Pike Place Market.
When you’re this close to the water, it’s a crime not to savor the seafood. Ivar’s Acres of Clams on Pier 54 is a kind of headquarters for a clam chowder chain that’s been dishing up—and deep-frying—seafood since 1938. Dine inside, or grab chowder or fish and chips outside next to the statue of founder and fisherman Ivar Haglund.
The chic new Westward on the north shore of Lake Union takes a different take on water-based cuisine; there’s Greek flair to the small plates and a whimsical nautical theme in the restaurant. Look for the wall of captain portraits inside and a firepit outside.
Farther up the Ship Canal, the waterway that links lakes Union and Washington, Agua Verde Paddle Club and Cafe offers a casual, Mexican brand of seafood. The beachy shack also rents kayaks, best tried after Alaskan cod and shrimp enchiladas but before margaritas.
Seafood gets a little fancier at the Walrus and the Carpenter, a fabulous and incredibly popular oyster bar in Ballard. Wait times can last two hours, but the fresh oysters and fried Brussels sprouts are worth the agonizing delay.
Ballard’s other superstar fish joint has the sunset on lock: Ray’s Boathouse faces squarely west, so both the fine-dining first floor and casual second-story bar get killer views as the sun drops below the Olympic Mountains.
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