With the popular Bite of Seattle festival each July and some of country’s finest wineries, Washington is the ultimate destination for foodies. The state is known for having some of the best quality seafood, both caught by local fishermen and imported from Pacific Ocean neighbors Japan and Alaska, and the unique restaurants scattered across its many waterways offer a dining experience like no other. Here are 10 restaurants on the Washington Waterfront that will make the trip worth it.
Aqua by El Gaucho
Restaurant, Diner, American, Seafood, $$$
Aqua by El Gaucho is located at Seattle’s Pier 70, on the Elliott Bay shore. It’s one of the city’s most luxurious restaurants, and with glass walls, you’ll experience amazing panoramic views along with your meal. There is piano music nightly from 5PM, adding another layer to the experience. Named one of Gayot’s Top Ten Seafood Restaurants in America and Washington State Wine Commission’s 2015 Restaurant of the Year, it serves exceptional seafood dishes, high quality 28-day dry-aged Angus Prime steaks, and an incredible selection of wines. Aqua is the perfect venue for special occasions and personal moments, with the option of dining in either the main area, the outdoor patio, or in a private dining room.
Bar, Restaurant, American, Seafood, $
Tugboat Annie’s is located in Olympia, Washington, and it’s one of the most laid-back restaurants featured on this list. The interior is cozy, with decorations that reference marine history, and you can get to it by land as well as by water. If you’re up and about in the early hours of the day, you should try the exciting breakfast special, which includes two hours of kayaking before and after the meal. There’s also a great bar and tasty, unique burgers, including salmon, Hawaiian, and blue cheese varieties.
Restaurant, American, $
Tides Tavern has been on a waterside deck in Gig Harbor, Washington, since 1973. The restaurant is a 21-and-over establishment and serves some of the greatest homemade food and the finest beverages, including draft beer, house wines, and seasonal cocktails. Dishes include clam chowder, original fish and chips recipes, sandwiches, salads, NW salmon, steaks, pizzas, and delicious burgers. To give your wallet a break, visit Monday through Friday during the daily happy hour and experience affordable refreshments in a relaxing environment.
Restaurant, Bar, American, Seafood, Vegetarian, $$$
Located along the water at Seattle’s Elliott Bay Marina, Palisade is an elegant seafood and steak restaurant with an Asian Fusion twist. The menu includes traditional steakhouse options as well as more contemporary and experimental dishes – innovative seafood options influenced by Hawaiian and Japanese flavors. Palisade serves dinner, brunch, and holiday buffets, and the restaurant is a great option for special occasions and romantic evenings. Be sure to try some of the amazing cocktails from the bar, which include special ingredients like house-made brandied cherries.
Westward & Gull
Restaurant, American, Mediterranean, Seafood, $$
Westward & Gull is a water-inspired restaurant with a seafood-driven menu, located on the north shore of Lake Union in Seattle. It opened in 2013, so it’s a fairly new spot, but it’s still one of the city’s trendiest. It is known for a seasonal, fresh, sustainable approach, serving innovative Northwest dishes with a Mediterranean twist. No matter where you sit, you’re guaranteed to have stunning cityscape and lake views. One of the most enjoyable places to dine is the outdoors deck with a fire pit and beach area, which is perfect for cocktails with friends or a romantic dinner date.
Elliott’s Oyster House
Restaurant, Seafood, $$
Like the name suggests, Elliott’s is an oyster bar, located on the waterfront of Elliott Bay in Seattle. The bar serves more than 30 fresh oysters, and the setting is cozy and laid-back. It’s perfect for a casual meal on your own or a evening out with a date. The menu is known for simple preparations that highlight the natural flavors of Pacific Northwest seafood and includes delights beyond oysters, like crabs, lobsters, and more. You’ll also get to enjoy a great wine list to go with your meal at Elliott’s. For the most fun, stop by between 3PM and 6PM on weekdays to enjoy the happy hour in the lounge.
Devoted Kiss Café
Devoted Kiss is a place for coffee, sandwiches, breakfast, and lunch. It’s one of the most popular (and beautiful) waterfront cafes in Gig Harbor. The menu includes freshly made dishes and baked goods, and 90% of what you order can be customized, including gluten-free options. The setting is small and intimate, which gives the place the warm feel of a home away from home. There are books and magazines that you can read while enjoying your meal, free WiFi, a nice fireplace, and seats on the deck with stunning views.
Duke’s Chowder House
Located on Tacoma’s waterfront, Duke’s has amazing views and a great atmosphere that makes it worth the experience. Its specialties are Wild Alaska seafood and all-natural chowders. Most of the menu is made up of seafood dishes, all prepared in different ways, but Duke’s also serves great burgers, which are made with 100% grass-fed beef. The seafood is some of the state’s freshest, and everything is sustainably caught, which has brought many awards and honors, including the highest rating among all seafood restaurants in the State of Washington by Fish2Fork, a leading evaluator of international seafood restaurants.
Dockside Bistro & Wine Bar
Wine Bar, Bar, Bistro, Restaurant, American, $$
Dockside Bistro is in Olympia, Washington, and serves great wine with an innovative, sustainable menu, featuring elements of Europe and Southeast Asia. It’s located on the popular downtown boardwalk, a destination known for art, music, and shopping. Dishes are made with locally sourced ingredients, and the restaurant has close relationships with local ranchers and shellfish farmers. The lunch menu is made up of soups, salads, and entrées, including lightly fried oyster tacos with mango salsa. For dinner, there’s seafood martinis, seared sea scallops, and Misty Isle Beef tenderloin skewers with shoyu butter sauce.
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