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Seattle

crab pike place market seattleSeattle's dining scene is a mix of Pacific Northwestern cuisine (think fresh-caught salmon, Dungeness crab, locally grown berries and wild mushrooms) and Asian influences. Seafood lovers in particular will thrive here -- you'll find the catch of the day everywhere from upscale restaurants to casual waterfront clam shacks. In keeping with Seattle's progressive reputation, many restaurants here have a strong focus on organic, sustainable and locally sourced foods.

Ivar's Acres of Clams, a Seattle institution for over 80 years, is located along the waterfront near the ferry docks. It started out as a little fish stand and has grown into a multi-restaurant corporation, but this, the original, is still special. Yes, it is touristy, but so what? The food is great, affordable and brilliantly served, and the menus are fun and funny. If you listen carefully, you can still hear the ghost of old Ivar yelling his signature "KEEP CLAM" as you blissfully munch on clams, calamari, fish and sourdough rolls while watching the Washington State ferries arrive and depart at the adjacent dock.

At the Hunt Club, located off the lobby in the Sorrento Hotel, the romantic ambience plays second fiddle only to the innovations of the executive chef, who composes his menus based on what's fresh in the market and which fresh herbs and vegetables he can bring to the restaurant from his own garden. Enjoy after-dinner drinks and live jazz in the even more romantic Fireside Room, adjacent.

Located at the north end of the Pike Place Market area, Etta's is a perfect place to sit and relax. It offers fresh seafood daily, as well as weekend brunch and an afternoon "Crabby Hour."

Long Provincial serves beautifully presented Vietnamese food in a dimly lit downtown location. The extensive menu ranges from steamed rice paper rolls and green papaya salad to lily blossom halibut and deep-fried lemongrass chicken. There are numerous options for vegetarians.

Capitol Hill's Coastal Kitchen is a casual seafood eatery in the heart of hipness. It serves only wild and sustainable fish, as well as non-seafood options such as herb-roasted chicken and all-day breakfast.

Chandler's Crabhouse serves up fresh seafood and beautiful views of Lake Union. It's famous for its Dungeness crab cake.

Weekend breakfast, daily lunch and dinner are offered at Chinook's at Salmon Bay, located near Ballard Locks where the fishermen dock with their catch. The extensive menu includes everything from fish tacos to stir-fry vegetables with soba noodles.

The main draw at the Pink Door is the view over Puget Sound from the arbor-covered alfresco patio. Located just above Pike Place Market, it's a lovely spot for a breather after tangling with the crowds below. On offer here is Italian trattoria-style food -- pasta, risotto, mozzarella salad and more.
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