Top 5 best places to eat *actual* local seafood on the north Oregon coast
Updated: May 20, 2021
Everyone wants to eat seafood when visiting the coast, right? For me, there's nothing worse than sitting down at a seaside restaurant only to discover the menu is filled with dishes made with New Zealand mussels and farmed Atlantic salmon. The Oregon coast is chock-a-block full of high-quality, super fresh local seafood, but finding it in a restaurant can take a bit of digging. Lucky for you, I have a shovel, and a taste for bivalves. Check out this list of the best places to eat *actual* local seafood on the north Oregon coast.
Follow along for more seafood tips: @littlezestypdx
Jetty Fishery Marina & RV Park is a very casual, underrated place to spend your afternoon eating seafood on Nehalem Bay! Rent a boat and crab rings for the day, or do what I do and buy a 6-pack of beer from the shop and crab right off the dock. They'll provide you with rings and bait for a fee. I got lucky and caught 11 keepers one day last August, but to be honest, you'll probably end up with two or three. Pro tip: bring a folding camp chair and tie it down using one of the ropes meant for crab rings. It gets windy in this spot and I've seen a few too many chairs fly off the dock and into the water. If you don't already have a shellfish permit, you can purchase one onsite. According to the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, recreational crabbing is open in estuaries (i.e. bays), beaches, tide pools, piers, and jetties year-round.
Staff at the Jetty Fishery Marina & RV Park are friendly and helpful and will cook up any crab you catch, free of charge (but please do tip them). Make sure to ask to keep the crab butter and crab heart! The butter is awesome for dipping (or slurping right out of the shell), and the crab heart is just a fun way to tease your most squeamish companion.
If crab catching isn't your thing, but crab eating is, you can simply buy Dungeness on site (though it can be pricey). Take it live or have them cook it and pack on ice - or eat it at one of the picnic tables. The Jetty Fishery also usually has live oysters and clams for sale. Shuck some oysters yourself, or ask them to boil them up for you. I was apprehensive about boiled oysters at first, but they're actually quite delicious right out of the pot. If you see that they have boiled corn on the menu - ORDER IT! What a summertime treat! Full disclosure: the Jetty Fishery is not a restaurant - so don't expect full service. Order what you want from the staff near the dock, then pay inside. There are crab crackers, oyster shuckers, lemon, and hot sauce for sale inside if you need them, but I usually bring my own.
I could go on and on about Jetty Fishery (YOU CAN CAMP HERE! IT'S FAMILY OWNED!), but I'll stop for the sake of keeping this blog post short. If you want more info about it, shoot me a DM. Or maybe I'll write a whole post about it in the future. Who knows.
Jetty Fishery Marina & RV Park
27550 Hwy 101 N Rockaway Beach, OR 97136
(503) 368 5746 - call for info on pricing, weather, accommodations
The Fish Peddler at Pacific Seafood
I only discovered this oyster spot recently, and am *facepalm* very upset that I haven't been gorging myself on oysters here my whole life. The Fish Peddler has a retail counter where you can get seafood to cook at home, or order it to-go and eat at one of the tables outside. There's an online ordering system available with the current offerings. Since we are at the Oregon coast (and there's no covered seating), you may likely experience rain, so I recommend backing your car up into a parking spot facing the bay. Pop open the hatchback and take a seat.
From my experience, if you order oysters on the half shell, you'll be served medium-sized oysters along with cocktail sauce and lemons. I'm usually a petite oyster and mignonette kind of girl, myself, but this is also a pretty great way to eat oysters! Please note that not all the seafood available is locally grown/caught. Make sure to specify what you're looking for when you order. Ask questions. Also, this place is pretty popular, so expect a decent wait if you go at peak hours.
There's a huge variety of hot sauces available for sale in the store, too, so if you didn't bring your fave sauce with you, there's an excuse to add to your collection.
The Fish Peddler at Pacific Seafood
5150 Hayes Oyster Dr, Bay City, OR 97107
Formerly known as Salmonberry Saloon, The Salmonberry is reopening on May 21st, 2021 after minimizing through the pandemic (and shifting to @salmonberrycommons, a local goods delivery project). With a hyper-local focus, The Salmonberry is one of your best bets for getting a taste for what the North Coast has to offer, including farm-fresh produce, local meats, and seafood from the area. It also has an impressive wine list and a back patio overlooking the majestic Nehalem Bay. Look closely and you may see a sea lion on the nearby dock, or elk roaming the island across the bay.
I enjoyed eating and drinking at the Salmonberry Saloon before its closure, and am excited to go back for a visit once it reopens for outdoor dining. I will update this section when I'm able to make it out this summer!
380 Marine Dr, Wheeler, OR 97147
Nevør Shellfish Farm
Nevør Shellfish Farm grows and supplies oysters to many of Portland's top restaurants! But lately, this oyster farm has something more to offer your seems-high-end-but-is-approachable-seafood craving. Originally meant to be a short-term pop-up when the pandemic shut down his Portland restaurant, Erizo, Chef Jacob Harth has been slinging BBQed oysters, rock crab soup, and albacore crudo out of the Nevør kitchen since November 2020, with no end in sight (lucky for us). Jacob and his team forage for and harvest much of the menu offerings themselves, and they present somewhat obscure and lesser-known delicacies like smoked wolf eel, gooseneck barnacles, and sea snail skewers. The menu changes every week, so follow @nevorshellfishfarm to stay in the loop.
I think I actually happy-cried a little bit when I visited last December. After nine (pandemic panicked) months of sitting at home eating mediocre take-out and my own cooking, I was READY for an elite seafood experience. I showed up a little late in the day, so a few things were sold out, but you bet I ordered everything else that was available. Do yourself a favor and stop by De Garde Brewing in Tillamook on your way, and pick up a bottle of wild fermented farmhouse ale to pair with your meal. And spring for the whole Dungeness crab - it’s the best I’ve ever had!
6060 Whiskey Creek Rd, Tillamook, OR 97141
South Bay Wild Fish House
South Bay is a family-run fishing vessel, shop and restaurant in Astoria that has a solid reputation for providing fresh, in season, local seafood. When I visited (pre-covid), I enjoyed sitting at the bar with pint of beer and bowl of steamed clams. Check out their menu and follow them on Instagram to see whats fresh! If you're enjoying a weekend in Astoria, make sure to stop by this gem for a tasty meal.
262 9th Street Astoria, Oregon 97103