12 Best Spots For Chowder In Seattle

The exact origins of clam chowder are debatable, but it is believed that this creamy soup originated in New England during the 1700s with French or British settlers. Today, chowder is classified as a thick soup or stew of seafood or vegetables, with a milk, cream, or tomato base. Although there are many variations of chowder (such as crab and corn chowder), clam chowder is undoubtedly the most popular. New England stakes a claim on this creamy seafood stew, which traditionally consists of clams, potatoes, onions, cream, and salt pork.

Clam chowder may be an East Coast thing, but the West Coast is also staking its claim in chowders — Seattle in particular. Situated on the Puget Sound, this city stays true to its maritime roots which shine through in its culinary scene. The Emerald City is home to some of the best seafood restaurants in the Pacific Northwest, many of which whip up a mean bowl of chowder. 

While you can find classic clam chowder around town, Seattle's seafood spots offer many variations of chowder, from salmon and crab to mixed seafood, as well as some vegetarian-friendly options. In Pike Place Market alone — a must-do in Seattle for first-time visitors — there are around a dozen spots to try chowder, with many more in the vicinity of the famous market and beyond. As a Seattle native who enthusiastically explores the city's culinary scene, I've found that few things beat a warm cup of chowder on a drizzly Seattle day. 

Pike Place Chowder

If you walk past this chowder shop in Pike Place Market's Post Alley, you're likely to see a long line winding into the street. Pike Place Chowder is certainly not Seattle's best-kept secret, but it is popular for good reason. This no-frills stand opened its doors in 2003 and has been serving up a hearty selection of delicious chowders ever since.

Stay classic with a cup of creamy New England clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl, or deviate and try one of Pike Place Market's twists on the classic. The variety is part of what makes this spot so intriguing. I'm a sucker for the smoked salmon chowder, which captures the flavors of the Pacific Northwest. The seafood bisque, which blends Pacific cod, Northwest salmon, and bay shrimp, is a close second.

The more curious eater may want to try the crab and oyster chowder or the seared scallop chowder. Pike Place Chowder caters to dietary restrictions with gluten-free Manhattan chowder and plant-based options like lime and coconut chowder. The shop also offers a daily special of fresh ingredients. If you can't make up your mind, go for the sampler and slurp your way through these famous chowders. Grab a bowl to-go and enjoy it overlooking Elliott Bay if you're at the original Pike Place location.


Multiple locations

Shuckers Oyster Bar

This iconic establishment prides itself on being one of Seattle's oldest oyster bars. Shuckers Oyster Bar is located in downtown Seattle's well-loved Fairmont Olympic Hotel. If you look up, you'll notice the elegantly carved oak and unique tin ceiling of the original building. 

While oysters may be its claim to fame, Shuckers is home to all things Pacific Northwest seafood, and serving up a delicious, creamy bowl of chowder is no exception. Slide into one of Shuckers' wooden booths for a cozy night of sampling its best seafood selection. When it comes to chowder, it is straightforward and to the point, served in your choice of a cup or bowl. It's a delicious concoction of clams, potatoes, and smoked bacon that absolutely hits the spot. 

If you're looking to pair Shuckers chowder with the fresh version of its star ingredient, order a plate of fresh manila clams. Highly popular and located in a well-known hotel, it's best to make a reservation to ensure you get a spot — and your chowder — at Shuckers.


(206) 621-1984

411 University Street, Seattle, WA 98101

Taylor Shellfish Farms

Since the late 1800s, Taylor Shellfish has been sourcing some of the most sustainable, top-quality shellfish in the Pacific Northwest. From tide to table, the seafood shop and restaurant maintains this legacy today. Besides delivering fresh oysters, mussels, clams, and other shells, Taylor Shellfish also has eateries in Seattle's Capitol Hill, Queen Anne, and Pioneer Square neighborhoods.

