Seattle is great at a lot of things; coffee, football, beer, tech start-ups, farmer’s markets, rain and seafood. But, we are particularly good at our chowders.
Whether it’s the classic New England Clam Chowder, or a local favorite like Razor Clam Chowder or Salmon Chowder, Seattle Restaurants rarely disappoint.
What makes Seattle chowder so unique, you ask? First things first. Seattle is right on the Puget Sound, and ocean going fishing boats are based in town, so the seafood around here is fresh. Many restaurants serve the “catch of the day,” featuring seafood just brought into market.
Seattle features a growing number of the nation’s top-rated restaurants. As the standards raise, there is far less room for mediocre food. The pressure for restaurants to serve good food is on!
I have experienced Seattle’s clam chowder scene first hand. This classic dish has been a go-to starter of mine for some time now.
In my travels across Seattle, one place stands out. And, it should top your Seattle bucket-list (regardless of whether you’re a visitor or long-term resident that is yet to be enlightened). This cherished spot is called Pike Place Chowder.
Pike Place Chowder
Wondering why Seattle has developed such an esteemed chowder reputation? Head on down to Pike Place Chowder for a quintessential bowl of Seattle Clam Chowder. This dish can be served in a fresh baked sourdough bread bowl – perhaps supplemented with a cold beer or soda. Don’t worry about the long line (it’s there for a reason).
If you aren’t inspired… head on over to Food and Wine and learn how Pike Place Chowder’s New England Clam Chowder made itself was ranked the number one most popular dish in the country, according to Yelp in June 2018.
But what makes this chowder unlike the others? Pike Place Chowder offers an explanation on their website:
“A group of chowder-lovers made magic. Hovering and arguing, we mixed secret spices with the very best clams, in a broth fit for royalty; then added bacon and potatoes slow-simmered with fresh milk and cream. Gradually, we had a briny, smooth-as-silk version presented to our customers, with an epic saga of sea-faring uncles and generations of grandmothers.”– www.pikeplacechowder.com
Pike Place Chowder is inclusive for all palettes and lifestyle choices. Vegan? No problem. Not a lover of all things seafood? They have got you covered.
Check out their menu to see what other eats they offer including a Lime and Coconut Chowder, salads, and sides including mac’n cheese and a variety of french fries (and who doesn’t love mac’n cheese and french fries?)
Explore the Area!
Now that you’ve had the best chowder in the country it is time to do some exploring. Pike Place Chowder is located in Post Alley, a great launching pad for exploring Seattle.
Continue down post alley and hop into an art studio or local brewery like Pike Brewing Company or Cloudburst Brewing. Take a walk around Pike Place and visit booths filled with colorful produce, flowers and art by Seattle’s very own local artists. Let your senses be entertained by street music, smells of food, flying fish (literally men throwing fish back and forth when a customer makes an order) and samples of locally grown fruits and vegetables.
TIP: Pike Place is often incorrectly referred to as ‘Pike’s Place’
Other great things to visit at Pike Place Market include the world’s largest collection of giant shoes, the first Starbucks ever (opened in 1971), and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for a sweet treat. They are most famously known for their delicious and wide variety of caramel apples.
Also, don’t forget to stick a piece of gum on the famous gum wall – where Post Alley crosses to the Southwest side of the market. CNN named this site the 2nd germiest tourist attraction in the world in a 2009 article. You might want to stop by one of the market’s two candy stores to load up on some chew Big League Chew or Juicy Fruit on your way to the wall.
Head towards the water and you will find more adventure. Between Wings Over Washington (a breathtaking flight simulation ride that takes you on a virtual tour of the state), the Seattle Great Wheel Ferris wheel and the Seattle Aquarium you can easily fill an afternoon with activities.
The pier is a great location to grab a snack if you need a pick me up Maybe find a bench and take some time to relax in the salty air. Seattle is great for its people watching opportunities.
Downtown Seattle offers great shopping opportunities. Within walking distance from Pike Place are great stores like Free People, Eddie Bauer and Patagonia. Take advantage of these stores and start dressing like a local!
One of Seattle’s stereotypical uniforms consists of flannels, nano-puff coats, comfortable walking shoes and jeans. Bonus points if you grow a beard before your visit!
Overall Pike Place Chowder along with Pike Place Market is an experience you won’t want to miss. Have an unforgettable bowl of chowder, and become familiar with all that Pike Place Market, and the waterfront have to offer.
The gum wall, the flying salmon, local vendors and small family businesses that have been around for generations. Enjoy the waterfront first hand for free, or upgrade your visit with one of the many paid experiences Seattle has to offer.
Whether you are a local or a visitor from out of town Seattle will welcome you and Pike Place Market is happy to have you. You will never run out of things to see and do.
At the end of the day, make sure to tell all your friends that you have had the #1 chowder in America.