For the Seafood Lover in You

Category: seattlepi.com teaser headlines


When our office was in the Pike Place Market, the second-most-popular question tourists would ask when I was making a lunch run—after “Where is the original Starbucks?”—was “Where should we go for great seafood?” It was never an easy answer, because the truth is I can’t recommend one place. Most tourists want something within walking distance, so I’d ask what they were craving and what kind of experience they wanted. Down-home classics with a waterfront view? I’d send them to Ivar’s for fried clams or clam chowder. If it was salmon they wanted, I’d send them to Etta’s. If they seemed a little more adventurous, I’d recommend Steelhead Diner or Matt’s in the Market (especially now that a grilled version of that incredible seared tuna sandwich is back on the menu).

I pitied the tourists who would get me as their guide—all they wanted was some salmon, maybe some crab legs, but instead, they got a five-minute dissertation. Each time I got stopped, I hoped this time these folks would be willing to go a little deeper into the city. If I ever got those folks, I’d buy them lattes and take an hour to break down our seafood scene for them.

Thus was inspired this issue’s ultimate guide to the best seafood in Seattle. Everyone knows Seattle is renowned for salmon, crab and oysters, but only the locals also know where to get other Pacific Northwest seafood specialties, like smoked sablefish, fish tacos and razor clams. And we know that there isn’t just one good seafood restaurant but dozens that do a particular item really well.

The irony of all this? My husband has a shellfish allergy. My older son has inherited the “it smells icky” gene from his dad and won’t touch the stuff. That left my younger son. The first time he asked for fish and chips on a kids’ menu and gobbled them up, I knew I had found my seafood (and eating) buddy.

Even if you don’t like seafood, there’s plenty to bite into in this issue (such as the choicest pies at the best pizza places in town). And, despite a down economy, plenty of new restaurants opened in the last year . One of our winners really isn’t even a restaurant in the traditional sense:  Marination Mobile, whose hauntingly tasty Kahlúa pork sliders—only $2 each!—grace our cover this issue.
Marination and other shiny metal food carts have led the way in our white-hot mobile food scene, which we reported on in our April 2008 Best Restaurants issue and again in October 2009, after Marination and a fleet of other gleaming food trucks hit the streets. Their loyal diners are an adventurous, dedicated bunch who will hunt down their food (the carts’ whereabouts are posted on their Web sites), wait patiently in line and then perch on the nearest slab of concrete to dig in. If you don’t believe that people will wait an hour in line for sliders (or that there is any food worth standing in line an hour for), I urge you to attend one of our upcoming Mobile Chowdown events. These gatherings of the city’s best mobile food carts, which we coproduce with Suzuki+Chou Communimedia, prove that people are happy to wait when it’s worth it. Our third Mobile Chowdown took place March 13, but stay tuned to seattlemag.com for upcoming chowdowns and remember—you can always bring your own chair.

Until next month,