

Hi fellow chow hounds.....
I have a question regarding my two choices for seafood in Seattle. WE will be in town for 3 nights. One night we are going to Spinasse . I was thinking of going of going to Toulose PEtit for happy hour another night. My final night was going to go to Seastar . However, I just heard about Anchoives and Olives and it looks really fantastic. I am thinking of switching out Seastar for A and O. AS you can tell by my name, I LOVe italian food....
Thanks for your ideas in advance!!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. I would go to Toulouse Petite for breakfast - which is a great value, and they have lots of seafood options at that meal, and then you can keep A&O and Seastar :)

      1. Seastar isn't going to give you Italian fusion, if that's what you're after. Seastar just gives you, in no uncertain terms, the best seafood in the city.

        That's not to say that Chef Howie's creations aren't incredibly innovative and creative - they are - but he doesn't do a lot of "Oh I'm going to try and combine Peruvian and Cambodian this evening just because I can" type of things.

        10 Replies
        1. re: Quintious

          Thanks for this great info! I truly want a " fish " experience .... So my three res are : spinasse , seastar, and anchoives , olive. Do you think this typifies what Seattle has to offer ? Oh and tp for breakfast

          1. re: italiana3

            If this is an "all fish, all the time" sort of scenario, you're going light on our second most famous seafood export: that being, dungeness crab. It's not that you can't find a crab cake at any of those places, it's simply that none of them are going to be as good as the ones you can find at Dahlia Lounge.

            A&O's one of those places that tends to get a bit overrated simply because it's on Cap Hill, and people who live on Cap Hill go out of their way to tell everyone else how awesome Cap Hill is. Food is pretty good (as is the case at all of Ethan Stowell's restaurants), but I don't know that I'd go out of my way to get there - I dine out 8-10 times a week and have only ever been there twice.

            Ultimately, you aren't going to go wrong no matter which restaurants you choose - this city just has soooooo many "high points" foodwise, it'd take forever to experience all of them. It's become a full-on movement at this point. It all boils down to what's important to you. A&O is great if you're wanting to integrate pasta with your seafood, I'll give it that.

            1. re: Quintious

              thanks quintious for your insights. I know I am splitting hairs because all of these places will be great! Have you tried boat street cafe? My co worker just came home from Seattle and has been raving about it. BTw...I am not set on "just Italian" food....I want to sample things that I could not get anywhere else. I am sold on Seastar and Spinasse...but have one more night for dinner. Another poster mentioned Altura which looks I am thinking Altura or BSC for our last night.

              1. re: italiana3

                Altura is a high point - though if you'll be here before the end of the month, I'd take Rover's over that every time (Rover's is closing at the end of the month so its owner can become a reality TV chef).

                Boat Street's very good; I don't know that I'd ever go out of my way to go there though, either. Portion sizes are a bit on the small side and I don't know that the food necessarily measures up to some of the other "farm-to-table" concept restaurants in the area (ie their sister restaurant Walrus & the Carpenter, Terra Platta, 10 Mercer, etc.). If I was setting out for French food, and Rover's was already gone, I'd likely be more apt to go to Place Pigalle.

                1. re: Quintious

                  Is your claim that Thierry is going to be a reality TV chef based on actual information or just extrapolating from his appearances on Top Chef franchises? I have heard he is opening another restaurant. Not that he can't do both, just wondering if this is information or rumor.

                  1. re: babette feasts

                    He's created a show called 'Kitchen Circus' that has been actively marketed to some of the cable channels. It's a cross between Hell's Kitchen and Masterchef from what I could tell.

                    To my knowledge, nobody picked it up for this season, but it's an active process.

                      1. re: Quintious

                        But that doesn't mean it is his full-time future focus. Just a fun side project.

                        I know Thierry, and show biz is in his nature, just as running restaurants and being a great chef is:)

                        There will be another restaurant, trust me.

                        1. re: Quintious

                          Oh yeah, forgot about that. I had the same impression as gingershelley, that it was just a side project or one-off thing.

                          I guess we'll see sooner or later!

                    1. re: italiana3

                      I like Boat Street a lot. They have an amazing happy hour Tu/Wed/Thurs 5-7. When I went a few weeks ago we had oysters (with the best mignonette I've had in ages), brown butter prawns, pickles prawns, tartine, clafouti for was lovely and a great deal.

              2. Spinasse is excellent but it doesn't have a seafood focus. Other places to consider, Altura, which was a James Beard semifinalist for Best New Restaurant last year and chef Nathan Lockwood was a semifinalist this year for best chef northwest. Altura got a rare 3.5*/4 review from the Seattle Times critic Providence Cicero, who also named Altura first on her list of 10 favorite restaurants of 2012. Altura was one of my favorite meals of the last year as well.

                1 Reply
                1. re: klsalas

                  Sorry I got sidetracked and didn't mean to post in that state.

                  I meant to add that Altura is Italian but has a bit more seafood than Spinasse.

                  Did you consider Walrus and the Carpenter? It is not Italian fusion. At its heart it is an oyster bar but they have a number of small plates with a strong seafood focus. It is a reasonably simple and small but very appealing whitewashed restaurant in the back of a renovated early 20th Century building in the Ballard neighborhood (in fact right behind Ethan Stowell's Staple and Fancy.

                  Recently Bon Appetit has included them in their (highly debated) listing of the most important restaurants in America. Regardless they have received a lot of national press from Bon Appetit to GQ and the NYT and glowing reviews from all of the Seattle critics as well as diners. On Urbanspoon they have 4.5* and a 93% approval rating based on 610 votes. Zagat rating is 27/30 (extraordinary). They have 4.5*/5 on Yelp based on 465 reviews.

                  I would skip Tolouse Petit unless you are particularly interested in New Orleans cajun/creole. Don't get me wrong. They get excellent reviews. It just depends on what you want to eat.

                2. Rover's is down in the Madison Valley. T.R is an excellent chef but I wouldn't take Rover's over Altura (which also has the benefit of being Italian).

                  Renee Erickson has been getting most of her attention for Walrus and the Carpenter (and now Whale Wins) but Boat Street is where you will find her most often. It is a suprisingly beautiful restaurant and the food is excellent. On Zagat's it gets 26 with 4.5* and 92% approval on Urbanspoon and 4.5* on Trip Advisor. She was a James Beard semifinalist this year for Best Chef NW.

                  This is from Food and Wine's 2012 Empire Builders
                  Chef Renee Erickson

                  Boat Street Café, The Walrus and the Carpenter, The Whale Wins, Seattle

                  Why She Won
                  Because she translates her obsession with just about everything from the ocean into unfussy, delicious dishes.

                  The Empire
                  Erickson offers French-grandmother cooking at Boat Street Café; superfresh oysters at The Walrus and the Carpenter; and at the newly opened The Whale Wins, ingredients cooked in a giant wood-fired Mugnaini oven. Up next: Narwhal, a roving seafood truck.

                  On The Whale Wins
                  “The wood oven forces you to cook in a different way. No sautéing!” 3506 Stone Way N.

                  On Narwhal
                  Before the end of the year, the 1960s milk truck will be stopping around town selling smoked-fish salads.


                  I have never heard 10 Mercer come up before on anybody's list of memorable or top Seattle restaurants. I haven't been for years and last time I went I found it mediocre at best. Things change with restaurants and since I haven't been recently I can't rule out that it has changed but it certainly isn't getting impressive marks on Zagat (22), Urbanspoon (78% approval), Yelp, TripAdvisor etc. or any kind of critical buzz.