Seattle is decidedly a seafood town. The number of restaurants offering great mussels easily runs to two or three dozen choices. For this list, we chose two higher-end restaurants and several other modestly priced restaurants spread throughout the city. After all, why pay more? Some of these establishments may not offer mussels year-round, so call ahead and check. Local shellfish is at its best during cold winter months, or in spring before waters have had a chance to warm up again. If your first choice isn’t available, they all have a complete menu of delicious foods and most have cocktails, wine and beer.


Place Pigalle
Pike Place Market
81 Pike St.
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 624-1756
www.placepigalle-seattle.com

If you are out for a special occasion or otherwise have cash to spare, Place Pigalle rates as one the best high-end restaurants for its preparation of mussels (runners-up in Seattle would be Red Cow, Serafina, Restaurant Zoë, Seastar in Seattle or Bellevue, and Tilth). Place Pigalle’s signature mussel appetizer is typically cooked to perfection and served with a thoroughly modern sauce of with local bacon, celery, shallots and balsamic vinaigrette. While the sauce can be a disappointment if you are looking for a more traditional preparation (mariniere style with white wine and herbs), most diners are happy to mop up every last bit of sauce with crusty bread. Place Pigalle is open every day for lunch and dinner, so you can get your shellfish fix anytime.

Restaurant Marche
150 Madrone Lane
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
(206) 842-1633
www.restaurantmarchebainbridge.com

Another high-end choice, Greg Atkinson’s (formerly of Canlis) Bainbridge Island restaurant offers Moules Frites on both its lunch and dinner menu, served with fennel cream, house made fries and aioli sauce. Pair it with rose for full effect. The restaurant is located just 1/2-mile from the Bainbridge Ferry Terminal, making it a great destination restaurant just a 30-minute ferry ride away. The last ferries back to downtown Seattle are usually around 11:30 p.m. and the final one around 1 a.m., so plan accordingly. Alternatively, make it a staycation and overnight on the island. Find accommodations at bainbridgelodging.com. Before heading back to the city, take in the farmers market, open Saturdays from mid-April through mid-December. Other attractions include many public parks and reserves, art galleries, museums, brewing companies, distillers and wine tasting.

Sand Point Grill
5412 Sand Point Way N.E.
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 729-1303
www.sandpointgrill.com

Located in northeast Seattle, the small and casual Sand Point Grill has been operated by chef/owners Craig and Kristina Bartleson for over a decade. The chefs got their training and experience with the likes of renowned Seattle chefs Greg Atkinson and Kerry Sear, as well as in Napa Valley and New York. Their kids attend school in the neighborhood, so Greg and Kristina are grounded in the community and enjoy sharing their love of food in this comfortable setting. You’ll find local mussels on the Starter Menu, bathed in a classic white wine and shallot sauce with butter and garlic.


Brouwer’s Cafe
400 N. 35th St.
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 267-2437
www.brouwerscafe.blogspot.com

Located in a former warehouse, Brouwer’s Café in Fremont has an industrial-rustic exterior that belies its clean, bright interior. This hip pub offers a menu of Belgian favorites such as pretzels, cod and sausage, and other casual fare, to be enjoyed with any of its hundreds of beers (including 60 on tap) and over 50 scotches. You could return again and again to enjoy house made soups, sandwiches, artisan cheeses, salads, steak and lamb burgers. The food menu includes traditional Mussels and Frites, served in a white wine sauce with a touch of cream and bread to mop it up when the shells have been spent. Top it all off with a “Bier float” which is a Stout or Framboise with two scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bars
124 Republican St.
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 501-4442
www.tayloroysterbars.com

It doesn’t get fresher than this. Specialists in farm-to-table shellfish in the Pacific Northwest (and beyond), Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bars offer a very nontraditional preparation in a very casual atmosphere. Its Mediterranean Mussels come with a butter broth spiked with tomato, jalapeno, fennel and basil. Do call ahead to see what seafood is being offered on any given day. In addition to the Queen Anne location, Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bars can be found on Capitol Hill and in Pioneer Square.

Fresh Bistro
4725 42nd Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98116
(206) 935-3733
www.freshbistroseattle.com

Fresh Bistro is a casual eatery at the Alaska Junction in West Seattle. Its unique and creative menu offers a fresh take on comfort foods from around the world in dishes that combine Pacific Northwest ingredients with international flair. You’ll find unexpected dishes from lamb yakitori and pork belly bahn mi sliders, to seafood cioppino and grilled steaks. Enjoy the Moules-Frites, served in a spicy tomato broth spiked with landjaeger sausage. The mussels are served with truffled fries and toasted garlic aioli and offered during dinner, as well as happy hour, paired with a cocktail, wine or microbrew. The dining room features a communal table, especially enjoyed by residents in the neighborhood, but welcoming to anyone seeking company with their seafood fix.

 

Carole Cancler is a freelance writer covering all things Seattle. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.