For more than three decades, Arnies Restaurants have stood along the Washington shore like trustworthy lighthouses in Edmonds and Mukilteo. As for which spot has better views, well, you'd have to flip a coin. Color creeps across both dining rooms during sunset dinners. At the Mukilteo location, sweeping vistas of the Puget Sound provide views of Whidbey, Hat, and Camano Islands. In Edmonds, meanwhile, diners can peer out toward the snow-covered Olympic Mountains before diving into one of the restaurant's warm, hearty dishes.
Similar to those stunning backdrops, the food at Arnies exudes the Pacific. Weekly "fresh sheets" highlight the season's best offerings, but meals might begin with steaming bowls of Arnies clam chowder loaded with potatoes and bacon. Seafood platters are especially representative of the region: they feature golden-fried prawns, lingcod, sea scallops, and calamari. Still, the balanced menus boast plenty of land-inspired creations, including filet mignon served with a cabernet demi glace. Extensive wine selections round out the tasty experiences at both locations.
Scott's Bar & Grill doesn't just claim to source ingredients locally, but delivers on that promise throughout its menu. Dungeness Meadow Farm, Uli?s Famous Sausage, and Olympic Mountain Ice Cream are just a few of the sought-after producers throughout Washington and Oregon that make it onto Scott's menus, mainly for the quality of their goods. But Scott's keeps things local in other ways too, inviting in live musicians who play jazz and blues out on the patio every Tuesday evening. When it comes to everyone's favorite part of the night?eating?servers bring out orders of the signature house meatloaf covered in mushroom gravy as well as seared steaks and french dip sandwiches that pair well with the house's beer, wine, and cocktails. Yet the core menu also takes a back seat on the weekends, when brunch is the centerpiece with dishes such as dungeness crab and avocado benedict.
The Pacific Northwest is celebrated for its abundance of fresh seafood, which just so happens to be the specialty at Todd's Crab Cracker. Guests can settle in for an extensive spread that includes everything from raw oysters and steamed clams to lacquered king salmon. Crab lovers have no shortage options, either. The shellfish crops up in crab bisque, pan-seared crab cakes, and even stuffed into bacon-wrapped prawns, not to mention as the main event in entrees such as baked Dungeness crab au gratin. Abbreviated dishes fill the lunch menu, and Todd's Crab Cracker also offers catering for private events such as weddings or unsuccessful fishing outings.
A crisp Pacific breeze floats over Coho Cafe's patios, fanning guests as they sip signature cocktails and deconstruct towers of dungeness crab and avocado. It's as if the ocean wants to give each coastal location a big old pat on the back?and why wouldn't it? The chefs have surely earned it through their tireless commitment to quality Northwestern seafood, expressed in creative combinations such as cod tacos topped with three-bean chili and smoked-salmon fettuccine with dill-sorrel cream.
On cooler days, large rock fireplaces send their warmth through casual dining rooms defined by tropical colors, curved walls that undulate like mountain streams, and fish statues. A glance at the tables on any given night reveals everything from stuffed, roasted chicken to a classic New York steak in addition to the seafood?which still isn't enough variety for the chefs. The specials menu sports new dishes every two weeks to make use of seasonal ingredients and flavors. To pair with them, friendly servers can offer guidance in selecting among the wine list's variety of Northwestern and imported bottles.
The culinary artists at Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar grant palates the royal treatment with their smorgasbord of fresh, regionally sourced seafood and oysters, hearty steak-house cuisine, and all-star wine list, which earned the restaurant the Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator. With a storied resum? that includes manning the kitchen at the prestigious Palisade Restaurant, as well as appearances on Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Presents: American Gladiators, executive chef and owner John Howie focuses his culinary aesthetic on the cuisine of the Pacific Northwest while he experiments with exotic flavors from around the globe. His menu of refined dishes and homey meals furnishes stomachs with alluring flavors from both land and sea, as tasted in the sockeye-salmon poke, dungeness-crab risotto, and fire-grilled filet mignon.
Each Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar location surrounds guests in a cozy cocoon of blond woods and warm light?an ideal setting for polishing off plates of shellfish stews, steak and potatoes, and fresh ice cream and chocolate truffles. While admiring each restaurant?s sleek interior, diners can also enjoy the many notes found in Seastar?s 14-page wine list.
Who’s Cooking: Chef Princess Franada, who took over from founder and James Beard Award–winning chef Christine Keff in 2013.
Where to Sit: Slide into a banquette and people-watch through floor-to-ceiling windows, or enjoy the sunshine at a sidewalk table.
Dashi: a fish stock or broth used in Japanese cuisine that’s typically made with dried kelp and bonito flakes.
Mignonette: a sauce usually made of shallots, cracked pepper, and vinegar that’s often served over raw oysters.
While You're in the Neighborhood
Before: Browse unique sculptures and vintage machinery at Galen Lowe Art & Antiques (411 Westlake Avenue).
After: Sip on a craft beer at Brave Horse Tavern (310 Terry Avenue).