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Jul 29, 2000 08:42 PM

restaurants in Port Townsend, Fork, La Push

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I am a first time traveler to the Olympic Penn. and am looking for the best places to favor the cuisine. MOney no object. Just good food..not big on seafood though.

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  1. Hi Sharye:

    Wecome to Chowhound. I haven't seen your name before on the Chowhound boards, and am therefore presuming that you're a newcomer, at least in terms of posting to the boards.

    You will love the Olympic Penninsula. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth. That's the reason for being in places like Forks (which isn't much of a town, but provides access to places both north and south of Forks) and La Push. The bad news is that there isn't anyplace in that area that serves above average food. The only reasons to go to La Push are to go fishing and to go hiking to the "numbered beaches" on the road to La Push. La Push itself is the home of the Quileute Indian Reservation, and there isn't anything there unless you have contacts to visit the local Quileute basket weavers. But, by all means, take the time to hike to one of the numbered beaches (my first choice is is Second Beach, second choice is Third Beach), which have spectacular sea stacks, rocks, and driftwood.

    Likewise, there isn't really anything in Forks itself, and it is barren territory in terms of interesting or well prepared cuisine. The Smoke House Restaurant at 193161 Highway 101 is tolerable, if you stick to basics like simply prepared fish or beef. Don't even think about going to the Mexican or Chinese restaurants in Forks. Perhaps the best food in the area is at the Lake Quinault Lodge, a fair drive south of Forks, but a charming old lodge on a very pretty mountain lake. The dining room at Kalaloch Lodge, also south of Forks, like the Smoke House, serves decent, though not particularly exciting, food if you stick to the most simply prepared dishes. I assume you are going to visit the Hoh Rain Forest. If not, you should definitely include this in your itinerary. Also, Ruby Beach (just north of Kalaloch) is another spectacular beach with seastacks and rocks.

    Port Townsend in another matter altogether. It is a charming Victorian town, even if it's a bit touristy. Although the food there is not up to the quality in Seattle, there are quite a few acceptable places to eat. At the moment, the best restaurant in Port Townsend is Lonny's Restaurant at 2330 Washington Street. Among the best dishes there are Manilla Clams with Braised Leeks, Oyster Stew (with local Dabob Bay oysters, pancetta, fennel, and leeks), Rigatoni Gorgonzola, Prawn Curry with Penne Rigate, and Cioppino. Lonny's has good deserts(especially the Deep Dish Braeburn Applie Pie) and a decent wine list. I'd recommend reservations since this place is very popular and always crowded. Lonny's phone number is (360) 385-0700. The best place for burgers and simpler fare is Jake's Original Gril, 600 Sims Way. A great choice for lunch if you're spending the day in Port Townsend. There is terrific pie at the Chimicum Cafe, south of Port Townsend, though you will probably miss the season for the wild blackberry pie, which is made from wild local blackberries no bigger than your little fingernail, and is one of the most extraordinary pies in the world. The food at Chimicum Cafe, however, is pretty mediocre. Go to Jake's for a burger, than drive down to Chimicum for pie. Other places in Port Townsend include a decent Thai restaurant, Khu Larb Thai, and good pasta at Lanza's Ristorante. If you're in town for breakfast, I'd recomment the Salal Cafe, 634 Water Street.

    Enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, Sharye, but remember, where you are going food is not the main attraction.

    1. Sharye-- I don't know where you are considering staying on the Peninsula, but I highly recommend Port Angeles. It's central (not too far from either Forks or Port Townsend) and there's a great b&b there called Madeleine Domaine B & B (146 Wildflower Ln, (360) 457-4174). It's just a bit outside of town, right on the water. Madeleine is a French-trained chef and her husband John is a botanist. Each room is really beautiful and designed around the work and colors of a French artist. Lovely gardens and a cliff that leads down to the sea (Strait of San Juan, actually, I think).

      Best of all is the breakfast-- simply wonderful. They call it seven courses (I'm not exactly sure how they count it, but it's A LOT of food), and they say they'll buy your lunch if you need to eat one. Delicious fresh-baked breads, tender pastries, wonderful cheeses (the Cougar Gold from U of Wash. is outstanding if they have it), perfectly ripe fruit, herbs and flower garnishes grown in the garden outside, tender omelettes and souffles, etc., etc. The food is a bit different each morning, but it was always great.

      It's a very expensive place, but sometimes you get what you pay for. And John and Madeleine are great resources for local restaurants and things to do.

      One more thing. If you're going to the Hoh Rainforest, there's a road slightly south of the one where everyone goes (I think it's called the Lower Hoh Road or something) that's SERIOUSLY underused. You won't see the famous Hall of Mosses (where so many tourists come through that the bottom 6 feet of moss has been rubbed off the trees anyway), but you'll see very similar things minus the crowds. I didn't see another soul while I was there, which was really wonderful. The only drawback is that the trail is just a straight line rather than a loop, but it was really worthwhile.