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Summer in Seattle: Waterfront Dining Around the City

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Summer in Seattle: Waterfront Dining Around the City

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What is summer in Seattle without waterfront dining and drinking? A drag, that’s what. Blue skies reflected in lakes and Elliott Bay, sunshine and cool breezes, the smell of the sea, the sound of water, the sights of busy harbors: You are missing out on the Northwest experience if you aren’t regularly visiting the water.

If you’re not in the mood to brave the crowds of the Downtown core and Pike Place Market, this list of waterfront dining in Seattle is for you. We have already given a list of locations that allow boaters to moor for dinner or lunch. Here’s a longer list of diverse options that allow you to enjoy the water in many forms throughout Seattle.

Agua Verde Café & Paddle Club


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We start with Agua Verde because it is such an institution for guests young and old, both for its food and kayak rentals. Perched on the U-District’s ship canal, it offers casual Mexican dining directly on the water, as people come and go from kayaking trips around Lake Union. For a fun, energetic and youthful vibe, it’s an ideal summer spot.

Little Water Cantina in Eastlake

Not directly on the water, but high up on a hill by a park overlooking Thunderbird Marina and a row of houseboats on Lake Union, Little Water Cantina opens from a dark interior to a wide, chic, breezy patio. For lunch, the kitchen offers up a menu of hearty tortas. For dinner, it’s straightforward, well-prepared Mexican cuisine. And of course plenty of margaritas.

Chandler’s Cove at South Lake Union

At the other end of Lake Union, adjacent to MOHAI, the Center for Wooden Boats and South Lake Union park, there is a cluster of retail and restaurants, including Daniel’s Broiler and Chandler’s Crabhouse. Explore the surrounding marina and adjoining businesses—you can make a day of it with the whole family.

Westward on South Lake Union


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Back near Gasworks park, Westward is an acclaimed destination dining spot with lots of outdoor seating right by the water, looking toward Downtown. The large, open doors and windows allow indoor diners to feel the breeze, too. We can’t recommend the seating behind the bar, though. (It’s way too hot, and you feel completely cut off from the exterior. Don’t allow yourself to be seated there unless you just HAVE to eat immediately and run.)

Chinook’s at Salmon Bay

Chinook’s is popular among families in the Queen Anne and Magnolia area, situated between the two neighborhoods in Fisherman’s Terminal. To the rest of the city, it might be considered a hidden gem, easily accessible and with plenty of parking. Its view of the shipping canal and wharf has a lively, northwest vibe. That gives it a vibe that is a little gritty and visually arresting—and the fish doesn’t get any fresher than this.

Ray’s and Anthony’s at Shilshole Bay


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Ray’s Boathouse and Anthony’s Homeport are adjacent establishments on Shilshole Bay, northwest of downtown Ballard and just south of Golden Gardens park. Ray’s has multilevel dining, including a top deck and reasonably priced seafood. Anthony’s has a quiet, enclosed outdoor patio on the water’s edge, perfect for enjoying a romantic sunset dinner or cheerful happy hour. Ample parking make both spots popular for families and couples, just slightly off the beaten path.

Maggie Bluffs by Elliott Bay Marina

On the southern edge of Magnolia, just beneath the swank Palisades, Maggie Bluffs serves up Americana, from the casual atmosphere to the comfort food. Chicken wings, nachos, tacos and sandwiches—it’s the sort of family-friendly fare you can find at numerous restaurants, but the view is extraordinary and worth the trip.

Six Seven at Edgewater on Pier 67

The Edgewater Hotel’s restaurant Six Seven has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, stretching to the end of the pier on Seattle’s Waterfront. Being at the north end of Alaskan Way, it has been far less affected by the construction on the seawall, the viaduct and around the ferry terminal (including the Bertha Boondoggle). It’s easy to access walking from downtown (or the Olympic Sculpture Park) but also has valet parking if you are driving in for a happy hour overlooking the water and the Olympics.

Bell Street Diner on Pier 66

Multiple restaurants in the Anthony’s chain are housed in one large complex on pier 66. This includes the more casual Bell Street Diner. It can get packed with tourists, but it has a homey, retro vibe that we really enjoy. (They will also validate your parking if you use the Art Institute Garage, which connects to the waterfront via a pedestrian overpass.)

Marination Ma Kai on Alki


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On the south end of Alki, immediately adjacent to the water taxi terminal in Seacrest Park, Marination Ma Kai is an insanely (and rightfully) popular Hawaiian-Korean restaurant. (It’s food truck, Marination Station was voted America’s Best Food Truck by Good Morning America!) With a broader menu (and booze-soaked shaved ice) the Marination Ma Kai is heaven for those who already love the food truck, but who have yet to trek over to West Seattle. The water taxi departing from pier 55 makes it easy to get there from downtown, but during peak hours on weekends, expect to wait for seating.

Salty’s on Alki

Last but far from least, Salty’s southeast of Seacrest Park looks over Puget Sound toward the bustling harbors downtown. It is frequently voted by its loyal fans as Seattle’s best waterfront restaurant in local polls—and national polls, too. It was chosen as the Nation’s Best Brunch by MSN-Citysearch.com and has become a culinary destination for many tourists. (There is even a shuttle service to the restaurant from some hotels downtown.) Fresh local fish, Maine lobster, sea breezes and stunning views of the Seattle skyline—it’s a must-visit for anyone who calls Seattle home…and those who will want to call it home and don’t know it yet.

Kim Colaprete

Kim Colaprete

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