Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Pacific Northwest >
Sep 4, 2005 01:55 PM

Best restaurants in Medford, Oregon?

  • j

We will be in Medford, Oregon for a week at the end of the month. Can you recommend the best restaurants in that area? Also in Ashland, which is nearby? Thank you.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. 1. New Sammy's between Talent and Ashland.
    Everything else pales in comparison.
    Medford is not known for any outstanding restaurants, or any decent ones for that matter. Sandovar's (Russian) is alright. Nothing else comes to mind.
    Try Ashland--there are a number of decent places --simply search prior discussions here. Jacksonville has Gogis but last time we were there we were somewhat disappointed.

    11 Replies
    1. re: Runninrob

      WOW you hit it right on. The food in Medford is pretty GROSS. I am from the bayarea so I know good eatings! I haven't heard of Sandovar's. And that's right Ashland definitely is a much classier place to eat. If you want decent food Ashland would probably be better though can't beat the bayarea in California =)

      1. re: Runninrob

        New Sammy's has a bad rep for poor service and food that doesn't live up to the price. The very best restaurant in So. OR is Gogi's in Jacksonville. The brothers who own/run it are passionate about food.

        Gogi's Restaurant
        235 W Main St, Jacksonville, OR 97530

        1. re: Rita44

          Coquina (542 A Street, Ashland, Oregon) is much better than Gogi's. More attention to detail on the presentation without being over-the-top with the sauce bottle. Excellent service and attention to the customers. Coquina gives Amuse solid competition.

          Gogi's Restaurant
          235 W Main St, Jacksonville, OR 97530

        2. re: Runninrob

          Poor service, inflexible menu and not very good food for high prices. Been there three times because people say it is that good. It is not. Owner behind the bar is pompous about wine. I wonder why he includes horrible wines (he calls them that) on the menu.

          1. re: Rita44

            Which restaurant are you referring to in this post, Rita?

            1. re: zinfanatic

              Not Rita, but it sounds like she's talking about New Sammy's, based on her comments above.

            2. re: Runninrob

              We just had dinner at Goji's in Jacksonville. Just a few minutes outside of Medford and the food and service was excellent. Try the grilled romaine salad. Tempura portabello appetizers were to die for. The waiter recommended a great cocktail, cucumber, cilantro and I forget what else. A great summer cocktail. When we want japanese it is always Oh's Osaka and you have to get the Mr. Oh's roll and an Osaka bomb!

              Oh's Osaka
              35 N Central Ave, Medford, OR 97501

              1. re: berenty

                I think when we're recommending Oh's Osaka, the OP has run its course...

              2. re: Runninrob

                New Sammy's had a great reputation but also is one of the more expensive restaurants in the Rogue Valley.

                1. re: Runninrob

                  We had a meal at New Sammy's last summer and it was wonderful - absolutely fresh and local within a few miles of the restaurant including the wine. But it is a different kind of experience - the owners/staff seem somewhat eccentric and it is definitely NOT some urban hipster spot. I recommend calling for a reservation and then just chill with some wine when you arrive and soak up the food and experience.

                2. If you like sushi, try Mr. Oh's in downtown Medford. It is west a couple of blocks from the Red Lion.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Tim Gray

                    The service was dirt on Sunday when we were down there. We also got ripped off. They automatically charged us $24 tip on a $90 meal and on top of that we had left a cash tip. Be prepared to be ripped off. The rice was not meant for sushi either. The food is OKAY for MEDFORD.

                    1. re: Temp Medford

                      Exactly- "for Medford"

                      Bad service when I went there too.

                    2. re: Tim Gray

                      But if you really like sushi, go to "I love Sushi" behind Winco. Ohs is not fresh and not pleasant.

                      1. re: Rita44

                        You're right! It's called I Love Sushi. Don't go to the one next to Trader Joe's either...

                        1. re: tasmar

                          The one near TJs is horrible. Kobe in Ashland is over priced but good. And the OMI sushi chain is so overrated I don't know how they can exist.

                          1. re: Rita44

                            See, we do have similar taste in food. I will try Kobe, rather pay the extra money and enjoy my food. How about OSHI's -- I see the sign downtown but think they moved elsewhere. Do you know about that place?

                    3. Porter's
                      Bonsai Teriyaki
                      El Arriero mexican
                      Vinnie's Italian - in Medford
                      Jacksonville Inn
                      Caterina's Trattoria -in Jacksonville
                      Thai Pepper
                      Greensprings Inn
                      Il Giardino-in Ashland
                      New Sammy's
                      Arbor House
                      Bangkok's benny Thai Trailer-In Talent

                      here's a rogue valley visitor's thread.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: pepper ann

                        Thanks to all! I'll write a report when we return.

