Best Cheap Seafood Restaurants in Seattle
Well, that’s changing a little at a time. North Lake Union has always been open to gentrification because it has beautiful views of Downtown Seattle.
Ivar’s Salmon House is one of the best places for tying up and grabbing a bite. They have a dock with room for about 10 – 15 small crafts… or so… that’s my guess, but a swank yacht could crowd out other sailors of more modest means. And, I’ve seen that happen from time to time.
Anyway, you will find the same yummy food as the other Ivar’s fish bar, and you will also have a truly amazing view of many small sailboats skipping around in the wind… with the Space Needle in the background. Need I remind you to bring your good camera?
Why we love the Salmon House Fish Bar:
- They have rustic outdoor seating on the water. (Unfortunately, there is traffic noise from the Freeway Bridge. Ignore it and gaze at the water.)
- The visual experience at Lake Union is even better here than at the other Ivar’s. Munch away while ogling splendid views of the Space Needle, Downtown Seattle, and Sleepless-in-Seattle style houseboats.
- I like to watch the ever-changing assortment of hungry people coming off high-end yachts, creaky old cabin cruisers, and everything in between.
- If you’re in the mood, you can take your food to nearby Gasworks Park for a picnic.
Little Chinook’s (shin-ooks)
Little Chinook’s is the outdoor, to-go section of Chinook’s at Salmon Bay. This fish bar is near the new Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Pier 91, but it’s not within walking distance, in my opinion. It’s also near Ballard, Magnolia, and Queen Anne Hill, if you're in any of those areas.
Little Chinook’s has salmon, cod, or halibut fish 'n chips, and they also have prawns and clam strips. Their cheap patio furniture is tacky, but it’s very cool to eat on the deck by Fisherman’s Terminal, home to several fishing boats from the Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch. And, if you don't want to eat outside, Chinook’s alder-planked salmon is reasonably priced at lunchtime.
Spud’s Fish n Chips at Alki or Greenlake
Spud's is a Seattle institution. The fish at Spud’s can be good or so-so depending on the day, however the last few times I ate there I left with a smile, so they must have read a few online reviews. Both Spud's are located at Seattle’s main outdoor social spots:
- Alki: You can eat inside and have a view of Puget Sound from across the street, or you can take your fish 'n chips out to Alki Beach and eat al fresco (think picnic).
- Greenlake: You can eat inside or take your food out by the lake for a cheap meal with a view. (Yes, I know that the park's name is supposed to be Green Lake, but no one from here spells it as two words.)
Hey, looking for the best cheap food is a bit of a sport in Seattle. We live in a seaport, so we demand freshness. We live in an expensive city, so we demand reasonably priced alternatives.
Ivar’s, Chinook’s, and Spud’s are all home-grown Seattle institutions… just like Starbucks and Microsoft… only less well known.
And, all of my fave cheapo joints come with a water view or can be taken to a nearby park with a water view. So why pay extra to see the same thing the clueless tourists pay top dollar for?
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