After more than 25 years in the Pike Place Market, you can still find Jack Mathers smoking fresh salmon and steaming Manila clams and Penn Cove mussels at Jack's Fish Spot. That Jack continues to play such a hands-on role in his establishment will come as no surprise to those who know him––in the shop's earliest days, the experienced fisherman attracted new customers by walking door-to-door handing out coupons for dungeness crab. That type of one-on-one customer service is one of the reasons regulars still ask Jack to help them select a piece of salmon or solicit his advice on everything from recipes to whether a shrimp cocktail should be shaken or stirred.
The fresh, take-home seafood pulls guests in, but the seafood bar inspires many to settle in for a lengthier stay. There, they can dig into dishes like cioppino, northwest-style clam chowder, or piping hot fish n' chips, made all the more delicious by the fact that someone else did all the work.
Sunlight streams in through the large windows that separate the frenzy of the Pike Place Market from the calming interior of Etta’s. Inspired by its proximity to the sea and comment cards filled out by area pelicans, the cozy bistro offers a variety of upscale seafood dishes for both dinner and brunch. Dungeness crab cakes grace both menus: in the morning they arrive on house-made english muffins topped with spinach and crab-butter hollandaise, while at night they’re paired with a wheatberry salad––perfect after an appetizer of tuna sashimi or steamed manila clams. Another brunch-dinner crossover is the grilled wild coho salmon, which is served with green beans and cornbread pudding, and flavored with Etta’s specialty “rub with love” spice rub, a product so popular it now can be found on specialty store shelves across the country.
After years of cooking along the shores of Maui and amongst capitol buildings of Olympia, Washington, Chef Leroy returned to Seattle to helm the kitchen at Branzino. Here, he sources the freshest ingredients available from local businesses including Corfini Gourmet and Frank?s Quality Produce in Pike Place Market. In the tradition of Italian cooking, these ultra-fresh ingredients shine in simple recipes such as tender, grilled octopus and wood-fired oven pizzas topped with cured meats made in-house daily. Servers can help guests find appropriate wine pairings from an extensive list of varietals that highlights the finest grapes of Italy and the Pacific Northwest.
You may think ordering classic fish and chips is easy, but at Pike Street Fish Fry, the difficult decisions have just begun. The expert fish fryers offer five types of battered and fried seafood to accompany their crispy pomme frites, with classic cod competing against oysters, catfish, and shrimp. Then there are the sauces: six of them in fact, starting with traditional tartar and including modern twists such as chili mayo and salsa verde. Diners also have the option to forgo convention and enjoy their breaded or grilled fish as a sandwich, a taco, or a pleasant, yet tight-lipped dining companion.
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).
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.