After Arriving at Seattle's Port, Cruise to These Outstanding Eateries

Cruise ships have been known to churn out some pretty tasty spreads these days, but it's still a relief for many travelers to reach terra firma where the food options are vast and varied. Seattle has evolved into a highly respectable foodie town, and visitors will delight in the many exotic flavors that contribute to the Emerald City's expansive culinary scene. Thanks to the location of both cruise ports close to downtown, passengers will find countless dining options within walking distance from the ports, and even more choices can be found after a short bus or taxi ride.  

It's no surprise that many restaurants on this list center around the seafood delicacies found in the Pacific Northwest (but if you're not craving something from the sea, never fear!). Diners can get their fill of lobster, crab, shrimp, oysters, salmon, halibut and more at Seattle standards like Elliott's Oyster House and Ivar's. Other venues offer scrumptious dishes featuring global flavors ranging from Italian and Thai to Latin American. A couple of these restaurants are family-friendly, while several are fine-dining establishments that provide an elegant setting for a special night out on the town. Be sure to check out each eatery's happy hour menu if you're looking for a more casual experience. 


Six Seven Restaurant & Lounge
Photo courtesy of Six Seven Restaurant

As Seattle's only true waterfront hotel, The Edgewater Hotel dazzles with its picture-perfect location overlooking Elliot Bay and the Olympic Mountains. At this rustic-meets-modern lodge where roughly half of the hotel's 223 rooms offer stunning Bay views (the remainder face the iconic skyline), guests enjoy the Pacific Northwest-inspired decor and spectacular on-site dining at Six Seven, where patrons savor scrumptious fare inside or out. Aside from sensational panoramic views in the light-filled dining room, Six Seven visitors find teal booths, funky wood panel walls, subtly elegant chandeliers, a central stone fireplace and faux-industrial tree fixtures that bring a whimsical bent to a classy space. Savor outstanding options like the lox or "Seasonal Farm Fresh Omelet" at breakfast time; later indulge in the "Roast Penn Cove Mussels," breading-less crab cakes, cedar plank salmon and, a must-try, the gorgonzola-crusted filet mignon, adorned with forager mushroom ragout, asparagus, potato crisp and natural jus.


As the name suggests, this cozy Belltown outpost is a sustainable restaurant and food producer that fiercely promotes local sourcing. At this popular eatery based in the heart of downtown (at the corner of 1st and Bell), chefs make beautiful, flavorful dishes with fresh and seasonal ingredients, the majority of which come from within a 360-mile radius of Seattle. Restaurant staff members say, "We believe that local produce, mea, and grains are more than mere vehicles for nutrients, but vital parts of the intricate system that supports our environment and the good folks who live here." Start with the deviled eggs, PB&J bon bons or a delectable beet salad, before tucking into heartier dishes like braised rabbit leg and vegetable ragout, smoked pork shank or heirloom farro with sugar pumpkin, mascarpone and mushrooms.

Ivar's Acres of Clams
Photo courtesy of Ivar's Acres of Clams

Ivar's recently unveiled a massive transformation at its flagship location on Pier 54, located on Seattle's waterfront overlooking Elliott Bay. The stunning remodel, the biggest in the storied eatery's 77-year history, means expanded indoor dining space, a brand-new outdoor patio, enhanced state-of-the-art kitchen and a completely refreshed interior that pays homage to the iconic restaurant's roots. If you prefer dining alfresco, enjoy a meal on the picture-perfect patio deck, while taking in the sights and sounds of Elliott Bay. To satisfy your craving for Northwest seafood, Ivar's chefs have created award-winning preparations to reflect the season's bounty, yet they continue to showcase Ivar Haglund's world-famous original recipes. Choose between dishes that feature wild Alaska salmon, deep-water halibut, Alaska King Crab, Dungeness Crab, jumbo prawns, manila clams and weathervane scallops, to name a few of the eatery's fresh, regional delights.

Aqua by El Gaucho
Photo courtesy of AQUA by El Gaucho

A bright, open space with sculptural lighting and barrel-backed chairs invites guests to check out great views and a wonderful, seafood-based menu. Although options change depending on what's fresh, you may find oven-roasted Manila clams to start or Northwest oysters served with grapefruit tequila sorbet. Main courses include lobster risotto, Thai seafood stew and sesame-seared sea bass. If you prefer meat, there's 28-day dry-aged Niman Ranch All-Natural Prime Certified Angus Beef® and custom-aged Certified Angus Beef® Tenderloin Filets, personally selected by John Tarpoff. Vegetarians are pleased by plank-roasted vegetables, and desserts are eminently rich and satisfying no matter what you choose. In the mood for some music? Live piano music is a nightly treat from 6 p.m on.

