Oregon's picturesque coastline stretches for 363 miles, offering a scenic blend of rugged cliffs, dune-covered beaches, and charming seaside towns. As abundant as its natural beauty, Oregon Coast's culinary scene is a treasure trove of fresh, locally-sourced, and creatively prepared dishes, especially when it comes to seafood.
From clam chowder and Dungeness crab to grilled salmon, Oregon’s coastal dining boasts a unique gastronomic experience that should not be missed. Here's a round-up of some of the best seafood joints and upscale dining venues you must visit.
Why Seafood on the Oregon Coast?
There's something exceptional about seafood on the Oregon Coast, a unique blend of freshness, sustainability, and local flavor. Due to the region's cool, nutrient-rich waters, Oregon's coastline is a thriving marine habitat that ensures a consistent supply of high-quality seafood year-round.
Local chefs and restaurateurs have perfected the art of sourcing and preparing these bounties, serving dishes that are as diverse as the sea itself. From creamy clam chowder to tenderly grilled salmon, each dish is a testament to the region's culinary prowess and abundant natural resources.
Moreover, the ethos of sustainability that prevails among Oregon's fishing communities further enhances the culinary experience, providing diners with a guilt-free, ocean-friendly gastronomic journey.
A Tour of the Best Seafood Joints along the Oregon Coast
From humble shacks serving fresh-off-the-boat catches to well-loved local institutions, here are some of the region's top seafood joints that promise a tantalizing gastronomic adventure.
1. South Beach Fish Market – South Beach
An unpretentious gem located in South Beach, this popular seafood joint provides seafood aficionados with the freshest catch of the day. Famous for its succulent fried oysters, fish and chips, and clam chowder, South Beach Fish Market serves seafood in its most authentic and delectable form.
Make sure to get there early because they do sell out quickly.
2. Local Ocean Seafoods – Newport
In the heart of Newport's Historic Bayfront, Local Ocean Seafoods is a must-visit spot for seafood lovers. Their dock-to-dish approach ensures the seafood on your plate is fresh, sustainable, and local.
Highlights include Dungeness crab cakes, grilled albacore tuna, and their Seafood Paella loaded with local fish, prawns, clams, and mussels.
3. The Wayfarer Restaurant – Cannon Beach
For a more upscale experience, consider The Wayfarer Restaurant, located in the picturesque town of Cannon Beach. Here, you can enjoy fine dining with an unbeatable view of Haystack Rock.
The restaurant offers Pacific Northwest cuisine with a strong focus on seafood. The Pacific Halibut and Wayfarer Clam Chowder come highly recommended.
4. Bowpicker Fish & Chips – Astoria
Situated in a converted gillnet boat across from the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, Bowpicker Fish & Chips serves arguably the best fish and chips on the Oregon Coast.
The beer-battered albacore tuna is perfectly crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside, and coupled with hearty steak fries.
5. Restaurant Beck – Depoe Bay
Overlooking the breathtaking views of Whale Cove, Restaurant Beck offers a gastronomic journey that beautifully marries local produce with modern techniques.
Chef Justin Wills sources seasonal ingredients to create inventive and artfully plated dishes. The tasting menu is a delightful culinary adventure that features a variety of seafood options and is well worth the splurge.
6. Tidal Raves – Depoe Bay
Tidal Raves offers an exceptional blend of quality seafood and panoramic ocean views. Their menu is extensive, catering to different tastes without compromising the freshness and flavor of dishes.
The seafood linguini and the coconut-encrusted halibut are particularly popular among patrons.
7. Pacific Oyster, Bay City
This is a place where you can see your oysters shucked and grilled right in front of you. Situated on Tillamook Bay, Pacific Oyster offers a seafood dining experience like no other.
While you enjoy your meal, you can observe the workings of an active oyster plant through the viewing windows.
8. Redfish – Port Orford
A blend of sophistication and simplicity, Redfish offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and an inspiring menu. The food reflects French and Californian influences, resulting in dishes like the mouth-watering Bouillabaisse and a perfectly-cooked Lingcod.
Pair your meal with a selection from their extensive wine list, featuring the best of Oregon and Californian vineyards.
