“Local” is a popular adjective when describing the seafood found on Washington’s islands—and for good reason: Whether you’re cracking shells at a crabhouse or reeling in your own dinner, an abundance of briny goodness is always close at hand. For fresh fare on Whidbey Island, longtime staple Christopher’s in Coupeville serves a variety of mussels and clams from neighboring Penn Cove Shellfish, the oldest and largest mussel farm in the United States. At the Oystercatcher nearby, try the halibut on the seasonally rotating menu.
While waiting for your ferry to the San Juans, make a detour to Anacortes’s Adrift Restaurant (510 Commercial Ave), where you’ll be greeted with a plethora of seafood-focused brunch and lunch options. The flavor-packed cioppino is a must-order. Once you’ve made it to the San Juans, take your pick of seemingly endless seafood menus. A good place to start is with classics like fish and chips or clam chowder at the Galley Restaurant and Lounge on Lopez Island (3365 Fisherman Bay Rd). Another is Eastsound’s intimate Inn at Ship Bay on Orcas Island, where you’ll find a selection of oysters, clams, mussels, and more in this historic farmhouse dating to 1869.
On San Juan Island, there are more choices than meals in a day. For a casual, fun experience in the heart of Friday Harbor, dine on freshly caught Dungeness crab on an open-air deck at Friday’s Crabhouse. Or for more elevated fare, head to Friday Harbor House Restaurant to sample Westcott Bay mussels sourced from an historic farm just a few miles north on the island.
If you’re into DIY dinner, multiple local outfitters offer equipment and guides. With locations on all the major San Juan Islands, North Shore Charters and Outer Island Excursions provide a full range of fishing, from salmon and bottom-feeding fish to Dungeness crab and shrimp. On Whidbey and Camano Islands, check out the list of around 40 public clamming and oyster beaches at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.