Whenever anyone asks me to recommend a restaurant to take out-of-towners, I always suggest the Steelhead Diner. I love this place. It’s located in the Pike Place Market and it is one of my favorite restaurants in Seattle.
Why do I like it so much? It could be the location; in the heart of Pike Place, so they lean heavily on goods from folks in the market. It could be the decor; funky with fly fishing lures dotting all over. It could be the view; overlooking Elliott Bay, taking in the Olympic Mountains. It could be the owners; the husband and wife team of Kevin and Terresa Davis and their hospitality. It’s all of these things combining with the awesome food.
We’ve mentioned our experience at the bar of Steelhead Diner and the great experience we’ve had there. All of our visits have been a lot of fun and we’ve never hesitated to go back. We’ve brought friends, family, and also gone for a quiet evening. It also has some good local reviews and another cool thing? Mario Batali likes it here!
Steelhead Diner has been open for a couple of years, and Chef Kevin Davis really knows how to execute comfort food. It’s a few dollars more relative to a ‘typical’ diner experience. But not so much so that you only order salad and water. Another thing that I like about the place is that Chef Davis isn’t afraid to fry stuff. One time when we went we had fried smelt. These little fish were tasty. They even have poutine. In fact, the menu also introduced us to black cod. It’s become one of the cool new fish; a big part of its popularity is it’s silky texture and distinct flavor. At Steelhead Diner, they do it marinated in miso and it’s worth ordering.
If you could only order one thing on the menu, it should be the crab cakes. They are the best in Seattle. I know the concept of ‘the best’ of anything is a bit overdone, but the crab cakes at Steelhead Diner deserve this adoration. First off, they call it ‘Jumbo’. How often does any menu call something ‘Jumbo’? But most importantly, it’s basically all crab. Close to no filling, you’ll get full pieces of crab not just shreds. So you get your money’s worth and you’ll happily indulge. It’s so good we’ll go just for the crab cakes. Order these with confidence.
Another really cool thing about Steelhead Diner is that some of the entrees have two different portion sizes; some come in a half portion. These will be lower in price and have portion sizes that are a bit more achievable in a sitting. So you won’t have to think about carrying your ribeye with you as you go out on the town.
Also note the wine list and the drink menu. The wine list touts itself as nothing south of Oregon and nothing east of Idaho. Very commendable. Always nice to support the Northwest’s growing wine industry. The bar menu is very creative and uses local in-season ingredients. Imbibe indeed.
Glowing praise indeed for Steelhead Diner, and they deserve it! Great food and great atmosphere. We’ve always had fun and hopefully you will too. And if you find yourselves with guests out of town and you want to show off what Seattle restaurants are capable of, make your way to Western and Pike.