Seattle shines for countless reasons, but two of the biggest reasons to fall in love with this place? The surrounding mountains and the omnipresent water. No doubt about it, everything’s better when done on the edge of a sparkling lake or beside a tranquil bay. Seattle’s waterways abound and, thankfully, so do its waterside eateries.
Whether you’re downtown near the Great Wheel and Seattle Aquarium–or if you prefer to venture into the quainter neighborhoods–you’ll find great spots at which to savor the city’s rich flavors. Head to West Seattle for a laid-back beach vibe or the Eastside’s Kirkland for a romantic mini-getaway. (Many spots on our list make for the perfect date night or staycation destination, even if you reside right here in Seattle.)
Waterside restaurants dole out fresh seafood and seasonal fare, plus stunning views that can’t be beaten. Some venues have become a Seattle institution over the years, like The Edgewater Hotel, where Six Seven now serves some of the city’s most delicious dishes–and views.
Thanks to many of these venues’ picture-perfect locations near the downtown piers, passengers on ferries and cruise ships can easily indulge in a seafood feast before or after boarding their vessel.
Boasting great waterfront views and an expansive dining area with several distinct venues, this branch of the Anthony’s chain is inviting and bright. It also offers outdoor dining. The menu features a cornucopia of fresh, well-prepared Northwestern seafood that adapts with the season. Among the dishes, you’ll find are lobster, salmon, Dungeness crab cakes, coconut prawn and Alaskan halibut. The restaurant also has a good selection of desserts, and cheesecake rates especially high on the list. Panoramic views show off the downtown Seattle skyline, Mt. Rainier and Elliott Bay’s bustling boating scene. (If you’re in a hurry, try Anthony’s to-go fish bar.)
Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: On the Seattle waterfront, Anthony’s boasts great waterfront views and an expansive dining area in which to enjoy fresh, local seafood gems.
Corinne’s expert tip: Anthony’s Fish Bar is now open with heated, covered dining or outdoor patio dining (daily)! Guests place orders at the counter, and servers bring food and drinks to the table.
For nearly three decades, this restaurant, with its island accents and Polynesian-tinged menu, has been a popular destination at which to applaud a promotion, celebrate an anniversary or treat simply loved ones. Views of the city and Puget Sound draw diners’ attention, but the menu has a seductive appeal too. Its emphasis on Northwest cuisine is especially apparent in seafood. Large king crab legs are served on a cedar plank, as is salmon and a number of other entrees. Grilled prawns, Dungeness crab cakes, tuna and mahi mahi are also among the options you’ll agonize over. The creamy seafood chowder is an event in itself; make sure to try it.
Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: This special-occasion waterfront establishment in Magnolia serves views of bustling Elliott Bay along with its oysters– more than 30 varieties.
John’s expert tip: It’s a high compliment that some of the region’s finest chefs got their start at this venerable Seattle fine-dining seafood house with a wonderful waterfront view. Recent holidays have featured special to-go menus so that friends and families can celebrate together at home.
The view of the skyline is spectacular at this West Seattle hot spot, not far from Alki beach. The picture window offers a postcard-like vista. The only thing that may distract you from the scenery is Sunday brunch, regularly voted tops by Seattle’s citizens in local publications. Sit on the breezy wrap-around deck or the patio, and enjoy a massive array of options, including delectable homemade cinnamon rolls, muffins, scones, sausage, eggs benedict, crab, salmon, fruit, pizzas, salads, omelets, cakes, pies and so on. Salty’s also provides complimentary limo service from most downtown hotels. Make online reservations ahead of time to secure an outdoor table.
Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: Loyal fans have long flocked to Salty’s in West Seattle, known for its bountiful weekend brunch buffets and sweeping Puget Sound views.
Corinne’s expert tip: Consistently voted one of the best special-occasion brunch spots in the city, Salty’s offers a Sunday Brunch that includes piano tunes. Consider riding the water taxi across from downtown Seattle.
