For the past year, the Hawaiian raw fish dish called poke (pronounced like “okay”) has excited many a hungry Seattleite. If you haven’t tried it before, poke is a sort of raw fish salad with rice: cubes of raw fish (most commonly tuna, but can be salmon, snapper, and other fish or shrimp) are drizzled with shoyu (soy) sauce, served alongside scoops of rice and topped with a salad of sorts. Some poke places change it up with different toppings and a wider variety of sauces, such as wasabi or aioli.
And what’s great for those of us with wheat sensitivity or allergy, poke is a delicious and satisfying, completely gluten-free meal (minus the soy sauce or made with gluten-free soy sauce)! Here are some of the spots around town that are killing it with great poke...
45th Stop ‘N Shop & Poke Bar | 2323 N 45th St | 206-708-1882
Surprisingly, one of Seattle’s favorite spots to grab poke happens to be a convenience store! Set in the Wallingford spot that used to house the beloved Erotic Bakery, the 45th Stop ‘N Shop is also a poke bar. It’s been open almost a year and the place has great reviews. Choose from six protein options, then decide on the format of a burrito or a bowl with rice or salad, and select your toppings.
FOB Poke Bar | 220 Blanchard St | 206-728-9888
FOB stands for “Fresh Off the Boat” ingredients at FOB Poke Bar, where the fish is clearly that fresh. Their poke bowls are highly customizable so that you can build something truly unique to your poke taste of the day. Choose your base (rice, salad, and more) first, then select from 13 different protein options. Top it off with your sauce, side, and toppings, and dig in!
Japonessa | 1400 1st Avenue | 206-971-7979
Specializing in sushi made in Japanese tradition with a twist from Latin America, it’s no surprise that Japonessa’s fresh poke is fabulous as well. The Rainbow Poke bowl is made with assorted sashimi and togarashi, then drizzled with sesame oil soy sauce. If you prefer your poke with greens instead of rice, Japonessa’s Sashimi Salad will do the trick, with raw sashimi, spring greens, onion, and a sesame-infused dressing.
Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar | 815 Pine St | 206-402-4414
From noodles to sashimi, nigiri and sushi rolls, Sansei is a great spot to find fresh fish prepared in the traditional Japanese fashion. The restaurant’s Seared Tuna Salad is about as close as it comes to poke, without the rice. It’s seared tuna served on a bed of seasonal greens with Sansei's soy sesame vinaigrette.
Umi Sake House | 2230 1st Avenue | 206-374-8717
Umi Sake House, the popular sushi restaurant in Belltown has a delicious Ahi Tuna Poke with tuna, onions, cucumbers and shichimi with a soy and sesame sauce. Their Chirashi Bowl is another great variant of poke, with an assortment of sashimi served over sushi rice with miso soup on the side. Sashimi protein options include tuna, salmon, yellowtail, freshwater eel, flying fish roe, snow crab, shrimp, scallops, albacore, octopus, squid, salmon roe, surf clam, king crab, and mackerel.