Bell Buoy (Seaside, OR)
After trying some of the wild chinook salmon smoked at the Bell Bouys market nextdoor, we knew we needed more of this salmon; this time, in fried form. Fried salmon and chips, eh? "Hey it's fish so why not," said the guy from the kitchen. You'd think this might ruin a beautiful piece of salmon but frying it actually locks in all of its natural oils (and salmon is particularly oily). What you end up with is a ridiculously moist, flaky piece of fish underneath that golden fried exterior.
Bell Buoy Fried Salmon Bite
Bowpicker Fish & Chips (Astoria, OR)
See that fishing boat parked on the lawn? Head thataway for fried albacore and chips. There's a kitchen somewhere inside the boat, and by "kitchen," I really just mean a fryer. Bowpicker's only menu item: fish and chips, and once they sell out, the boat closes for business that day. According to the sign, they're hours are 11ish to 6ish.
Bowpicker's Fried Albacore
What's interesting here is they fry albacore tuna, which you might assume would be too fishy-tasting of a fish, but it's actually rather delicate. Fried in a beer batter ("it has to be cheap beer") it gets a golden-brown crackly fried shell.
Ecola Seafood (Cannon Beach, OR)
"My husband just caught that," said owner Cindy Beckman while pulling out her cell to show us photos from the fishing trip. You can really taste the freshness of this chinook salmon, naturally sweet and just salty enough, fried in a tempura batter. Ecola Seafood is a family business with two boats out trolling the Pacific waters for fish to fry and smoke. Don't leave Ecola without trying their smoked mussels.
Ecola Fried Salmon Bite
Gracie's Sea Hag (Depoe Bay, OR)
With a name like "sea hag," how could we not go here? This seafood restaurant/watering hole is right across from the crashing waves of the Pacific, where we parked to see one of the best views of the whole Oregon coast. Fried in a batter with pale ale from the nearby Ninkasi brewery in Eugene, they're served in large pieces, still piping hot from the fryer, if a little greasy.
Fort George Brewery
Since this is a brewery, they (of course) use their own beer in the fish fry batter. The problem: it's too good of a beer to waste! We found the fried coating too heavy and dense, though we couldn't stop dunking the fish into this amazing tartar sauce. Is tartar sauce usually amazing? No, which is why we gave Fort George an honorable mention here. Usually the white creamy sauce is serviceable enough, but this homemade version was briny and sweet-tasting, with a nice hit of pickle juice. We were tempted to bring home jars of this.
Got Fish (and Chips)?
Don't you wish you did right now?