Seattle >Food & Dining > Ivar's Salmon House
401 NE Northgate Way, Seattle, WA | Directions 9810547.708546 -122.322058
Monday To Saturday From 11:00 AM To 10:00 PM Sunday From 09:30 AM To 02:00 PM Sunday From 03:30 PM To 10:00 PM
Neighborhoods: Maple Leaf, North, North Seattle
This classic Seattle room is splendid but why eat in when they have a takeaway counter and a deck where you can watch tourists and locals feed fries to the seagulls of Lake Union.
Ivar's Salmon House is on Lake Union, so it's convenient after a day of boating to stop in for dinner on the way back from the lake.
The convenience is why I am giving this Ivar's location two stars.
The service in the bar area is why I am only giving this place two stars. We came in on a busy weekend night around 7PM. Realizing that it was prime reservation time, we headed for the bar area and grabbed a table. The six of us then sat, shivering (it was cold on the lake and we hadn't warmed up yet), praying for a mug of hot tea to start the thawing process. We waited for 10 minutes before we managed to get the attention of someone, then another 5 minutes before he actually made it over to the table.
After taking our drink order (we were all ready for food as well, but the server wanted to only get the drink order first) of several hot teas and several beers, we then waited another 20 minutes before first the beers started appearing, then some, but not all, of the hot teas. I used to be a server. I know hot tea can be a pain in the rear. But really, sometimes you just have to suck it up and give your customer what they order. We asked about the missing teas twice throughout the time we were there and they never arrived. Bad form, Mr. Server, bad form.
The meal itself was typical Ivar's and good, filling warm food. In other words, the food was just fine but the service was not. Not sure if we'll bother coming back to this location.
Sunday Brunch...so so. – Crowed, service very good, more seafood items (fish) was expected but not provided. Won't do the Sunday Brunch again. But, their everyday menu items are usually very good.
Prices up, food quality down – I hesitate to give this a low review because this has been our #1 favorite restaurant for many years with its great food, good service, and awesome views. As a reviewer noted some of their prices recently increased by $3/entree (I only noticed because I received the old menu while the rest of my table had the higher prices). The last two times, at least one person in the group has had undercooked meat or fish. Some dishes are still excellent, but you have to cross your fingers when you order the food. We'll have to think heavily before we come back again. Maybe their Sunday brunch is still good - we might give that a second chance.
Good food marred by no service. – Stopped by for lunch on my birthday. The hostess said something as she rushed us to a table, and there we were. We had one menu and another with the insides missing. After reading the whole wine list twice, with no service people in sight, I got up and walked back to the hostess area and got myself a menu. It was another 10 minutes before a waiter came by and asked if we' like a drink. We asked for water without ice and I asked for coffee. He brought us water a few minutes later and took our orders for lunch. During a long wait, I would have asked for coffee but there was no one around. The two other parties were enjoying some kind of free birthday lunch - not offered to me even though this was the first thing my wife told the hostess when we arrived. It seemed like a very long time and we were finally served. I asked for coffee and the waiter finally brought me some. I wiped the spilled coffee from the saucer with my knapkin. (Can you tell I was getting iritated?) I noticed that two of the three plates on our table were chipped; not something Ivar would have tolerated.
The fish was fresh and fine. The tarter sauce seemed fresh and made in-house but it was bland and not special. After serving our meals, our waiter disappeared again. I would have liked a second cup of coffee but I could not find ANYone. After waiting another 10 minutes, we got up and walked to the hostess station to pay. The hostess tracked down our waiter and he showed up with our check. He made a big deal of looking at my ID before allowing me to use a credit card, and told me what fine service that is to safeguard my credit card. He told me some of his life story. I wondered what service is like in Texas, his home State.
I will probably not go back. I might go again alone, but I certainly would not take friends there. I did not ever get upset but I was (really) astonished that such a well known, iconic, restaurant would prove to be so dismal.
We left and drove to a little cafe where I bought a cup of coffee to go. (grin)
Happy Hour Drinks, I’m there! – A recent impromptu date night led me to Happy Hour at Ivar’s Salmon House. Right off the bat, I was pumped to go-I had only been to an Ivar’s once to pick up a bowl of chowder. We got there around 6:30, just in time for happy hour drinks and food. Seating was a breeze, the waitress was really friendly and most of all the happy hour menu made me so “whoa, good thing we came here!”
After ordering a couple beers, we moved onto fish & chips, clam chowder, and calamari. The beer was delicious…the food was disappointing. I remember the bowl of chowder I had a while ago was so good! Of the three food items, the calamari was what I ended up finishing off because I was so hungry. I guess the morale of this story: just because happy hour goes until 7 doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat a little something beforehand.
I will go again but I think only to have drinks with friends before heading to dinner somewhere else. Perhaps I’ll try the food again in the next couple of months…or I’ll just stick with the other chowder places in Seattle that I know I’ll enjoy.
Not like it used to be – Food quality isn't as good as it used to be. Clam chowder has no clams or clam flavor - it's more like potato soup. The cooks try to be too trendy - more interested in "presentation" that a pleasant meal. Several days ago for lunch I had salmon with mashed sweet potatoes. The salmon was on top of the potatoes instead of on the plate. Why would anyone want the salmon coated with potatoes? Several weeks ago I had an open faced crab sandwich without any crab, it was just white sauce over toast. Ivar must be turning over in his grave.
great happy hour – This is a happy hour worth going to. Great drinks, good food, and cheap prices! Definitly give it a try. Bonus, we drive right up on our boat and there is typically plenty of dock space.
I love their brunch – This a such a great place to enjoy seattle summer...now that we have some warm weather. I have been hitting up there brunch lately and you can't beat it with a bloody mary on a Sunday. if you can get out on the patio then go for it so then you can have the boats going by as you eat.
If your going to go to Ivar's. – I love Ivar's clam chowder and yes there are many other places to get good chowder, but no other place with this kind of on the water dining. It gets a little crowded but well worth the wait to sit outside and enjoy the view. And if your their for happy hour, eat everything.
We didn't even get to try it because they said my Oregon Liscense was a fake. I've never been so offended in my life. Not recommended for anyone, and their manager was a real piece of work, classy... – We were visiting from Portland, and checked citysearch for a good place near campus for some seafood. They had a happy hour and we figured we'd stop by. Their bartender who looked no older than me decided my Oregon liscense wasn't the real deal and decided they weren't going to serve us in the middle of the day and Easter. The manager didn't have anything to offer other than to tell us to eat in the restaurant instead. I've never been treated like such a criminal in my life. I'll never go back and don't recommend anyone else doing so either.
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