West Coast Seafood Dives
Sample the Pacific’s rich offerings at casual eateries from salmon country to San Diego.
Breakers Pub, Prince Rupert
What to expect: Try the halibut chowder and the fish-and-chips made from local lingcod.
Check it out: 117 George Hills Drive; 250/624-5990 or breakerpub.ca
Flying Beaver Bar & Grill, Richmond
What to expect: The restaurant sits a short taxi or shuttle ride from Vancouver International Airport and only a five-minute walk from the small South Terminal. Even meat-and-potatoes fans love the salmon burgers.
Check it out: 4760 Inglis Drive; 604/273-0278 or markjamesgroup.com/flyingbeaver.html
The Shady Rest Waterfront Pub & Restaurant, Qualicum Beach
What to expect: Beer-battered fish-and-chips (halibut or cod) in a former truck stop in a seaside village.
Check it out: 3109 W. Island Highway; 250/752-9111 or shadyrest.ca
Go Fish, Vancouver
What to expect: At a blue, corrugated-steel shack at the public fish sales dock, something extraordinary is being served. Take a spot in the long line for crispy fish-and-chips, oyster po’boys, wild salmon burgers, and grilled albacore sandwiches―all using local-caught seafood and served on a no-frills waterfront patio. It’s worth the wait.
Check it out: 1505 West First Avenue; 604/730-5040
Rodney’s Oyster House, Vancouver
What to expect: Tremendous variety of oysters, raw or pan-fried.
Check it out: 1228 Hamilton Street; 604/609-0080 or rodneysoysterhouse.com
Bandon Boatworks, Bandon
What to expect: Pretty view at the mouth of the Coquille River, and a nice variety of locally caught seafood.
Check it out: 275 Lincoln Avenue Southwest; 541/347-2111
Pacific Oyster, Bay City
What to expect: The café at this waterfront seafood-processing plant supplies great food and live entertainment. Big windows let diners watch oysters being shucked (with incredible speed) and packed. Not surprisingly, the menu emphasizes oyster dishes, including a wonderful, rich stew, plus several variations of fish-and-chips.
Check it out: 5150 Oyster Drive; 503/377-2330 or pacseafood.com/locations/baycity.html
Tidal Raves Seafood Grill, Depoe Bay
What to expect: The kitchen does a superb job with such West Coast stalwarts as cioppino and pan-fried oysters. “Superb” doesn't do justice to the oyster spinach bisque.
Check it out: 279 Northwest Highway 10; 541/765-2995.
Pirate’s Cove Restaurant, Garibaldi
What to expect: While you wait for the clam fritters and eggs, or the Alaskan halibut burger topped with flame-roasted peppers, or the grilled Tillamook Bay oysters, or the triple-whammy dungeness, king, and snow crab platter, let your thoughts drift over Tillamook Bay and across to the Bayocean Peninsula.
Check it out: 14170 U.S. 101 North; 503/322-2092
Righetti’s Sporthaven, Harbor
What to expect: Start your day with a crab or shrimp omelet breakfast.
Check it out: 16372 Lower Harbor Road; 541/469-5200
Chowder Bowl at Nye Beach, Newport
What to expect: Try the namesake house specialty, of course.
Check it out: 728 Northwest Beach Drive; 877/433-9881 or newportchowderbowl.com
Scampi's Fish Wagon, Harbor
What to expect: A trailer-turned-kitchen huddles in a corner of a parking lot. The fried fish, most of it caught that morning, comes lightly battered, nongreasy, and delicious.
Check it out: 16333 Lower Harbor Road; 541/412-9530
Mo’s Restaurant, Newport
What to expect: The original in an Oregon chain renowned for New England-style (creamy) clam chowder.
Check it out: 657 Southwest Bay Boulevard; 541/265-7512 or moschowder.com
Newport Chowder Bowl, Newport
What to expect: Tasty fish-and-chips and excellent chowder in the funky, fun Nye Beach neighborhood.
Check it out: 728 Northwest Beach Drive; 541/265-7477 or nyebeach.org/chowder.html
The Riverhouse Restaurant, Pacific City
What to expect: Steamer clams simmered in garlic butter, parsley, and vermouth lend new meaning to the term “rich.” The clam chowder comes spiked with paprika and laced with cream. If you still have room, try the Dungeness crab or Pacific shrimp sandwiches, broiled open faced on a French roll and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.