Although many come to taste the seasonal selection of oysters on the half shell, the rest of the menu is just as mouth-watering. Dungeness crab, shellfish stew, seafood dips, and caramelized black cod are just a few to get your tastebuds going. Naturally, chowder makes an appearance on the menu. This creamy bowl of chowder is great as a side or enjoyed on its own. Taylor Shellfish puts a Northwest spin on this recipe, swapping out clams for the local geoduck. Don't give too much thought to the peculiar appearance of geoduck because it simmers down deliciously with potatoes, carrots, peppers, herbs, and cream in this mouthwatering chowder.

Taylor has made a name for itself over the years and a wait is almost guaranteed. No reservations here, so get in line. With fresh, locally sourced seafood and a range of local beers and wines to quench your thirst, it is worth the wait. 


Multiple locations

Market Grill

Pike Place Market has an overwhelming amount of food stalls and restaurants to choose from. If you want to dig into Northwestern cuisine, stick to the many seafood-selling spots in the market. It's as fresh as you can get and really captures the spirit of the Seattle experience. 

Market Grill, with its neon fish sign, is hard to miss when walking through Pike Place. And if you take my word for it, it is definitely not worth missing. Since 1996, Market Grill has been building a reputation for grilling the best fish in the market. Its grilled salmon sandwich is truly delectable. Even better news: Market Grill serves wild and sustainably caught seafood.

If you're looking for a side for your salmon sandwich or just a steaming bowl of creamy deliciousness to enjoy on its own, order a serving of Market Grill's chowder. Choose between its classic, creamy New England-style clam chowder and the Northwest seafood stew. Or if you're extra hungry, get one of each and do a coastal comparison of the best seafood soup. Market Grill's menu can be enjoyed in-house, or if you don't enjoy competing with market traffic, take it to go and find a seat outside to enjoy your chowder overlooking the water for a classic Seattle experience.


(206) 682-2654

1509 Pike Place #3, Seattle, WA 98101

Elliott's Oyster House

At Pier 56 — right on the edge of the Puget Sound — are some of Seattle's top seafood spots with a true maritime feel. On a rare frigid winter day in Seattle, I was walking in the area when hail started pelting down. I ducked into Elliott's Oyster House to find shelter and warmth, and a cup of rich, spicy crab and corn chowder was the perfect remedy for this January evening.

Although Elliott's has received much attention for its fresh oysters since opening in 1975, this classic seafood house offers much more than shellfish on the half-shell. The spacious eatery specializes in the local flavors of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, from seasonal Copper River salmon to geoduck salad. The list would be incomplete without a couple of chowder options.

Order a cup or bowl of the traditional white clam chowder, or if you're curious about mixing things up, I couldn't recommend the spicy crab and corn chowder enough. This sinfully delicious recipe highlights the best of the Northwest with a kick. Elliott's has a spacious, cozy inside but even better is the expansive deck with water views for those fleeting moments of Seattle summer.


(206) 623-4340

1201 Alaskan Way, Pier 56, Seattle, WA 98101

Seattle Fish Guys

This neighborhood market and restaurant in Seattle's Central District takes pride in fresh, local ingredients and family traditions. Creativity and freshness are key in differentiating Seattle's best seafood spots. Seattle Fish Guys (SFG) embraces this ethos, serving up poke bowls, crab meat sub sandwiches, sashimi, and idako (baby octopus).

The seafood-centric menu would be incomplete without a chowder. SFG offers a killer clam chowder that is a delicious pairing to its fresh seafood selection. The Central District space also offers daily soups and seasonal specials, which in the past have included seafood gumbo and Irish fish and potato stew, according to SFG's Instagram. 

Everything on Seattle Fish Guys' focused menu is done well, using fresh ingredients and cooked with love. Through and through, this space reflects a knowledge and passion for the sea and quality fish. This family affair earns bonus points for being away from Seattle's tourist center and in the more local-feeling Central District.


