SUMMER IN SEATTLE means waterfront dining. But with so many options you can feel like a seagull circling an entire busload of schoolkids with French

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Waterfront Dining: Waves of Taste

SUMMER IN SEATTLE means waterfront dining. But with so many options you can feel like a seagull circling an entire busload of schoolkids with French fries in their handswhere to start? Through a refined calculus that weighs ambience, view, and quality of cooking, we've come up with a list of our top suggestions, covering every price range, cuisine, and water-bordering neighborhood in town.

BALLARD

Little Coney Where Shilshole turns into Golden Gardens, the former Willie's Wee-Nee Wagon purveys both fish and chips and hot dogs (and burgers, too). 8001 Seaview Ave. N.W., 206-782-6598. * * $

Ray's Boathouse/Cafe The place that single-handedly saved Seattle's seafood reputation in the 1970s. No longer alone but still among the best. 6049 Seaview Ave. N.W., 206-789-3770. * * (Ray's) $$$ (Ray's Cafe) $$

DOWNTOWN

Anthony's and the Bell Street Diner It's definitely a chain, but the food is a cut above chain standards. If you prefer to perambulate the waterfront seafood in hand, pick up some fish and chips at the Bell Street Diner downstairs. 2201 Alaskan Way (Pier 66), 206-448-6688. * * (Anthony's) $$ (Bell Street Diner) $-$$

Elliott's Oyster House Aunt Min and Uncle Jack from Minnesota will love it (though the prices may make them blink). More important, you'll love it, too. The fish is fresh, savory, and imaginatively presented. Long waits for limited windowside tables. 1201 Alaskan Way, at the foot of Seneca Street (Pier 56), 206-623-4340. * * * $$$

Fisherman's Restaurant and Lounge Tourists know this waterfront purveyor of flaky fish and chips and Japanese-grilled salmon better than locals do. 1301 Alaskan Way, Bay Pavilion (Pier 57), 206-623-3500. * * $-$$

Waterfront A throwback to the great Seattle view restaurants of the 1960s, Paul Mackay's Pier 70 restaurant is very styley. The menu concentrates on fish, simply grilled or prepared fusion-style. 2801 Alaskan Way, 206-956-9171. * * $$$

EASTLAKE

BluWater Bistro This is where good-looking young professionals go for steaks, chops, fish, and choice cuts of, you know, meat. 1001 Fairview Ave. N., 206-447-0769. * * $$

Cafe Ambrosia Waterside dining for serious vegan gourmets. 2501 Fairview Ave. E., 206-325-7111. * * * $$

Cucina! Cucina! It's kid-friendly and the food's reliably decent. Good view if you can find a seat on the deck. 901 Fairview Ave. N., 206-447-2782. * $$

Sam's Steakhouse Watch the Mariners broadcast and the boats at this lakeside sports bar and restaurant. 2947 Eastlake Ave. E., 206-957-7777. * * $$

EASTSIDE

Waters Lakeside Bistro Located in the upscale Woodmark Hotel, Waters disproves the rule that hotel restaurants don't serve great food. The room is spare and elegant, the menu ever-changing and based on top-notch fresh ingredients. 1200 Carillon Point, Kirkland, 425-803-5595. * * * $$-$$$

Yarrow Bay Grill Enjoy well-crafted Northwest-Asian fusion fare in any one of three stylish dining areas. In the evening, the panoramic lake view is stunning. 1270 Carillon Point, Kirkland, 425-889-9052. * * * $$$

Spud (See West Seattle Spud for more information.) 9702 N.E. Juanita Drive, Kirkland, 425-823-0607. * * * $

FREMONT/QUEEN ANNE

Ponti Seafood Grill Ambitious, pricey, often superb, Ponti's offers the single finest waterside dining experience in the city. An afternoon spent sipping white wine and nibbling appetizers on the long cool deck overlooking the Ship Canal is like a European vacation without the hassles and a whole lot cheaper. 3014 Third Ave. N., 206-284-3000. * * $$$

LESCHI/MADRONA

Leschi Lake Cafe From a table looking out over Lake Washington, you can talk uninterrupted while savoring a large and luscious cheeseburger with sweet onions, nibbling on crisp fish and chips, or waiting for your big mug of excellent clam chowder to cool. 102 Lakeside Ave. E. (Leschi Marina), 206-328-2233. * $$

Daniel's Broiler A classic surf-and-turf menu in an agreeable waterside setting on Lake Washington. 200 Lake Washington Blvd., 206-329-4191.

(Much the same menu is available at the Daniel's on Lake Union, 809 Fairview Place N., 206-621-8262.) * * $$$

MAGNOLIA

Palisade We prefer the marvelous view of the city and the Sound to the rustic bridge and waterfall inside, but in tourist season it may be a long wait for a table at the window or on the deck. The menu favors grilling, cedar-planking, and the like. 2601 W. Marina Place (Elliott Bay Marina), 206-285-1000. * * $$$

Chinook's at Salmon Bay This Anthony's offshoot is Seattle's answer to Fisherman's Wharf: just OK food at reasonable prices served promptly, with honest-to-Pete working fishermen eating alongside you. 1900 Nickerson St. (in Fisherman's Terminal) 206-283-4665. * $$

NORTH LAKE WASHINGTON

Lake Washington Roaster & Ale House The food's nothing specialthe usual suburban ale-house grill farebut for those who don't own their own boat, even a little one, there's something kind of cool about sitting nose-to-nose with a busy working marina and seaplane landing. 6161 N.E. 175th St. (just off Bothell Way), 425-482-2670. Kenmore. * $

UNIVERSITY DISTRICT

Agua Verde Rocking Mexican dishes and a festive atmosphere; the two decks overlooking Portage Bay are a bonus. Often a long line for a table, but since you wait on the deck with a margarita in hand, you won't mind. 1303 N.E. Boat St., 206-545-8570. * * * $

Ivar's Salmon House The food's nothing to write home about, but since you've already brought the folks from home to eat there, you'll be spared the trouble. And your out-of-town guests will love the Indian-longhouse decor, the planked salmon, and the whole amiably kitschy experience. 401 N.E. Northlake Way, 206-632-0767. * * $$

WEST SEATTLE

Salty's on Alki A Seattle classic, both for the huge seafood menu and the amazing view of downtown Seattle across Elliott Bay. 1936 Harbor Ave. S.W., 206-937-1600. * * $$$

Spud For many, the best fish and chips in the state. The first restaurant in the three-restaurant chain, and with the most agreeable view of the Sound across marine-breezy Alki Avenue. 2666 Alki Ave. S.W., 206-938-0606. * * * $

WESTLAKE

McCormick's Classy Pacific Northwest seafood on Lake Union. Even the deck's elegant, if you can find a seat. 1200 Westlake Ave., 206- 270-9052. * * $$

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND

Harbour Public House Go here for well- prepared pub fare and, from the deck, a nice view of Eagle Harbor. On rainy days, the dining room's a cozy retreat. 231 Parfitt Way S.W., 206-842-0969. * * $$

food@seattleweekly.com

 
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