The Washington state coast boasts an abundance of wild salmon, bringing to the table an exceptional selection of the fish grilled to perfection atop cedar and alder planks. This method of cooking fish originated from the Pacific Northwest Native Americans and infuses seafood with a smokey richness from the fragrant wood, providing a dining experience like no other. For those visiting the area and wanting to sample the local speciality, here are the 10 best places to go in and around Seattle.
Set on the gorgeous Seattle waterfront with epic views of Elliott Bay, Elliott Oyster House has been serving some of the freshest seafood around since 1975. For starters, there are more than 30 varieties of oysters, but also succulent offerings of crab and lobster. As well as this, the restaurant delights the taste buds with its sustainable salmon, with options of the fish being grilled, cajun pan seared or alder planked, seasoned with the house rub and baked to perfection. The dishes are served with market vegetables and hearty oven-baked potatoes.
Chinook’s is run by the Anthony’s Restaurants seafood company since 1984, prioritizing exceptional quality seafood fare. In particular, the Salmon Bay location, situated in Seattle’s Fishermen’s Terminal, boasts a unique restaurant set in a casual atmosphere amongst one of the most historic and high-energy fishing ports in the area; since 1913, the North Pacific fishing fleet has called the bay home. If you’re in for a hearty fishermen’s breakfast, head on over for brunch on the weekends. Alternatively, pop by for lunch or dinner to sample the fresh variety of Northwest crab, fish ‘n’ chips, fish tacos, oyster stews and burgers. Naturally, it is the Northwest wild salmon that draws in the hungry diners, with the alder-planked option served with smoked sweet pepper beurre blanc being a local favorite.
Located inside the upscale Edgewater hotel on the edge of the water, Six Seven in downtown Seattle offers a range of cuisines, including Pacific Northwest, Pan-Asian and regional American flavors. The menu is constantly rotating, serving a range of delectable culinary inspirations in an elegant setting with stunning views of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. Alongside brunch, diners can taste Dungeness crab, shrimp cakes, miso glazed black cod and, of course, cedar-planked king salmon, which is a five-star option that signals exactly why this restaurant is one of the best for seafood in the area.
From the outside, Ivar’s Salmon House looks nothing special, yet once inside, visitors are graced at a stunning cedar replica of a Pacific Northwest longhouse. Featuring some of the best seafood in this part of the world, alongside it’s legendary clam chowder, since 1938, this dining destination has been feeding hungry fish lovers for decades. Favorite daily entrées include selections that are cooked on an open-pit Native American-style barbecue, with salmon naturally being the fish of choice. For those looking to taste real cedar plank, the ‘red’ sockeye maple glazed and served with Washington apple-sweet onion marmalade and cornbread pudding will not disappoint.
The menu at Palisade incorporates Polynesian influences and is the perfect spot to host a special occasion. With incredible views of the cityscape and Elliott Bay, seafood dishes such as large king crab, grilled prawns, Dungeness crab cakes and mahi mahi can be enjoyed at this renowned establishment. However, it is the cedar-plank offerings that really stand out. For those looking to sample the best of Washington’s state dish, look no further than the cedar-plank British Columbia king salmon, cooked to perfection alongside lobster and squash risotto, grilled broccolini and pickled fennel. Naturally, the seafood entrées can be paired with a wide selection of appropriate tipples.
If you wish to dine at Herbfarm Restaurant, you must book in advance in order to sample the crème de la crème of Pacific Northwest fare. Many consider the establishment to be the best restaurant in the state, and the strictly regional focus mark it out to be the sustainable dining experience in the area. For those looking to indulge, settle for the nine-course meal and expect to spend at least five hours sampling local seafood and seasonal vegetables. Salmon is naturally also on the menu.
Ray's Café Deck | Courtesy of Ray’s Boathouse & Café
Located on Seattle’s stunning waterfront, complete with a beautiful deck right on Shilshole Bay, Ray’s Boathouse offers some of the best seafood in town. A long-standing business, the restaurant began as a humble dockside café back in 1939 and has evolved over the decades to serve high-quality regional cuisine focusing on Northwest products. As well as being the first place to introduce Olympia oysters, it specializes in salmon dishes that continue to draw in the crowds every day. From the delicate pineapple salmon salad, to the blackened wild keta salmon sandwich with grain mustard aioli and avocado, visitors will not be disappointed with the wide range of pink fish on offer.
AQUA by El Guacho has been named as one of the top 10 seafood restaurants in America, and it’s easy to see why. As diners are surrounded by walls of glass exposing breathtaking views of Elliott Bay, the extensive menu highlights the very best of fine dining. While there is a slew of mouthwatering meat options, it is the seafood that really stands out. From the seared shashimi grade ahi tuna to the plancha seared scallops and barents sea red king crab legs with black truffle aioli, there are fish options to cater to every taste. Naturally, as the restaurant works to pluck seasonal produce from the sea, cedar-plank salmon is also available at the right time of the year. Complete your meal with a glass from the extensive wine list and a selection of shareable sides such as lobster mashed potatoes, sautéed chanterelles or crab macaroni and cheese.
Salty’s Seafood Grills is a trendy spot boasting sweeping views of Elliott Bay and the skyline. Voted as one of the best Sunday brunches in the city and the best waterfront restaurant year in and year out, it really is the place to go for award-winning seafood cuisine. Plus, its a great place if you want to impress with the stunning view of the glowing Seattle cityscape at night. As ever, the menu is changing with succulent cuts of salmon, cod, sablefish and rockfish rotating seasonally. The king salmon here is particularly attractive, originating from the Columbia River and served with smoked shiitake, arugula, crispy pork belly and whipped potatoes. For lunch, the restaurant offers a large range of equally delicious burgers and sandwiches, as well as soups and salads to keep appetites satisfied.
Whether you’re lounging in the upbeat Raw Bar or in the upscale dining room, the food at Seastar will keep you coming back for more. The speciality items here are plank salmon, of the alder and cedar variety of course, with the latter being served with the chef’s famous salmon rub, smoked broccoli, citrus rice and wheat berries. Alternatively, go for tantalizing options such as hardwood-grilled swordfish, hazelnut-grilled rainbow trout or mahi mahi with pineapple-pomegranate relish. Alongside the seafood menu, meats are also available as well as vegetarian options such as the zucchini linguine, served with artichoke hearts, calamata olives and toasted peanuts.