The upside to the fact that Puget Sound is way too cold to swim in year-round is that it is cold enough to keep our oysters amazing for the same 12 months a year. The cool, briny, clean flavor of a Northwest oyster can kick a muddy Gulf oyster or flabby East Coast specimen in the nards from across the country. Find ‘em all over the city -- you really can’t go wrong.
Another food that people in other parts of the country mistakenly think they get good versions of is crab. Until you've ripped into 3lbs of sweet, tender crustacean flesh completely unadorned, then woken up with fever dreams in a pile of crab shells, you don't know Dungeness. Proof: you don't even need so much as drawn butter with these crabs, so leave your frying and your Old Bay at home. Taylor Oyster Bar on Capitol Hill will sell you one to eat at the bar with none of the frills -- and all of the cracking done for you.
There's no better symbol for the Northwest than this giant clam that lives deep under the wet sand at the water's edge. It would be nice if it weren't extremely phallic, but you can't win 'em all. At least it tastes great with its snappy, crisp sea flavor. Most sushi restaurants do wonders with it, but a favorite is the version at Mashiko in West Seattle. Oh, and here’s a video of a bunch of people trying it for the first time having no idea what it is.