Check it out: 34450 Brooten Road; 503/965-6722 or riverhousefoods.com
Norma’s Ocean Diner, Seaside
What to expect: Excellent clam chowder and pan-fried local oysters.
Check it out: 20 North Columbia; 503/738-4331 or normasoceandiner.com
South Beach Fish Market (Lighthouse Deli and Fish Company), South Beach
What to expect: Try the fish-and-chips combo for a good sampler of halibut, salmon, and tuna.
Check it out: 3640 Southwest Highway 101; 541/867-6800 or southbeachfishmarket.com
Landmark Restaurant & Bar, Yachats
What to expect: Clam chowder, Dungeness crab cakes, fresh-caught fish-and-chips, and blufftop views of a Pacific Ocean cove.
Check it out: 111 U.S. Highway 101 South; 541/547-3215
Storks Restaurant, Anacortes
What to expect: A restaurant in a bowling alley―with the best fish-and-chips in town.
Check it out: 2821 Commercial Avenue; 360/293-7500
The Harbour Public House, Bainbridge Island
What to expect: Seasonal menu always includes top-rated fish-and-chips.
Check it out: 231 Parfitt Way Southwest; 206/842-0969 or harbourpub.com
Landfall Restaurant, Port Townsend
What to expect: Summer (May through October) means barbecued salmon and halibut dinners cooked on an outdoor grill. The barbecued oysters and fish-and-chips also have their fans.
Check it out: 412 Water Street; 360/385-5814 or thelandfallresturant.com
The Tides Tavern, Gig Harbor
What to expect: Alaskan halibut fish-and-chips, clam chowder, and boat watching on the deck.
Check it out: 2925 Harborview Drive; 253/858-3982 or tidestavern.com
Athenian Inn, Seattle
What to expect: Nothing fancy here, but the fish-and-chips are superior in a town where the competition is high. Consider one of the Athenian’s tasty Filipino fish stews.
Check it out: 1517 Pike Place Market; 206/624-7166 or athenianinn.com
Chinook’s at Salmon Bay, Seattle
What to expect: The interior design is Warehouse Revival and the atmosphere Early Pandemonium, but this is the place Seattleites take visitors for authentic seafood. The vast menu features simple, unpretentious fare, such as fishermen’s cioppino, rockfish slathered with salsa fresca, and alder-planked salmon.
Check it out: 1900 West Nickerson Street; 206/283-4665 or anthonys.com/restaurants/info/chinooks.html
Ivar’s Salmon House, Seattle
What to expect: Among its salmon selections, this 35-year-old landmark serves only wild Pacific Northwest species―no farmed varieties. The menu includes an array of other fine fish choices.
Check it out: 401 Northeast Northlake Way; 206/632-0767 or ivars.net
The Lockport Cafe, Seattle
What to expect: Nice fish-and-chips and clam chowder in the historic Ballard neighborhood.
Check it out: 3005 Northwest 54th Street; 206/789-4865
Lowell’s Restaurant, Seattle
What to expect: A fixture for simply prepared regional seafood since 1908 at the famous Pike Place Market.
Check it out: 1519 Pike Place; 206/622-2036 or eatatlowells.com
Spud Fish & Chips, Seattle
What to expect: Known for its ling cod, but the halibut and oysters remain favorites, too. Grab a bowl of creamy seafood chowder and dive into incredible caloric glory.
Check it out: 2666 Alki Avenue Southwest; 206/938-0606 or spudfishandchips.com
Sunfish Seafood, Seattle
What to expect: Sunfish, a cash-only fish-and-chips stand on Alki Beach, provides a choice of Alaskan halibut, cod, or salmon. Like the rest of the fresh seafood (including prawns and oysters), it comes lightly breaded and not greasy. Also worth a taste: nicely flavored clam chowder.
Check it out: 2800 Alki Avenue Southwest; 206/938-4112
Breakwater Inn Restaurant, Sekiu
What to expect: Enjoy the fried Captain’s Platter and the views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Check it out: Highway 112; 360/963-2428.
The Three Crabs Restaurant, Sequim,
What to expect: Fresh Dungeness crab on Dungeness Bay.
Check it out: 11 Three Crabs Road; 360/683-4809 or the3crabs.com
Harbor Lights, Tacoma
What to expect: Famous for halibut and chips and buckets of steamed Puget Sound Manila clams.
Check it out: 2761 Ruston Way; 253/752-8600 or anthonys.com/restaurants/info/harborlights.html