                        1. re: pepper ann

                          I had the worst Mexican food at Flores Mexican Cuisine restaurant in Medford. The "Arroz con Pollo" I tried was an awful concoction I had never seen or tasted in my life. People with even an elementary knowledge of Mexican food should stay away from it.

                          1. re: pepper ann

                            Nothing beats Jacksonville Inn Sunday champagne brunch!

                          2. Try 38 on Central its fantastic I have been there twice and have not been disapointed. I live in Portland area now and this is one of the best I have had in Medford for fine dining. If you looking for fun food try Nohos Hawiian great food and lots of it. Anything else is just like chain food.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: mlukewow

                              I'm from Chicago and all ther restaurants I have tried in Medford and Ashland, OR are awful, it's worse that hospital food. Everything is "organic", low sodiun", "no MSG", "no garlic", "no ginger", "no hot pepper", "no trans" and the like.

                                1. re: uccellino

                                  You must have chosen all the worse...I've eaten plenty of food in Chicago that was great, but plenty that wasn't too. Like all cities, you have to know here to go.

                                2. re: mlukewow

                                  Now closed, owners opened up a new place in Nevada (Laughlin? Henderson?) in conjunction with a casino

                                  1. re: mlukewow

                                    38 Central is closed. There is a Korean restaurant in that space and it opened to great reviews then immediately went down hill.

                                  2. It is a myth that there is no good food in Medford. Vinny's Italian Kitchen is really good. Jackson Creek Pizza is good, but expensive and probably out of your way. Ali's thai has great red curry. Guadalahara has really good soups (your basic caldo de pollo and albondagas), but almost everything else is a cheesey fake Mexican mess. Samovar was great, but I think they closed (I haven't been home in a while). The most overrated places in Medford are that horrible japanese grill downtown and that horrible place by the train tracks.

                                    In Jacksonville I cannot speak highly enough of McCully House.

                                    In Ashland you should make a special effort to go to Chateaulin, it's right of the plaza, the waiters are really professional and the food is always prepared perfectly. It's expensive, but it's worth it. If price is an issue just order French Onion soup or one of their amazing salads, they also don't mind splitting a dish on two plates for you. The apple cider they have there is great. I'm ordering it for my graduation party. I've been going there since I was six years old and I just love them. Alex's is nice if you like steak or drinking. They also have good salads. Quinz is really great. Thai Pepper is good- go for lunch. The Breadboard is good for breakfast. Morning Glory is amazing, but very busy for breakfast. I've never eaten at Monet, but I took a cooking class taught by the chef and the food was great. If you get tired of sit down meals and just want good basic food go to Senior Sam's and get a Jr. Big Burrito (which is more gigantic than the name implies). The one in Ashland is better than the one in Medford, but the one by the Tinsletown Cinema is the best in Medford.

                                    But mostly Chateaulin. I've heard the atmosphere at New Sammy's leaves something to be desired. It was basically an unadvertized hangout for wealthy people in the know, which is not my cup of tea. They've remodeled so maybe their vibe is different now, but I won't go there.

                                    13 Replies
                                    1. re: elleshellmo

                                      Stopped at Ali's because we missed the exit for Thai Pepper on the way home. Had panang curry, prig khing kung, and nam sod. Ugh. Probably the worst versions of all of those dishes I've ever had. The panang tasted like a bland peanut sauce with shoe-leather instead of beef. The prig khing sauce was gravy-like and more like a very bland red curry than a dry curry. (And when I say bland, I don't mean not-spicy, though neither of these were even remotely hot; I mean they were insipid.) The green beans seemed frozen, entirely undercooked, with occasional bits that were so gristly, if that can be used to describe vegetables, that they were inedible. The nam sod was mediocre, but not offensive. The ginger was old and bitter, the pork overcooked, and there was little or no toasted rice powder. The dressing tasted almost entirely of lime. Prices were cheap, but portions were small -- not that I wanted any more. One of the five worst Thai restaurants I've ever eaten at and I only put it in the bottom five because I can't remember some of my earliest random bad Thai meals. Bottom two in the last two years, the other contender being Tasty Thai in Eugene.

                                      1. re: extramsg

                                        Ha I've eaten Tasty Thai, no good.

