Apr 2010

Pike Place Chowder – Seattle


I was so caught up in doughnut fever yesterday that I totally forgot to recount the cream bath that The Astronomer and I soaked in earlier in the day. Following breakfast at Top Pot Doughnuts, we headed to the bustling Pike Place Market for lunch. Pike Place Chowder came highly recommended to us by The Astronomer’s mother and sister. The Chaplin women know good food, so we were certain that this place was going to be fantastic.


Hidden away on Post Alley, Pike Place Chowder is a small operation with eight chowders and only twenty seats. Although we were tempted by the Dungeness crab roll, we ultimately decided to stick with the house special.  After procuring a four-cup chowder sampler ($10.45), The Astronomer and I settled down on the patio to soak in some sun while slurping our soups.


With a little help from the man behind the counter, we chose the classic New England-style clam chowder, the seafood bisque, the seared scallop chowder, and the daily special market chowder. Two slices of warm and crusty sourdough were served on the side.

It wasn’t surprising that all four chowders were superb. The market chowder was awesomely spicy with bits of chorizo, oysters, and crab. The award-winning clam chowder was rich and smoky thanks to the liberal employment of cream and bacon. The seafood bisque had delicate undertones of tomato and basil and was packed with salmon, cod, squid, and shrimp. And the seared scallop chowder was a beautiful blend of fresh dill and lime juice.

Whereas chowders I’ve eaten in the past offered little more than blunt blasts of cream to my taste buds, the ones at Pike Place Chowder were well-crafted, with distinct personalities and subtle nuances. I’ve always fancied myself as a broth-based soup kind of gal, but this experience has me seriously reconsidering.

Pike Place Chowder
1530 Post Alley
Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: 206-267-2537

Pike Place Chowder on Urbanspoon

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22 thoughts on “Pike Place Chowder – Seattle

  1. It is cold in L.A. today! A warm cup of chowder would definitely hit the spot! That seared scallop chowder has my name all over it!

  2. Sarah – I didn’t realize I was near the gum wall! I had read about the wall while doing research but forgot about it while I was in the city. Did I miss out on some deep Seattle history?

  3. All those bowls make the chowder I had in Monterey look like cat food. I think I could be a-okay with cream-based soups if presented with any of those options. Especially if it comes with some quality starch. 🙂

  4. I remember visiting here about four years ago. It was OK but I think it could have been better- probably because when I went they were near the end of their supply for the day.

    I find it funny they are still promoting the crab roll even after four years! 🙂

  5. “The Astronomer and I settled down on the patio to soak in some sun while slurping our soups”

    There’s sun in Seattle? :O Just kidding, I live in the Pacific Northwest myself. Also, it is generally agreed upon here that Seattle has the best Viet food in the PN. Did you try any?

  6. pixelation – We were so incredibly fortunate to soak up four days of sun during our five day stay! We dined at Batali-approved Green Leaf in the International District one evening. The food was pretty darn good, but not remarkable. Then again, I’m kinda a Vietnamese food snob 😉 Their nuoc mam was great though!

  7. Anna – You’ll have no problem finding it. This place is super-duper popular 🙂 Oh, and check out the Gum Wall while you’re in the neighborhood!

  8. those all look so good, glad it’s friday the official clam chowder day because now I’m craving chowdah! Love all the posts from the NW, sounds like a great trip.

  9. I love this place! I had the same chowders except I had the chicken and corn instead of your yummy sounding chorizo one.

  10. We stopped in this place on a trip to Seattle a few years ago…and this chowder is one of the best things I have ever eaten (not just the best chowder, the best of anything)…and I don’t even really like chowder in general. This stuff is heaven and now I crave it constantly and can’t wait for another trip to Seattle. I only browsed the article, so I don’t know if it says this or not, but you can buy the chowder from them to be shipped to you where ever you live.

  11. I was just telling Danny how fantastic this place was! I visited back in January, and was completely blown away! The sampler is definitely the way to go.

    Have you found comparable chowder in So Cal? I find myself craving the awesomeness now!

  12. That seafood bisque was the best! The other chowders were pretty good, but dang reading this post makes me salivate for a bit of that bisque. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip.

  13. Just got back Seattle. Thought I would add my 2 cents. Chowder just didn’t do it for me. The only good one was the New England, the others were thick, but lacked any seafood bits. I just figured they added corn starch or other thickener to give the impression it was good quality. For the area, I would grab a bite from one of the fish markets, crab at Seatown or oysters at Elloitt’s.

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