9. Pelican Brewing Company – Pacific City
A unique coastal brewpub, Pelican Brewing Company offers a variety of craft beers along with a substantial menu featuring fresh local seafood. Their beer-battered fish and chips, made with their award-winning Kiwanda Cream Ale, is a favorite among patrons. With sweeping views of Cape Kiwanda and Haystack Rock, the brewpub presents an unforgettable dining experience.
10. Bridgewater Bistro – Astoria
Set in a historic riverfront cannery, Bridgewater Bistro specializes in Pacific Northwest cuisine with an emphasis on fresh and local seafood. The blackened wild salmon and razor clam chowder are standouts on the menu.
With stunning views of the Columbia River and the Astoria-Megler Bridge, Bridgewater Bistro is the epitome of Oregon coastal dining.
11. The Silver Salmon – Astoria
Located in the heart of downtown Astoria, The Silver Salmon serves up Northwest-style cuisine, combining the freshest seafood with locally sourced produce. Their creative menu includes dishes like smoked salmon alfredo and seafood-packed cioppino, all made from scratch.
12. Drift Inn – Yachats
A beloved local institution, Drift Inn offers an eclectic menu with an emphasis on seafood. Signature dishes include clam chowder, prawn fettuccine, and a mouth-watering crab and shrimp melt.
Set in a charming, rustic building with ocean views, this eatery promises a cozy and delightful dining experience.
13. Luna Sea Fish House – Yachats
Owned and operated by a fisherman, Luna Sea Fish House assures seafood that’s not just fresh but also sustainably caught.
This cozy eatery offers a menu that ranges from fish tacos and clam chowder to whole cooked Dungeness crab. An added bonus is their small fish market where customers can purchase freshly caught seafood to take home.
Seafood Festivals Along the Oregon Coast
No culinary exploration of the Oregon Coast would be complete without mentioning its vibrant seafood festivals. These community-driven events are a celebration of the coastal culinary culture, offering visitors a chance to sample a broad array of seafood, witness cooking demonstrations, and even participate in crab races and clamming workshops.
Astoria Warrenton Crab, Seafood & Wine Festival
Every April, the towns of Astoria and Warrenton come alive with the sights, sounds, and tastes of the Crab, Seafood & Wine Festival. What sets this festival apart is its commitment to local produce, with vendors offering seafood caught in the surrounding waters, wines crafted from nearby vineyards, and artisanal goods from regional creators.
Highlights include the “Best Crab Dish” competition, where local chefs vie to create the most inventive and delectable crab-inspired recipe.
Additionally, the festival features live performances from local musicians, creating a lively atmosphere that resonates with the spirit of the Oregon Coast.
Charleston Seafood Beer & Wine Festival
In the cozy fishing hamlet of Charleston, the Seafood Beer & Wine Festival in August stands out with its engaging blend of fresh seafood, craft beers, and regional wines.
Unique to this festival is its emphasis on hands-on experiences. Attendees can participate in clamming and crabbing clinics, gaining firsthand knowledge of these quintessential Oregon Coast activities.
The festival also hosts a seafood cook-off, where locals and visitors alike can show off their culinary skills, using the day's fresh catch.
The Newport Seafood & Wine Festival
Hosted in the coastal city of Newport each February, the Seafood & Wine Festival is known for uniting the bounty of the sea with the fruits of Oregon's renowned vineyards. This festival boasts a distinctively sophisticated atmosphere, attracting not only seafood lovers but also wine connoisseurs.
With a wine competition that features entries from across the state, attendees get to sample some of the finest wines Oregon has to offer. Unique to this festival is the “Commercial Product Awards,” a competition that honors the best seafood-inspired products, from sauces and dips to smoked salmon, amplifying the essence of coastal culinary innovation.
These festivals not only provide a feast for the palate but also offer an insight into Oregon's deeply-rooted seafood traditions.
Indulging in a Coastal Culinary Adventure
The Oregon Coast is a paradise not just for nature lovers but also for foodies. The fresh seafood delicacies, creatively curated dishes, and the romantic ocean views make dining along the coast an unforgettable experience. Whether you're slurping down oysters fresh off the boat or indulging in a sumptuous seafood feast with a beach sunset backdrop, you're in for a treat of a lifetime. From modest seafood joints to high-end dining venues, the Oregon Coast has something for every palate and preference. Happy dining!