                                      2. re: elleshellmo

                                        Vinny's is under new management. The father of Vinny and owner of a failed effort on McAndrews is now in charge. Bad service, mediocre food and high prices make this a place to pass. When a restaurant swamps the food in tomato sauce, you can bet it is because the ingredients are sub par. Pass on this joint.

                                        1. re: Rita44

                                          And the food is so salty it is inedible!!

                                        2. re: elleshellmo

                                          Myth? Are you insane?

                                          Jackson Creek- grease bomb
                                          Vinnys- closed
                                          Guadalahara- WORST, and I mean WORST mexican in town. We waited 15 minutes to be seated, and got no drinks and no chance to order for another 10. We walked.

                                          Ashland is VASTLY overrated. Go if you like to spend a lot but not taste a lot, because almost everyone puts health before taste. Even the best places pale in comparison to Eugene where I'm from. Morning Glory is even better in Eugene.

                                          There is ONE place out there however, the Breadboard. Its became our go-to spot for breakfast.

                                          Senior Sams is OK for the price, but varies a lot depending on who's making your stuff. Burrito Boy in Eugene would absolutely kill it here.

                                          Rogue Valley = low standards, hard to make it (since everyone here eats at Red Robin and Olive Garden), and no variety. So bad. Its what you get in the Conservative Republican capital of Oregon; bad food. Think about all the cities known for food (sf, LA, NY, Portland, Chicago), all liberal cities.

                                          1. re: Dman21

                                            I'd be very surprised if Morning Glory in Ashland has anything to do with the one in Eugene; the owner of Morning Glory in Ashland makes no mention of it in her history (<; also, the one in Eugene is vegan/vegetarian, and the one in Ashland definitely isn't.

                                            There are a couple of places in Ashland that go way into the healthy over taste mode, but Ashland is more like Portland: half of the town is vegetarian, and the other half puts bacon in everything. For the flavor-conscious, try:

                                            * Smithfield's: meat-centric, great charcuterie, great brunches, none of it light
                                            * Morning Glory: also great breakfast and lunch, with no real concept of "portion control"
                                            * Taroko: Chefs/owners from San Francisco, and brought that sense of what Asian (mostly Japanese and Chinese) food should be from there. Amazing hamachi collar, only xiao long bao between Portland and San Francisco?
                                            * Kobe: Love the beef tataki, a bunch of the rolls, beef bulgogi
                                            * Coquina: the chef does *amazing* duck, totally nails the moist meat with crispy skin. Also anything she does with quail will be excellent

                                            Ashland is anything but Conservative Republican. It's like being in Berkeley!

                                            1. re: w0x0f

                                              Yes, you're absolutely right about Ashlands orientation, and I shouldn't lump them in with the rest.

                                              1. re: Dman21

                                                Hey, folks -- please leave the politics=food scene aspect of this sub-thread alone. It's off-topic here, and we'd like to keep things focused.

                                            2. re: Dman21

                                              I'm not going to debate you on your restaurant evaluations (we all have our own tastes and preferences,) but I can tell you that Medford is not the Conservative Capital of Oregon. It is surrounded by a sea of red counties, but Medford itself is now bluish-purple.

                                            3. re: elleshellmo

                                              Just got back from Sr Sams 10 minutes ago.

                                              Food on the walls and floor. Smelled of old dishwater. Cups had not been dried, so there was old moisture in them from the stacks. Meat looked as though it had not been stirred for several hours. Anything that needs to be heated is microwaved. Napkin dispenser labeled "for takeout customers please". Clearly visible mop-streaks throughout the place. Disgusting ground beef.

                                              We left without finishing, as did 2 other couples while we were there.

                                              1. re: Dman21

                                                Yeah, I just don't get the local fascination with Senor Sam's. My friends who like it talk about how healthy it is; maybe that's the case, as the carnitas, at least, the one time we were there, was just in a steam table bucket and was wet with no crispness or fat at all.

                                                I much prefer Agave, although I tell them to leave the pico off as it's way, way too wet. I have yet to find a good source of burritos-the-size-of-your-forearm in the Ashland area, as one would find in the Bay Area almost anywhere, but that's just life.

                                                1. re: w0x0f

                                                  I'd really like to see Burrito Boy migrate down from Eugene. I think they'd wipe out Sr Sams and Muchas Gracias.

                                              2. re: elleshellmo

                                                chataulin is so closed and out of business now. I agree, that place was fantastic -- my favorite in all Southern Oregon. New owners now with a new name but haven't tried it yet.