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Seaside Stories

Exploring the North Coast Food Trail in Seaside

October 20, 2023 | by Krista Garcia

Whether you’re a first-time visitor to the North Coast or have been coming to Seaside on the regular, there’s always something delicious to be discovered. Seaside wins fans for its old-fashioned fun like bumper cars and Skee-Ball, coastal attractions that go hand-in-hand with saltwater taffy and corn dogs. But there are also many restaurants and shops showcasing fresh local seafood, creamy gelato with Oregon fruit and craft brews made on-site. The North Coast Food Trail — a guide to unique, hyper-local food experiences in Seaside and many other cities from Neskowin to Astoria — is one of the best resources to get started exploring. Here are a few stops along the trail.

Freshly Caught Flavors

If you’re heading down US-101, keep your eye out for the charming neon sign featuring a crab and a buoy, and you’ll know you’ve reached Bell Buoy, a fixture since 1945. This is the place to seek out some of the freshest seafood in town from the market or the little takeaway restaurant next door. 

Order a Captain’s Plate teeming with battered and fried local salmon, halibut, cod, prawns, oysters and razor clams for proof. Visitors can order baskets and seafood melts to share on picnic tables outdoors. Stop into the market for fresh fish to grill at your beach house, or pick up a can of premium albacore tuna and smoked salmon for tasty souvenirs. For some culinary inspiration, check out Bell Buoy’s recipes and learn how to whip up a Northwest crab roll using local Dungeness crab. 

On the south side of town and a quick walk to the Cove, Osprey Café is a popular place for breakfast and lunch. If you’re up for starting your day with seafood, try a scramble made with smoked steelhead or an old-fashioned Hangtown fry full of plump oysters. Cornmeal-dusted, pan-fried oysters raised nearby are also featured in a po’ boy on the lunch menu. You can also mix it up with more international fare like nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice) or arepas (cheesy corn pancakes popular in Central America). On weekends the cafe gets busy, so get there early for breakfast or prepare to stand in line for a bit.

If you visit Seaside between mid-June and September, be sure to check out the Farmers Market that’s held every Wednesday afternoon on Highway 101 near the Seaside Visitors Bureau. Pay a visit for fresh produce, as well as treats like local raw honey, blueberry wine and Hawaiian-style shaved ice. There’s always live music, so it’s also fun to just stroll, snack and see what local artisans are selling. 

Something’s Always Brewing

Seaside has its own craft-beer scene, and Sisu Beer — named for a Finnish term that roughly translates as grit and tenacity — is a great place to start. Sample the brewery’s Coastal Grit Smoked Porter, a dark ale with a hint of coffee, or the Backbone Amber Ale that’s balanced but hoppy. The pub is located inside the historic Times Theatre, right in the heart of Seaside, so check out the events schedule to see what’s playing when you visit; it’s a great place to see the game. Don’t miss the pub nachos topped with creamy Sisu Beer cheese sauce.

If you thought a taproom located in a big-screen theater was unique, Seaside Brewery goes a step further with a pub in a restored city jail in the Upper Broadway district. Look for the big beer barrel emblazoned with a blue octopus and you’ll know you’re in the right place. From citrusy IPAs to deep, dark Russian imperial stouts, there’s likely to be a beer that complements a plate of fish tacos or a smoked-brisket sandwich. 

Just Desserts

No trip to the Coast is complete without at least one scoop of ice cream, and Sea Star Gelato is a perfect place to find one. Only one block from the promenade, the business takes pride in its Italian-style gelato, which has a richer, denser texture than ice cream. The colorful shop has more than 270 flavors in its repertoire, including blueberry lavender, saltwater taffy and avocado, though the selection changes regularly. Owners Douglass and Tanya Lintow seek out Oregon farms for their berry flavors, bursting with local fruit. You can also try spaghettieis, a sundae made with French vanilla “noodles,” topped with strawberry sauce and garnished with white-chocolate shavings meant to mimic grated Parmesan.

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