Boasting great views (of the stunning skyline and the enthralling waterfront) and an expansive dining area with several distinct venues, this branch of the Anthony's chain is inviting and bright. It also offers outdoor dining when the weather cooperates. The menu features a cornucopia of fresh, well-prepared Northwestern seafood. Among the dishes you'll find are lobster, salmon, Dungeness crab cakes, coconut prawns and Alaskan halibut. The restaurant also has a good selection of desserts, and cheesecake rates especially high on the list. (Also find in this multi-tiered building: Anthony's Bell St. Diner and Anthony's Fish Bar.) Anyone up for some seafood restaurant-hopping?

This once-tiny restaurant, greatly expanded in 2007, offers incredible views of the Market and the Puget Sound, courtesy of huge, semicircular windows. Flawless seafood is the name of the game, and it's collected fresh from vendors below. Oyster sandwiches, often eaten at the counter, are much-coveted at lunch, and dinner calls forth such delicacies as tortilla-crusted Alaskan halibut, pan-roasted wild salmon and mussels steamed with chorizo, charmoula and cava. In the evenings, the atmosphere is candlelit and romantic, although tables are at a premium. Don't leave without decadent desserts that create a perfect ending to a fantastic meal; choose between delights like the Candy Bar Square and Ginger Citrus Bread Pudding.

Elliott's Oyster House
Photo courtesy of Mike Urban, Courtesy Elliott's Oyster House

True to its handle, this waterfront establishment (at Pier 56) has long been serving up spectacular views of bustling Elliott Bay along with delicious oysters (more than 30 varieties). The interior is cozy enough to accommodate lots of folks, especially if a laid-back, casual meal is on the slate, but patio dining is the place to be when the sun's shining . If you're on your own, sidle up to the 21-foot oyster bar for convivial dining. Menu highlights include the aforementioned oysters (prepared just about any way imaginable), crab, lobster and more. The venue also boasts an excellent wine list, local brews and a highly desirable happy hour menu. Since sustainability is particularly important to the owners, Elliott's works with local oyster growers and fishery partners who share a commitment to preserving the planet.

Tavolata (Belltown)
Photo courtesy of Geoffrey Smith

In Belltown, Ethan Stowell has done it once again by wowing diners at his Italian gem Tavol?ta. Here, pasta reigns--from rigatoni to casarecce, conchiglie to linguini. A restaurant whose name means "to gather around a table," Tavol?ta is an ideal space for large parties and private events. Monthly Sunday Feast dinners mean four-course family meals served at the communal table (that seats up to 26 diners), perfectly embodying the venue's philosophy. Enjoy nightly happy hours (from 5 to 7 p.m.) as well as dishes like brushcetta and salumi boards to start, rigatoni and potato gnocchi for pasta dishes, salmon and beef short ribs as entrees and grilled carrots as a side.


Funky and hip, this recently refreshed Italian eatery features rustic food and boasts live entertainment in the adjacent lounge. The interior has a certain bohemian charm, but the best area to dine is on the rooftop deck, which affords a magnificent view of Puget Sound. To start a meal, begin with bruschetta or the antipasto plate of savory morsels. Entrees include Tuscan grilled chicken, gnocchi with wild mushrooms, roasted pork loin and Muscovy duck. You'll find a range of pastas; also look for a daily risotto special that's usually a great bet! Comforting desserts include such fare as "Chocolate Ooey-Gooey" and apple-hazelnut cake.

Bookstore Bar
Photo courtesy of Bookstore Bar

At the Alexis Hotel, just off downtown's Madison Street and close to Pioneer Square, the cozy yet hip Bookstore Bar & Cafe stocks its shelves with impressive reading material and an extensive stash of Scotches, bourbons and whiskies. Executive Chef Eric Rivera sends out delectable, locally-fueled dishes. "It's an exploration of the whole flavor spectrum, where you can go from sweet to savory to sour in one bite," he explains. "We have all these great local ingredients at our disposal, and we'll be highlighting flavors of the Pacific Northwest – but in a way that will feel fresh and new to locals and visitors alike." Highlights range from weekday breakfast spreads and weekend brunch to a coveted happy hour (daily from 3 to 5 p.m.).


Meet Corinne Whiting

Corinne hails from the other Washington, where she caught the travel bug early on. Corinne studied abroad in Strasbourg, France (undergrad) and in Edinburgh, Scotland (graduate school). She's...  More About Corinne