Seattle is surrounded by water, and this happy state of affairs provides recreational boaters with unparalleled opportunities for exploration and relaxation. Twenty years ago there was only a single large marina on the salt-water-side of the city- Shilshole Bay Marina- a Port of Seattle-owned facility inconveniently located north of the city. In the mid-1990’s however, a new, state-of-the art marina was built on Elliott Bay, within sight of downtown. Elliott Bay Marina contains two restaurants at present- Maggie Bluffs, a casual pub on the ground floor of the main building, and Palisade, an upscale restaurant upstairs.
Palisade is one of the most popular restaurants in Seattle, particularly amongst tourists and special-occasion guests, and it was clearly designed to maximize the ‘wow factor’ on all counts. Situated on the north shore of Elliott Bay, Palisade has sweeping views of the Seattle skyline and Mount Rainier to the south, something that no other restaurant in town can match. Entering the rather grand front door of the restaurant, one encounters a large indoor pool containing all manner of salt water creatures (some of them on the menu), a busy open kitchen to the left, a bar on the right, and a bustling, two-tier restaurant beyond. There is a grand piano perched twenty feet above the bar, a foot bridge over the waterway, and an array of tables and booths, virtually all of which have spectacular views. It is all tastefully done, but it is decidedly over-the-top.
So is the menu. The number of choices is not large, and as one might expect there is an emphasis on local seafood, but there is something for every taste, including delicious but ridiculously large cuts of prime rib. Of course, there is cedar plank-grilled salmon, but most of the other seafood dishes are rich, complex, and large. Rather too rich. Rather too large.
The service at Palisade is uneven. I have been there on occasions when the service was outstanding- attentive and helpful yet unobtrusive. On other occasions the service has been so distracting that I actually had to ask the waiter to leave us alone. And there is an annoying tendency of the water boys to constantly reach over the table to fill your glass, whether it needs it or not. In my view, the service staff needs better training.
Because my boat is moored in Elliott Bay Marina, I have been to Palisade dozens of times over the years, perhaps more than any other restaurant in Seattle. Misgivings about the menu and service aside, I like Palisade, I really do, but that is partly because I know the menu so well that I can construct a meal from starters that is more to my liking- a crab cake appetizer and a Caesar salad after a day of boating, what could be better? But it is also true that whenever I am entertaining visitors that are new to Seattle, the first restaurant we visit is Palisade. They’ve never been disappointed.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.