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to Fino or not to Fino in Bellingham? Since I'll be dining more formally in the future after stopping in Bellingham, I'm not too keen on Fino, but am at a loss as to other good fare in Bellingham. Fancy minceur not required - just as happy with Mom and Pop home cookin' places as I am with oyster bars, herb farms, bistros, dives, diners, etc. - provided that the food is all that a chowhound could wish for. What's cookin' in Bellingham?

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  1. Cafe Toulouse for breakfast, La Fiamma for pizza, Tony's in Fairhaven for coffee, Archer Ale House in Fairhaven for a beer, Dirty Dans for a steak or lamb (not ribs), Pacific Cafe for fancier fare.

    2 Replies
    1. re: charley

      I second all of those. Excellent choices. You can't go wrong if you stick with them. I would love a la Fiamma pizza right now as a matter of fact, along with a bottle of good chianti.

      1. re: charley

        Thanks mucho for the suggestions!

      2. i ate at la Fiamma and thought it was horrible. had good thai food next to day's inn on SAmish. great coffee and vibe at Temple BAr

        3 Replies
        1. re: bobbymac

          What on earth did you order at La Fiamma that was horrible? I don't like everything on their menu, but most of their stuff is fabulous. We usually get a house salad and a Grecian Formula pizza, hard to go wrong if you like that sort of thing.

          1. re: Freida

            On Rice and La Fiamma are both pretty mediocre. On Rice especially. La Fiamma isn't bad, it's the second best pizza in town, behind Cichitti's, it's just pretty boring. The crust is nothting special, the toppings are eh, pretty good I guess. On Rice is quite bad, though.

            What's good: Cafe Zazou good french food. Pepper Sisters: pretty good Southwest food. I've heard the Vines is very good.

          2. re: bobbymac

            Thai On Rice - ate their today. It's not the best Thai food I've ever had, but it's solidly solid. I eat there nearly every time I'm in Bellingham.

          3. For a horrible for you burger but ohhh so good- you must try the local Bob's Burgers and Brew in downtown Bellingham. The mushroom burger is the best I have ever had- and my waitress recommended it- it is the only knid I have had thought- to good to try others. People crave this place when they move. It will fill you up. Other downtown favorites are the bagel shop (the Bagelry-NY style- delicious when fresh!) and the local ice creameryMallards) localed just down the street from Bob's. Regarding the Mallard creamery- my favorite flavor is White Russian- but I must admit that they have the best strawberry I have ever tasted. They have ample seating and even board games if you want to go retro. There is a itailian place in Fairhaven, can't remember the name- something bella-belle-etc., that has really great grilled panini's- good amibance and wonderful lunch. Also~ stop by the bakery/cafe/bookstore in Fairhaven- Colophone Cafe- for a great afternoon cookie treat- I recommend the giant molasses for eating when wandering the town and waterway. Downtown is worth wandering for hole in the wall coffee houses and cafes. Lastly, The Boundary Brewery (local) has many tasty options- some a step up regarding flavor combinations and meny items from basic brewhouse fare. Everyone I have encountered has found something to like there. Plus when you order the beer taster lit et's you sample them all. I recommend it- they have some unique beer palettes the oatmeal stout is a favorite.

            1. My sister lived there for 5 years... if I remember correctly, her favorite restaurant was La Fiamma, and her favorite snack place was La Fine's (sp?) for doughnuts. She still brings back doughnuts if she is ever up there visiting old friends.

              1. Agree on the bagelry in downtown Bellingham. Very good bagels, tasty and variety of cream cheese spreads, boards head meats. Totally disagree with Bob's burgers. A greasebomb that left me in the wc for the better part of the next 24 hrs.

                Sirena in Fairhaven is a tasty gelato bar. Flats in Fairhaven is a tapas place - we only went once about a year ago, but it is probably a front runner for innovative food in the area, even if they don't execute 100%.

                1 Reply
                1. re: sasha1

                  I really enjoy Flats - we've been there enough times that we've made it through pretty much the whole menu. It's not revolutionary, but it's tasty and fun, they have a nice Spanish wine selection, and the waitresses are great.

                  I've never liked Bob's Burgers - I was beginning to think I was the only one!

                2. I'm a local girl, born and raised in Bellingham and I also consider myself to be a foodie. Don't go to Fino...my husband is a chef who did a short stint at Fino and it just isn't what northwest fare should be about (food service of america loves Fino). I'd reccommend Nimbus, at the top of Bellingham Towers across the street from the Mount Baker Theater. The owners are young, hip and experimental with their food. Both are graduates of Bellingham Tech's culinary program. You'll pay about the same as Fino, but get treated to a wide variety of local, organic ingredients combined into dishes you wouldn't expect, as well as a fabulous view of the bay and great in house drinks.

                  La Fiamma has good pies but is fairly expensive and limited in its menu. Toulouse is a great breakfast, but you can wait for awhile onthe weekends. The Archer is great for beer, but not food. My one experience with Dirty Dan's was allright, but not all its cracked up to be. Nothing too memorable other than the cool building. Go to Boundary Bay for Beer, not food. Menu is scattered and not well executed, but the beer is amazing!!! Be careful not to go there on an empty stomach though, its dangerous beer... Have Fun!!!