On the north shore of Lake Union, not far from Husky Stadium, Ivar’s Salmon House (reopening in mid-May) features a stunning cedar replica of a Northwest Native American longhouse, complete with an open-pit Native American-style barbecue for preparing alder-smoked dishes. Highlights here include a welcoming, waterside setting filled with Northwest native art, décor and historical photographs, plus a patio offering spectacular views of boats cruising Lake Union and Seattle’s skyline. Fare served includes alder-smoked salmon, prawns, alder-smoked chicken and seasonal seafood specials, and folks love the great happy hour steals as well as the beloved family tradition of Sunday brunch. The outdoor Fish Bar offers casual lakeside dining or quick take-out food.
Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: Not far from Husky Stadium, Ivar’s Salmon House offers a stunning cedar replica of a Northwest Native longhouse, a waterside deck and delicious, seafood-centric fare.
Corinne’s expert tip: The outdoor Fish Bar offers casual lakeside dining or quick take-out food here, too. During football season, check out seasonal cruises that travel between here and Husky Stadium.
Located at Miners Landing at Pier 57, The Fisherman’s Restaurant and Bar proves the perfect, scenic spot from which to indulge in fresh-from-the-sea delicacies in a casual setting. Chef Nick Novello joined Miners Landing in late 2018, following in the footsteps of his father (who ran operations for the Seattle-based company’s California locations). Today he proudly serves delicious creations and runs a variety of chef-driven sustainability projects that encourage the public to “get out and support wild fish.” Among the alluring menu options here: fresh-shucked local oysters, coconut prawns, crab toast on decadent sourdough bread (freshly baked onsite) and the chock-full Fisherman’s Cobb Salad (piled high with pork belly, smoked albacore, smoked salmon and more). Be sure to also try seasonal, local crab and salmon offerings.
Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: Located at Pier 57, The Fisherman’s Restaurant and Bar proves the perfect spot from which to indulge in fresh-from-the-sea delicacies prepared by Chef Nick Novello.
Corinne’s expert tip: While here, learn about the fascinating history of the pier, which played a significant role in the Seattle Gold Rush (1897-98). Miners Landing has been operated by the Griffith family since 1960 and owned by the family since 1980; today you can enjoy iconic PNW experiences here like riding The Great Wheel (which is especially enthralling at sunset).
In West Seattle, Marination Ma Kai brings the delectable flavors and happy vibes of Hawaii to a stunning beachside setting (near Alki). Pick up an unforgettable meal to enjoy alfresco until the patio opens up once again (check online for the latest updates.). The venue’s Hawaiian-Korean cuisine “melts delicate heat and the flavors of aloha together in [diners’] mouths,” while the expansive patio offers to-die-for skyline and water views. As the owners put it, “it started with a truck, some exquisite marinades and a lotta love,” and now, more than one million tacos and five years later, Marination has expanded to three separate venues and “one big aloha family.” Loyal fans rave about the Kimchi Fried Rice Bowl, spicy pork tacos, award-winning Pork Katsu Sandwich, the boozy shave ice bowls, hibiscus-tinged cocktails, the special tangy “NUNYA” sauce and so much more. At Marination, life is good!
Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: West Seattle’s Marination Ma Kai brings the delectable flavors of Hawaii to a stunning beachside setting; pick up food to enjoy on nearby Alki.
Corinne’s expert tip: Consider also picking up food from the downtown location (at 6th and Virginia) or from spin-off venue (Super Six) that draws loyal fans to Columbia City, too.
As Seattle’s only over-water hotel, The Edgewater Hotel dazzles with its picture-perfect location overlooking Elliot Bay and the Olympic Mountains. Property motto: “Where rock’n’roll history meets Pacific Northwest luxury.” At this rustic-meets-modern lodge where roughly half of the hotel’s 223 rooms offer stunning Bay views (the remainder face the iconic Seattle skyline), guests enjoy the Pacific Northwest-inspired decor and spectacular on-site dining at Six Seven, where patrons currently savor scrumptious fare in the lounge. (Check the website for the latest updates on opening hours.) Aside from sensational panoramic views in the light-filled dining room, Six Seven visitors find teal booths, funky wood panel walls, subtly elegant chandeliers, a central stone fireplace and faux-industrial tree fixtures that bring a whimsical bent to a classy space. Savor outstanding options that show off the region’s local bounty.
Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: At The Edgewater Hotel, guests enjoy the Pacific Northwest-inspired decor and spectacular on-site dining at Six Seven, where patrons savor scrumptious fare in the lounge.
Corinne’s expert tip: Enjoy daily Grab-N-Go Breakfast options to enjoy back in the comfort in your room.
A quintessential Seattle experience consists of having a meal at Ray’s. Views of the mountains and the water, especially during sunset’s glow, thrill diners almost as much as the cuisine. Located close to Golden Gardens, this venue makes the perfect dining spot after a wind-swept or sun-tinged day at the beach. While many dishes have Asian flair (like pan-seared scallops in green curry or kasu-marinated black cod), others revel in simple preparations, like oysters on the half-shell, crab cakes and grilled wild salmon. The downstairs venue offers upscale dining; the cafe upstairs is a bit more casual. A wonderful wine list ensures that you’ll have a terrific vintage to complement the food.
Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: Not far from the beaches of Golden Gardens (and Ballard), Ray’s Boathouse offers a friendly vibe, tasty fare and all-around quintessential Seattle experience.
John’s expert tip: Try the restaurant’s upstairs dining room (or bar area) for less of a wait; views might even be a bit more sensational up here, too.
One of the city’s favorite warm weather “hot spots,” Westward is a water-inspired, full-service restaurant and bar that first opened its sails in the fall of 2013 on the north shore of Lake Union. The talented culinary team sends out delectable, innovative dishes that balance contemporary Northwest and Mediterranean flavors with an approach called “natural and continually evolving, reflecting the simplicity of great products, fresh ingredients and the changing seasons.” A wood-burning oven anchors the kitchen, and each seat in the restaurant boasts stunning views of the lake and cityscape. Outside, a large deck, fire pit and beach area provide the ideal vantage point for sipping cocktails in the warmer months or for snuggling under wool blankets (provided by the venue) in the winter. A 150-foot dock provides boat parking or a place to tie up kayaks while enjoying plates of oysters or creative cocktails.
Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: North of Lake Union, Westwardl boasts tasty seafood dishes and stunning views from its patio (think fire pit and charmingly striped umbrellas).
Corinne’s expert tip: Enjoy happy hour, currently taking place Monday through Thursday from 4 to 5 p.m. Guests are invited to arrive by arrive by foot, vehicle, boat or kayak, thanks to the property’s on-site dock.
At Aqua by El Gaucho, bright, open spaces with sculptural lighting and barrel-backed chairs invite guests to check out great views and a wonderful, seafood-based menu. Although options change depending on what’s fresh, you may find oven-roasted Manila clams to start or Northwest oysters served with grapefruit tequila sorbet. Main courses include lobster risotto, Thai seafood stew and sesame-seared sea bass. If you prefer meat, there’s a rack of lamb, pork tenderloin and grilled steaks. Vegetarians are pleased by plank-roasted vegetables, and desserts are eminently rich and satisfying, no matter what you choose. Outdoor seating on the venue’s patio cannot be beat, and many classic dishes are now available to pick up and enjoy at home as well.
Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: Aqua by El Gaucho wows patrons with views of the Olympic Mountains across a twinkling Elliot Bay; many classic dishes are available for pick-up, too.
John’s expert tip: On a clear day, views of the Olympic Mountains across Elliot Bay are unbeatable, especially from the deck. Many of the restaurant’s classic dishes are now available to pick up and enjoy at home (Tuesday through Friday, from 5 to 8 pm, and Saturday from 4 to 8 pm).