$ Cheap (entrees less than $10)
$$ Average (entrees $10-$18)
$$$ Expensive (entrees $19-$25)
$$$$ Half a paycheck (entrees $26 and up)
Ratings are based on a four-star scale
**** Excellent food, creative items and top notch service.
*** Good food, good value and nothing below reasonable expectations.
** Two stars are given to restaurants that are adequate but need improvement. You wouldn’t go out of your way to eat there again unless changes in quality and menu were made.
* One star is reserved for places that you would not recommend under almost any circumstances.
213 Southeast Bay Boulevard, Newport
Besides the docks, Local Ocean Seafoods may be the best place in Newport to buy local, sustainably caught seafood. It’s also one of the best places in town to eat seafood. This “fish market by day, restaurant by night” offers excellent dinners that are creatively composed and beautifully plated. Inside, each display case explains where the fish was caught, how it was harvested and from whom it was purchased. The roasted garlic Dungeness crab soup is a favorite among locals ($6.50/$11). So is the tuna “mignon,” a meaty tuna steak wrapped in bacon and served over crispy onions ($16). The grilled halibut, served over roasted poblano peppers and grilled peaches, is a well-balanced combination of flavors ($24). Fans of bouillabaisse will enjoy the fishwives stew ($25). The catch of the day is breaded in panko and grilled for a lighter take on fish and chips ($14.50). Local Ocean has indoor and outdoor seating. Two garage doors open on warm days, and overhead heat lamps keep patrons warm when the cool sea air picks up. Although the prices are moderately expensive, this is a casual dining restaurant with many visitors wearing jeans and windbreakers.
5200 NE Sacramento Street, Portland
Cabezon is a Pacific coastal scorpion fish, or Spanish for “bullheaded” and “stubborn.” Since 2009, Portland’s Cabezon has also meant great seafood by embracing its own brand of stubbornness—a
commitment to seasonal ingredients and relationships with local purveyors. Chef David Farrell and wine maven Jackie Speck co-own the upscale yet cozy space. Tables, nooks and seasonal sidewalk seating fills with couples mainly in their 30s and 40s, families and groups. Farrell stands at the prow of an on-site fish market from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. But why cook when one can sup on excellent basil-wrapped white shrimp with green lentils, spinach and romesco ($11), grilled Hawaiian ono with jambalaya and crawfish ($23), or the only permanent specialty, cioppino with white gulf shrimp, local fish, Dungeness crab, clams, mussels and calamari ($20). The popular mesquite-grilled New York strip loin ($23) makes seafood lovers reconsider their options. Make room to indulge in worthwhile desserts like lavender and honey crème brûlée ($6). For a deal, consider “Wine Wednesdays” with 40 percent off bottles with dinner, or the “Happy Fishes” hour from 5-6 p.m., when small plates and drinks are $3-$6.
1 12th Street, Astoria
Working fishermen still put out and pull in from Astoria, the historic home of one of the country’s largest salmon canneries—now canonized as the Cannery Pier Hotel. Down the Astoria Riverwalk, Baked Alaska does seafood in abundance and with mastery. The Oregon Dungeness crab cakes are a good place to start. They are pan fried and served with a delicious chili aioli ($14). From a little farther out to sea comes the Thundermuck Tuna, a Yellowfin tuna dusted with locally roasted coffee seared rare and dripped in sesame ginger honey sauce, reduced balsamic and pickled ginger ($11). For the mains, try the crab and mushroom Sambuca carbonara. This dish combines crimini and oyster mushrooms sauteéd with sweet onions, bacon, garlic, parsley and crab meat. That feast is laid over fresh fettuccini with a light Sambuca reduction sauce ($23). If that becomes seafood overload, try a tasty baseball-cut sirloin with sweet onions and a bourbon demi-glaze ($18). Finish it all with the namesake Baked Alaska for dessert ($10).
301 SE Morrison, Portland
If you’re in the mood for great seafood served on linen covered tables and don’t mind a little shouting, try Montage. In Portland’s “under bridge” community, Montage offers an eclectic and delicious assortment of seafood. To engage the shouting, start out by ordering the oyster shooters. Montage is famous for its waiters yelling orders into the kitchen. “Shooooters!” Before you know it, beautiful oysters in shot glasses ($1.95 each) appear. For another starter delight, try the gator bites, gator tail served in cocktail sauce ($9.75). Pan fried oysters ($13.25) or seafood jambalaya, a spicy Louisiana rice dish with Cajun gravy and served with your choice of alligator, crawfish, catfish, rock shrimp, scallops or oysters ($11-$13) is highly touted. Montage is also known for it’s mac & cheese. Served a variety of ways: Old Mac Garlic, Spicy Mac, Cheddar Mac, and Green Basil Pesto Mac are just some options to pair with rock shrimp ($10.95). Be sure to have some leftovers so you can leave with one of Montage’s signature aluminum foil masterpieces.