- aristo Feb 28, 2005 01:43 AM
Heading to Walla Walla this coming weekend. Any good eats (a) in the city; (b) on route from Portland (but further east from Hood River and The Dales)?
Whitehouse-Crawford is the most likely the best restaurant in Walla Walla. Avoid Backstage Bistro like the plague. We had mediocre food and terrible service (along with an attempt to charge us for wine we did not receive because they were out of it; then we overheard a fellow hotel guest stating that the same thing had happened to them). It's fun to have a drink at the bar at Marcus Whitman Hotel. Be aware, though, that if you're looking to do anything after 10 PM, there isn't really anything. The sidewalks roll up REAL early.
You should check out 21 bricks, downtown. I have heard nothing but good things about it from our wine supplier (West Seattle Cellars). The Whitehouse has also been highly recommended. We went to the Backstage Bistro (more within our price range) and regretted our decision. Slowwwwww service, ambivilance, and we ate something that disagreed with both of us.
The Marcus Whitman looked like a very good place to eat as well, but the prices were way up there - suprisingly high too.
Just was in Walla Walla for the Holiday Barrel tasting in early December with another couple. Whitehouse Crawford is very good. It is expensive for a small town, but definitely worth it. We did not get to eat a 26[?] Brix, but the menu looked good. They also serve breakfast and lunch I believe. There is a wine bar with retail shop and food on the main street. Can't remember the name of it, but it was less expensive and pretty good and lots of wines by the glass.I have heard bad things about Backstage Bistro also.
Everyone's giving mid to upscale places. Any taquerias and taco trucks worth mentioning? The percentage of Mexicans in eastern Washington is very high. (See link.) I'd like to see aristo perform his own Walla Walla taco crawl and report.
Also, not to step on your toes pdxia, but I think Monteillet Fromagerie is one of the worst "artisan" cheesemakers in the northwest from what I've tried. I keep giving them a chance at the Portland Farmer's Market and every time the cheeses aren't just mediocre, but bad.
I'm a local, and there are plenty of great places to eat:
26 Brix is fantastic food, great wine selection, very pricey. A little cheaper to eat at the fun bar.
Creektown Cafe on 2nd a bit south of town is also excellent. NW food with local, mainly organic ingredients, great service, great wine list. Nice place to sit outside. Whitehorse Crawford near the Marc Hotel is also very good, great atmosphere and service.
Whoopemup Cafe about 20 miles north of WW in Waitsburg is worth a trip. Excellent southern food, hip, fun and great service. Charming little town and beautiful drive, especially if you take the Lower Waitsburg Road from WW. For local color and good food, Oasis Cafe south of town on Stateline Road. Interesting characters at and in back of the bar, real homemade food. Best tacqueria is Monarcha on Rose and 9th, but Tino's taco truck on 9th & Poplar(?)next to Hastings bookstore is on a nice park so you can sit outside and eat your great tacos. More local color and good steaks and burgers at Kelly's on Hwy. 11 just south of the stateline in Oregon. Merchants on Main Street is a great place for a sandwich. Coffee Connection on Main Street has excellent breakfast and WiFi. Try their chocolate malt.
And our new place Luscious on Alder....a must try for lunch. Sweet Basil Pizza pretty damn good too.
I grew up in Pendleton (only an hour away) and my family would occasionally make our way to Walla Walla for some good dining. We recently ate at the Creektown Cafe. It was absolutely fantastic (it rivaled many of the meals I had in Boston in my 4 years of college there) and it is relatively unknown. The prices are also very, very reasonable. I can still taste the morel crepes...
My wife and I have had dinner at the Backstage Bistro, Whitehouse-Crawford, Creektown Cafe, 21 Brix, and at the Marcus Whitman, during several visits to Walla Walla.
I completely disagree with KathyR's characterization of the Backstage Bistro -- we have eaten there several times and had both very good food and excellent service -- and we have also been there on jazz nights, which were a lot of fun. Anyway, restaurants can have a bad night or two, so I admit that KathyR might have had a poor experience, but luckily we haven't.
With respect to Whitehouse-Crawford, we have had both good and bad experiences there. The first two visits were great, with good food and good service, but the last visit was a disaster. We ordered food, but our entres were delivered to the wrong table (and promptly consumed). We didn't realize what had happened until our main course hadn't arrived while others around us (who had been seated later) were being served. When I asked, our waitress laughed and said "OOPS!" It took another 20 minutes for the rest of our food to arrive. Further, the staff made no offer to adjust our bill, and by that point we were too frustrated to even bother to ask, what with the "OOPS!" response of our waitress. They seemed to be very short-staffed. Also, the place can get very loud and reservations can end up running very late.
On the other hand, we have had great food and service at both the Creektown Cafe and at 21 Brix.
The Marcus Whitman is, however, another story. Lengthy delays in service, cold food, and billing mistakes. We had this happen on three occasions -- the reason why we went back was because we had been assured that things had changed under two different managers. Well, guess what? Never again. We have also heard from other friends that they had the same experience at the Marcus Whitman this past summer (2007).
I think the general problem for these places, especially Whitehouse-Crawford and the Marcus Whitman, is that there isn't enough consistent restaurant traffic to keep enough trained staff on duty so they get overwhelmed during Spring Release weekend, barrel tasting weekend, Balloon weekend, Whitman graduation weekend, etc.
The pastries, cakes, and cookies at the Colville St. Patisserie are great too. It's a great place to have a quick snack and coffee. And while I'm at it, 26 Brix is the best place to eat in town, hands down.
We had dinner at the Whoopemup Hollow Cafe about 20 minutes out of Walla Walla in Waitsburg. Southern comfort food and the catfish was tasty. http://www.whoopemuphollowcafe.com/
Dinner at Whitehouse-Crawford was also good. Warm spinach salad with smoked trout still lingers in my mind a year later. Great pizza at Sweet Basil Pizzeria.
The culinary highlight of our November, 2007 visit was Saffron.
Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen
125 W Alder St, Walla Walla, WA 99362
As said before, not much after The Dalles, except a great taco truck at the east bound exit in Boardman. That said, leave PDX a little later next time and stop at the 6th St. Bistro or Celio in Hood River.