(206) 485-7388

411 23rd Avenue South, Seattle WA 98144

Local Tide

This contemporary and casual eatery in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood takes a modern approach to classic regional favorites. Local Tide, which opened its doors in 2020, takes an unpretentious yet vibey approach to seafood, which makes an appearance in almost every dish. Think rockfish banh mi, albacore tuna sandwiches, crab rolls, fried oysters, and, of course, clam chowder.

Local Tide keeps a fresh and elevated approach to all of its dishes and even has a way of surprising you with a classic dish like clam chowder. You won't be searching through the bowl looking for small bites of clams. Local Tide fills the bowl with fresh manila clams — shells and everything. The rest of this creamy, flavor-forward concoction blends bacon, carrots, sweet peas, potatoes, onions, celery, fish stock, and cream.

Expect a classic clam chowder made with just a touch more depth than your average bowl. Local Tide serves its chowder with a side of grilled sourdough toast, which is the perfect companion to dunk and soak up the flavors of this soup. Enjoy it on its own, or pair it with one of Local Tide's tasty sides such as smoked salmon belly dip or shrimp toast.


(206) 420-4685

401 N 36th St Suite 103, Seattle, WA 98103

Emmett Watson's Oyster Bar

The more time you spend wandering the winding halls of Pike Place Market, the more treasures you'll uncover. One of the gems that you'll discover as you wander past the market's fish-throwing stands is Emmett Watson's Oyster Bar. This casual seafood joint was opened in 1979 by Emmett Watson and Sam Bryant and is considered to be the first oyster bar in the city. Today, the diner serves fish and chips, oysters, and local draft beers.

While Emmett Watson's claim to fame may be oysters, it also serves a mean New England-style clam chowder that is the perfect antidote for a dreary Seattle day. Slide into a bench and take a reprieve from the bustle of the market. Order a bowl of chowder, perhaps a few oysters on the half shell, pair it all with a local beer, and stay a while. During warmer months, there's also outdoor seating to enjoy your chowder as you watch crowds mill by. 

Emmett Watson's Oyster Bar Facebook Page

(206) 448-7721

1916 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101

Duke's Seafood

While I typically seek out independent establishments versus chains (and Seattle has quite a few seafood-dedicated chains), a chowder list isn't complete without a mention of Duke's Seafood. This local chain has several spots around Seattle, in the suburbs, and in nearby cities, like Tacoma and Bellevue. Expect to find regional favorites like salmon sliders, Dungeness crab dip, and fish tacos. Oh, and naturally, chowders.

Duke's hits it out of the park with its chowder selections. While it offers a New England-style clam chowder that will certainly hit the spot, I recommend venturing into Duke's more creative chowder concoctions. If you're feeling fancy, try the Lobster Mobster Pernod chowder, which also has red shrimp and sweet potatoes mixed in. For a taste of the Pacific Northwest, go for the North by Northwest seafood chowder, blending salmon, halibut, clams, and cod into a delectable bowl.

Non-seafood eaters may go for the Ragin' Cajun chicken corn chowder or the vegan veggie stew, the latter of which mixes roasted veggies, caramelized peppers and onions, potatoes, and herbs in a tomato broth. And if you simply can't choose, Duke's serves its chowders in four different sizes. Order a dinghy for a small sample or get a tureen for the table. You can also go for the sampler to taste up to four of Duke's famous chowders. Whatever you decide, come hungry. 


Multiple locations

Salty's on Alki

If you're after seafood with a view, you've come to the right spot. Salty's on Alki is located right on the water in West Seattle with all-encompassing views of Elliott Bay and the city skyline from the table. This establishment opened its doors in 1985 (although the first location opened in Portland in 1980) and over the years has made a name for itself as a truly classic seafood restaurant of the Northwest.

I first became acquainted with Salty's through its famed weekend brunch buffets. In addition to many brunch classics, Salty's sets out fresh shellfish like Alaskan king crab legs on ice. This elaborate offering reflects the establishment's commitment to serving fresh, local seafood. It should come as no surprise then that Salty's has mastered a seafood chowder as well.

