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Coastal Washington & Oregon road trip eats?

We are renting a car in Seattle and driving to Lake Quinault. Then we will be making our way south on 101, past Tillamook and eventually cutting east to catch I-5 and our flight home to San Diego from Portland. I'm in charge of finding good local food, be it a hamburger stand or a 3 star blow-out. I'd be grateful for whatever guidance I can get.

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  1. On highway 8 near McCleary, WA, there is a national award-winning barbecue joint - Ranch Barbecue Kitchen on the Kennedy/Creek Rd. floor to ceiling with prizes won at honest-by-god southern BBQ competitions, featured on Food Channel.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rcallner

      Sounds great, but I'm not sure we're going that way. If we do, I won't miss it!

    2. If you're going through Seaside, Oregon at lunch time, I always try to stop at The Stand. It's a little Mexican joint that is easy to overlook but has great fresh food. I love the Quesadillas with Carne Asada- these aren't the typical flat quesadillas but are totally loaded with meat and fresh salsa. Very yummy.

      1. I recommend Marzano's in Manzanita for pizza. It's not the very best pizza you'd ever get anywhere - you know, in New York or Chicago or Naples - but it's hand-tossed, made with very high quality toppings, and made with care. They have an excellent roast vegetable pizza with peppers, eggplant, zucchini, etc. roasted in their kitchen each day...once they're out, they're out! I go every time I'm at the Oregon coast.

        1. Thanks for your suggestions. I'm hoping for more replies, especially for the Aberdeen to Astoria portion of the trip.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Ms. Verde

            Do a Chowhounds search for Astoria. You'll find lots of fairly current info for the greater Astoria area.

            1. re: Steve K

              In Aberdeen, you will get a very memorable meal at Gabelli's (formerly Parma) on Heron Street in downtown Aberdeen. Exquisite northern italian cuisine, including gnochhi, rotolo, homemade breads and desserts, etc. A very nice, small, family-run place that is unforgettable. We often make an hour's drive from Olympia just for the rotolo. Trust me on this.

              1. re: Steve in Olympia

                Steve, thanks for the suggestion, we'll try to hit that one for sure!

                1. re: Ms. Verde

                  Ditto on the Astoria search. Great town.
                  Northern Rockaway has Karla's Krabs, been there over 40 years, great for smoked fish. Not a restaurant, just a fish shop.

          2. Okay, I am infatuated with the life and culture of the 101. This is my favorite trip to take and repeated as often as possible! Here are a couple of our fav digs.

            42nd Street Cafe: This place is in Seaview/LongBeach, food is good, but not consistently. My favorite is the Ravioli stuffed with Gorgonzola cheese, sautéed with red onions and apples in a cider Madeira glaze. When it's good it's amazing. Watch out for a long wait though.

            The Port Bistro: In Ilwaco. Small venue was a little drafty but the saffron risotto was right on. Can get pricey.

            NIX THE ARK IN NACHOTTA. Bad service and mediocre food EVERYTIME.

            The Sanctuary: In Chinook. I think they are still open but do some legwork and call about the hours. Will cost you lots of pennies but worth every cent. Menu varies so I don't have any recommendations other than eat whatever is freshest. Be warned that service is long, maybe a 2-3 hour meal.

            I know this sounds silly, but my husband and I had the stinkin' best fish at a roadhouse in Seaside called Bigfoot's Pub and Grub off of 101. The decor kinda makes you shake your head, but everything we ate, while not necessarily pretty, tasted fantastic. Stuffed mushrooms, yum! Strong drinks too.

            I better stop or this list will have energizer bunny proportions, but one more thing, once you get into Tillamook I strongly encourage stopping at those little shack cafes. Some of the best seafood on the west coast can be found there. Most of them are family run and they catch their own ingredients. Inquire with locals for the best ones.

            5 Replies
            1. re: iheartgrittytacoma

              If you are in Seaview, WA, you should definitely go to The Depot. The pan fried oysters were amazing, and it was laid back. DO NOT go to The Shoalwater Restaurant. It was over-priced and smelled like my grandma's house. The food was all overly salted (and I love salty food). Even the chocolate cake we had for dessert was too salty!

              The Astoria Coffeehouse is really great. They serve Stumptown coffee and make wonderful lattes. We had the Florentine breakfast sandwich: English Muffin, Spinach, Tomato, and Hollandaise (and we added eggs) and it was delicious.

              Further south, the Pelican Brewery (www.pelicanbrewery.com) in Pacific City, Oregon has a great deck on which you can enjoy their great beers. The food is OK, certainly on par with any McMennamins establishment.

              Have fun!

              1. re: amysuesue

                Thank you for your suggestions, too. Those oysters might require a detour to Seaview. Now another question: I've been reading about Ocean Shores. Is it worth a detour and is there food to go with the hype? Also, anyone know anything about the Lake Quinault Resort on the reservation?

                1. re: Ms. Verde

                  The resort is pretty (although the rooms are nothing special) but the food wasn't very good when we were there last fall.

                  There's a place called Barbara's by the Sea in Westport (I think) that has good fried seafood ("captain's platters" type food) and the last time we were there the oysters were excellent. Wesport isn't too far from Ocean Shores, if no one has recommendations there.

                  1. re: kkbriggs

                    We weren't able to get to Westport because the ferry wasn't running, but we did try a fish market restaurant called Mike's. Delicious fish and chips. the chowder was tasty but way too thick--almost like batter. The fish in the market looked mega fresh.

              2. re: iheartgrittytacoma

                Never apologize for being enthusiastic about your favorite spots! I could go on and on about the Central Coast of California. Thank you for all of your suggestions and warnings. I had heard of the Ark in AAA, which is not too reliable, so I appreciate a hound's perspective. I'm feeling more confident. So many of the places to stay sounded like they include kitchenettes that I began to wonder if we should be planning to cook our own!