photo credit: Nate Watters

The Walrus And The Carpenter image

The Walrus And The Carpenter



$$$$Perfect For:Drinking Good WineEating At The BarFirst/Early in the Game DatesImpressing Out of TownersSpecial OccasionsWalk-Ins
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Updated January 10th, 2021

In this town, people treat oysters like celebrities, and the Pacific Northwest has no shortage of them. Often, people who eat oysters in Seattle want to do so along the waterfront, and there are plenty of seafood spots where you can do exactly that. The Walrus And The Carpenter is nowhere near the water, but this shellfish-fueled Seattle staple gets more hype than just about anywhere else. The good news is that they actually deserve it.

The space feels like a countryside farmhouse filled with ocean-flavored mollusks instead of baby goats and hay. It’s best experienced before sundown, when stripes of light blast in from the windows to reflect on the mirrors and the huge marbled bar covered in iced wire baskets of craggy shells sourced statewide, everywhere from Hama Hama on the Hood Canal to Calm Cove on Hammersley Inlet. Pair your trip here with a hungry stomach, a friend or two that may need a win, and a glass of fizzy sparkling rosé. Next, all that’s left to do is close your eyes and point to any dish on their menu of small plates. Oysters (either on the half-shell or cornmeal-fried), crudo, vegetables that taste good, steak tartare, fresh Sea Wolf rye alongside whipped butter with the consistency of marshmallow fluff—it’s all going to be stellar.

The Walrus And The Carpenter opens at 4pm, which, much like many big-deal restaurants in Seattle, is strategically when you’ll want to show up, since they don’t take reservations. But, let’s suppose you’re running late and get hit with a 45-minute wait. You’ll “have to” head to Barnacle Bar next door and sit it out over an excellent spritz made by skilled bartenders who know their way around amaro and a good conversation. Oh, shucks. Can’t win them all.

The Walrus And The Carpenter image

photo credit: Nate Watters

Food Rundown

The Walrus And The Carpenter image

photo credit: Nate Watters

Fresh Oysters

There’s no better time or place to slurp fresh oysters than here and now. Have the server suggest a local assortment and carpe diem. Don’t forget to pour some shallot mignonette (or sparkling wine) inside the shell before knocking one back.
The Walrus And The Carpenter image

photo credit: Nate Watters

Fried Oysters

Cornmeal crusted on the outside alongside herby cilantro aioli for dunking. The breading is as crisp as a Hyundai commercial voiceover, and the green sauce is delicious even if you’re one of those cilantro-tastes-like-soap people. The little fallen pieces of crunchy batter make a great bonus snack.

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Suggested Reading

Barnacle image


The sister bar to Walrus & The Carpenter, Barnacle is one of the coolest places in Ballard to have a cocktail. There are some small plates, too.

Rockcreek Seafood & Spirits image

Rockcreek Seafood & Spirits in Fremont is a great place for fresh seafood, and pretending like you caught your own fish in the wild.

Manolin image

Manolin is a beautiful seafood-focused restaurant in Fremont. It’s strangely affordable, and you can use it for just about any dining situation.

Boat Bar image

Boat Bar is a French restaurant and oyster bar on Capitol Hill that’s perfect for a low-key night out.

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