Salty's iteration is a Northwest twist on a classic clam chowder. Surf clams, Oregon bay shrimp, and scallops are mixed with potatoes and smoked bacon. It is simple, delicious, filling, and plentiful with seafood — the necessities of any good chowder. If you're still hungry, consider pairing your chowder with Salty's Louie Louie salad, albacore tuna melt, or Dungeness crab cakes, among other seafood specials on its menu.


(206) 937-1600

1936 Harbor Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98126

Chinook's at Salmon Bay

Seattle's Fisherman's Terminal has a marina-industrial feel. Here you will find Chinook's at Salmon Bay, a casual and energetic seafood joint that is part of the local Anthony's restaurant chain. The location also happens to be the base of the North Pacific fishing fleet (and has been since 1913) and home to over 700 commercial fishing vessels – a fitting spot to dig into some local seafood dishes.

In addition to a range of classic items like Northwest mussels, salmon burgers, Dungeness crab cakes, and Northwest cioppino, Chinook has chowder lovers covered. You have a few choices. Stay traditional and go with the well-loved Boston clam chowder ("white chowder") which is prepared like a creamy New England-style chowder with bacon and red potatoes. For something different, try the Manhattan clam chowder or tomato-based red chowder. If you can't make up your mind, go with the New Jersey clam chowder, which mixes the Manhattan and Boston chowders. The oyster stew is a tasty alternative with clams, thyme, cream, butter, and celery salt.

Come for lunch, dinner, or happy hour. The Boston, Manhattan, and New Jersey chowders all make appearances during Chinook's happy hour (Monday-Friday, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.) Enjoy a small bowl of chowder or pair it with some of the other shareable bites like fried calamari or crab and artichoke dip. 


(206) 283-4665

1900 W Nickerson, Seattle, WA 98119

Jack's Fish Spot

If you find yourself wandering through the market and working up an appetite but are overwhelmed by choice, stop by Jack's Fish Spot. This casual seafood bar serves reliably tasty dishes at reasonable prices. After working on fishing boats in Alaska for years, the namesake owner Jack eventually opened Jack's Fish Spot in Madison Park. Soon after, he moved the shop to Pike Place, where he's been serving a taste of the PNW since 1982.

Jack's rivals the Northeast with its version of a Northwest clam chowder. Go for a cup or bowl, or upgrade to a sourdough bread bowl. If you prefer it over fries, try an order of the Northwest poutine, which includes french fries topped with Northweset-style clam chowder. Jack's also cooks a delicious Italian-style seafood stew. Add a couple of oysters on the half-shell, a single fish taco, or a smoked salmon cocktail to make it a full PNW meal. For any at-home needs, Jack's also ships fresh seafood overnight, from whole king salmon to wild halibut, Dungeness crab, and shellfish. 


(206) 467-0514

1514 Pike Place, Seattle, WA 98101


As a Seattle native who is also a food and travel writer, I have explored the city's local food scene far and wide. I grew up eating Pacific Northwest favorites and frequenting local spots like Ivar's and Pike Place Market. Over the years, as my curiosity and interest in food has grown, particularly in my own backyard, I continued my quest to taste my way through Seattle's food scene, particularly the dishes that are commonly associated with the region. 

It's hard to deny the comfort of a warm cup of chowder on a chilly Seattle day. I appreciate the city's ode to the classic dish with its many variations. Throughout the years, I have frequented Seattle's local chowder, market, and seafood spots more times than I can count. 

In this article, I have personally tried Pike Place Chowder, Shuckers Oyster Bar, Local Tide, Market Grill, Elliott's, Duke's, Chinook's, Taylor Shellfish, and Salty's. The few spots I haven't tried yet are all high on my list. To supplement my personal experience, I searched through local blogs, Google reviews, and rankings, looking for places that reflected the quality of the chowder, the freshness of the seafood, and a unique ambiance.