                  1. I just moved to Bellingham a year ago and have found the restaurant choices pretty limited. I've never had a meal here that I felt was incredible and had to have more, more, more! Having said that, there are some pretty decent choices to be found. Harris Ave. Cafe in Fairhaven has a terrific breakfast and lunch menu. The food is super fresh and very well prepared. Tony's is the place for coffee. For a really nice dinner try Fool's Onion (Fairhaven, again). I ate there last week and had a lovely trio of fresh ravioli... can't remember what they were but they were delicious! The wine list is super reasonable (had a lovely Marysville Pinot Gris for $16!) Really nice serving sizes, too. Fino is expensive, small servings and not well prepared. Service is also slow. The best thing about Fino is the view and the spa. I'd go there for a cocktail and eat elsewhere for dinner. A new place opened about 6 months ago in downtown B'ham called Bayou by the Bay. It's really casual. We had really good 'que, smokey, tender goodness on a bun served with the best sweet potato fries I've had. They also have good gumbo. And what ever you do, stay away from the Big Fat Fish Co. I think they're owned by the Bob's group and apply the same philosophy to an upscale menu, only the food is worse than the burger joints.

                    For a good cheap burger my fave is Win's (Fairhaven again!). Totally greasy spoon with an old, well seasoned grill and crunchy succulent fries. Hate Bobs... such a rip... bad food, too big of servings (yes, that's possible) and waaay over priced. Fiamma's gone down hill in my book. Have yet to find a gem of a pizza here. Would love some suggestions for a good pizza. Oh, and Rocket Doughnuts, on Holly St. downtown ohhhh! the doughnuts.....

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: dogthis

                      I've lived in the area now for a little over a year. I'm not that impressed by La Fiamma and second the Rocket Doughnuts and Fool's Onion reccos. Try Seven Loaves Pizza over in the Public Market.

                      Wasn't impressed by Dirty Dan's in Fairhaven; we love the Black Forest Schnitzel and Steakhouse in Everson. Sit in the bar and order from the bar menu: a 10 oz. sirloin with green beans and a piece of garlic bread for $12.95.

                      If you want a deal, don't mind eating early, and can tolerate noise, Anthony's Sunset Dinner menu is a deal: order before 6:00 and get appetizer, soup or salad, entree, and dessert for $19.95.

                      There isn't a Chinese restaurant that's good (and we've tried a lot of them), so we eat Thai and like Lemongrass on Samish. Dos Padres had the worse salsa we've ever eaten - gross. We've been to Bob's Burgers 2x - don't see the attraction there.

                      1. re: cmvbbay

                        In terms of Chinese, check out Xing's Panda Palace in the Sunset Square Mall.
                        Nothing over the top but good basic home-cooking by some nice people.

                        Bob's used to be a lot better -- they fell into the same niche as Red Robbin in Seattle did, trying to be a 'major chain' when their core competency was quirky people and good (if slightly irregular) food. Welcome to the BORG Collective I guess...

                    2. Hi, We like D'Anna's on State street for great Italian Food. Oriento on Meridian, has good Chinese Food and a nice atmosphere without breaking your wallett. Bagelry is great for bagels or lunch. Boss Tweed has a variety and good weekend breakfast and another good place for lunch. some weekends they have salmon cooked on a barbecue.

                      Speek Ezy also on Meridian and Broadway.. bar b q pork and southern cooking.

                      Stanello's on the South side has pizza, and a variety. nice bar area you can eat in.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: dawgs

                        I'm a B'ham foodie. Cafe Toulouse and Boss Tweed are closed, so scratch those. I think you otherwise have good advice here. But Stanellos? That's food court food IMHO.

                        Supons on Dupont has the best thai in town. Also, you might really enjoy checking out our new cheese shop, Quel Fromage. It's right off of Fairhaven Parkway and on your way south to Chuckanut. We are REALLY spoiled to have such a fine artisanal cheese shop in town. The owner also carries some nice wines and tons of lovely condiments and crackers you aren't likely to see elsewhere. She knows what she's doing and her product is to die for. You can't beat some fine cheese and wine for dinner!

                        Mount Bakery is fun for the slow food experience- awesome veggie frittatas and such. And our Bagelry actually has wonderful bagels and good coffee. It's my favorite quick breakfast.

                        I think our classiest reliable restaurant in town is the Oyster Bar.

                        1. re: Vetter

                          I definately second Quel Fromage. Was visiting recently from Seattle and was really impressed at the quality, selection and knowledge of the staff. And i love the wine pairings they suggest on your receipt - what a cool idea. Also highly suggest the fig/black olive tapenade they sell - they will sell in small 1 oz containers so you don't have to commit to a large amount. I went back and bought the large container after trying it with a soft cured sheep's cheese.

                      2. My recommendation is Boundry Bay, but then I'm partial to brew pubs. I live south in Mount Vernon and when we go north for something to eat we'll stop in there. I enjoy the louder than usual atmosphere - it seems more festive, and the meals have always been good.

                        Bob's Burgers and Brew is the same as a Red Robin, so if you like the Red Robin, then you'll like Bob's. I can live without it.