Oysters and espresso aside, Seattle is a fish and chips town, too. Countless bars and restaurants in the city serve some version of battered or breaded cod or salmon alongside a pile of fries. And there are a few clear standouts that know how to bring seafood and sizzling hot oil together in perfect harmony. Here are our favorite fish and chips in Seattle to get right now.
When it comes to cod and potatoes fresh from a fryer basket, Pacific Inn shows that crunchy panko breading can kick puffy beer batter to the curb any day. This pub in Fremont is the absolute best place in town for fried fish, complete with crispy french fries and a lemon wedge. Sitting on Pacific Inn’s wooden deck in the summer dunking a bunch of seafood in their delicious tartar sauce is just as important of a Seattle experience as slurping oysters on the waterfront.
Sometimes, the “chips” part in “fish and chips” can be a boring afterthought that makes you want to yawn. Not at Bait Shop. The fries from this Capitol Hill spot are stupendous. They have a brittle shell on the outside and fluffy mashed potato insides, and pair almost suspiciously well with this dive bar’s beer-battered fish and a frosty painkiller slushie.
Down near Columbia City, there’s a fish and chip shop on the corner of Rainier and Charlestown that you might have driven right past without noticing. Next time you’re driving by, stop in. Not only do they serve some of the best fried seafood in the city, but there’s a ton of variety here, from perfectly-seasoned cod to crunchy, breaded salmon. But what you really want is their incredible crab puppies, which sound like the cutest baby animals in existence but in reality are a delicious cross between crab cakes and hushpuppies. Order these with extra sides of Emerald City’s spicy tartar sauce, or be eternally sad when you run out with still a handful of fries left.
Little Chinook’s captures another deeply Pacific Northwest experience: eating seafood while sitting on a marina. They specialize in true cod, ling cod, prawns, salmon, halibut, clam strips, or oysters - all with really good battered fries that taste like what would happen if curly fries got a blowout at the salon. You can’t go wrong with anything here, but the crispy tempura on the wild salmon is a winner.
One of the best orders of fish and chips in Seattle is actually a 35-minute ferry ride away on Bainbridge Island at Proper Fish. This spot was formerly known as Nosh, a phenomenal food truck in the city that served British-style pub food. The best thing about Proper Fish, though, is how enormous these entire filets of fried fish are - they’re around a foot long, with a beer-battered crunch better than any state fair could achieve. That, plus tasty minted peas, thick-cut fries, and delicious tartar sauce, and there’s plenty of reasons why we’d hop on a huge boat to get to these fish and chips.
If you want British-style fish and chips without having to take a ferry, though, check out MacLeod’s in Ballard. Their cod has a beer-battered crust with an ideal balance of puffiness and crunch, along with fries that are cut so thick that there’s a good chance each order contains the equivalent of multiple potatoes. We’re not complaining.
This Central District spot serves four kinds of fish and chips: catfish, salmon, halibut, and tilapia. But the catfish here stands out because it’s soaked in buttermilk, dredged it in a homemade blend of spices (that you can even buy on their website), and doesn’t have a super puffy outer fried shell that some English-pub style ones have - which means you really get a lot of fish in every bite. What makes an order of these even better, though, is that they throw in a couple of their crispy hushpuppies, too. It’s like when you find that rogue onion ring among your fries, except this time it’s on purpose.
Based on their pork katsu alone, it’s easy to conclude that Marination Ma Kai knows their way around deep-fried stuff. The panko coating has a great crunch, and their hand-cut fries are perfectly dark while still being soft in the middle. Their basket comes with a choice of miso ginger tartar or kimchi tartar, but you’re really going to want to double down on their creamy sesame “nunya” sauce instead.
This seafood market at Pike Place doubles as a fish and chips counter, where they fry up their own seafood to-order. Here you’ll find halibut, salmon, prawns, oysters, and scallops, all available to be dredged and thrown in some hot oil. We prefer going with their default choice, true cod, which tastes best with their bright, dill-infused tartar.
This outdoor counter on Lake Union is one of our favorite spots for seafood, and an order of their fish and chips is no exception. The breading on their cod is light and delicate but has a great texture from plenty of cornmeal, and their fries are thin and well-salted. And while we really miss how they used to serve them tossed in fresh dill alongside a pickle mayo, their classic tartar is terrific.
We’ll be honest, our favorite thing at Ray’s is probably their free bread basket spread with butter packets. But an order of their crunchy fish and chips is a close second. They’re very crispy, breaded with panko, and we have a very hard time resisting their battered fries dunked in tangy tartar.
One of the best things about this spot on Alki is all of the old pictures and maps hanging on the wall showing how West Seattle looked back when the restaurant first opened in 1935. But the very best thing? The fried halibut, which has a super crispy batter that’s well-seasoned and worth paying a few extra dollars for. The fish itself is super flaky and tender, and oftentimes you’ll get absolutely massive pieces, which feels like winning the lottery, only your prize is delicious meaty halibut instead of eternal wealth.