AAA Travel Tips / Seattle, Culinarily Speaking

Seattle, Culinarily Speaking

AAA/Katie McPhee
By AAA Travel Editor Katie McPhee
July 31, 2018
Don’t be fooled into thinking that a city associated with Starbucks puts more emphasis on its coffee than its food scene. Seattle restaurants place fresh, sustainable seafood and locally sourced ingredients front and center, showcasing the best the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Check out this guide for some of the top local restaurants and foodie experiences in Seattle.
Exterior sign for the Dahlia Lounge restaurant in Seattle, Washington.
AAA/Katie McPhee
Dahlia Lounge
2001 4th Ave.
AAA Inspector Rating
(206) 682-4142
Try the best of Northwest cuisine at the Dahlia Lounge, a staple for fine dining in downtown Seattle. Owner Tom Douglas, a James Beard Award winner, opened the restaurant in 1989 and has since expanded with more than a dozen food concepts throughout the city. At the intimate and upscale Dahlia Lounge, menu selections celebrate the best of the Pacific Northwest, with fresh oysters, Dungeness crab cakes and applewood-smoked salmon. The desserts get rave reviews, too: don’t miss the “Triple Coconut Cream Pie” topped with white chocolate shavings and toasted coconut.
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Clam chowder in a bread bowl at Duke's Chowder House in Seattle, Washington.
AAA/Katie McPhee
Duke's Chowder House
901 Fairview Ave. N.
AAA Inspector Rating
(206) 382-9963
Seattle seafood restaurants are aplenty, so you’ll definitely want to sample something fresh from the sea when eating out. The Food Network named the clam chowder at Duke's Chowder House some of the best outside New England, and you can try the creamy, herby, bacon-infused recipe for yourself at one of Duke’s many locations, including their spot overlooking Lake Union. All ingredients are 100% sustainably sourced and free of anything artificial, and many menu items are gluten free.
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Bowl of clam chowder with oyster crackers on the side at Ivar's Acres of Clams in Seattle, Washington.
AAA/Katie McPhee
Ivar's Acres of Clams
1001 Alaskan Way.
AAA Inspector Rating
(206) 624-6852
If you’re looking for the best Seattle restaurants with a view and a chance to try the local cuisine, look no further than Ivar's Acres of Clams. Lunch and dinner selections are sure to please a range of appetites; you’ll find fish and chips (an Ivar’s classic since 1938), Northwest-style clam chowder, grilled salmon BLTs, steaks and plenty of fresh seafood and shellfish at Ivar’s. Recently renovated from top to bottom, the location on the downtown waterfront features a patio overlooking Elliott Bay and the bustling ferry docks.
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steak, asparagus, filet, dinner, beef, steakhouse
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Metropolitan Grill
820 2nd Ave.
AAA Inspector Rating
(206) 624-3287
Locals know the Metropolitan Grill, or “The Met,” as one of the best Seattle restaurants for out-of-town guests. Mahogany paneling and plush booths lend an intimate, romantic vibe, while a stellar menu offers all sorts of high-quality steaks. Make reservations to secure a seat, as the booths and bar fill up quickly with business people and the after-work crowd, especially during the weekday happy hour (3-6 p.m.).
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Plate of fish and chips on the outdoor patio overlooking the water at Ray's Cafe in Seattle, Washington.
AAA/Katie McPhee
Ray's Cafe
6049 Seaview Ave. N.W.
AAA Inspector Rating
(206) 782-0094
Venture to the Ballard neighborhood for superb seafood and waterfront dining. The outdoor patio at Ray's Cafe will make you feel as though you’re dining on a cruise ship balcony, with glass panels being all that separates you from the cool breeze coming off Puget Sound. The uninterrupted views pair perfectly with Northwest dishes like fish and chips, Alaskan king crab legs, clam chowder, scallop fettucine and grilled salmon. For upscale dining, head downstairs to AAA Three Diamond Ray's Boathouse.
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Tastings of pastries from Piroshky Piroshky during a Savor Seattle Food Tour in Seattle, Washington.
AAA/Katie McPhee
Savor Seattle Food Tours
1916 Pike Place
(206) 209-5485
The number of food stalls and specialty vendors in Pike Place Market can overwhelm even the most seasoned Seattle visitor. For help navigating the chaos, consider a guided tasting tour with Savor Seattle Food Tours. Knowledgeable guides will explain the market’s history and inner workings and take you to some of the best spots, including Ellenos Real Greek Yogurt, Piroshky Piroshky and Pike Place Chowder. You’ll skip the lines (which can be quite long!) and sample goodies from the top places to eat in Pike Place Market.
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