Ray's Café

$$ Seafood

For more than three decades this dockside legend has defined Northwest classic, with its blend of quietly elegant raw-timbered decor, its archetypal seafood menu, and its wide-angle view over Shilshole Bay and the Olympic Mountains. Indeed aficionados know that much of what we now take for granted in our finest restaurants—chefs buying the catch of the day down at the dock or making a fuss over the Copper River salmon run—was pioneered at Ray’s. Now the kitchen has settled into a more staid level of accomplishment, where diners know they can count on the caramelly richness of the sake-kasu black cod and the flawless execution of the grilled Alaskan king salmon, but that innovation will be on the back burner. Hence the special occasion and tourist crowds that fill the place every night. Upstairs is Ray’s Café, home of a merry bar, an even better view, a cheaper family-oriented menu, mediocre food—and, on a sunny August afternoon, virtually no shot at a table. In either room, desserts are lush and terrific.

Last updated: 06/13/2012