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Mar 21, 2007 05:02 PM

Friday Harbor: One day and one night

We are headed out to Friday Harbor in a few weeks. We'll stay at the Friday Harbor House and at this point are not planning on bringing a car.

Suggestions for restaurants/food around the town of Friday Harbor? My husband won't go for a sandwich, so the picnic suggestions from past posts are out.

It's not a special occasion, but we also don't mind fine dining.

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  1. I'll repeat my plug for 121 Nichols. Search here for more info.

    2 Replies
    1. re: not the bad Steve

      Steve, my search comes up with no additional information. However, I am looking to learn more about 121 Nichols.

    2. This is a copy of a reply I made to a similar request back in Feb. BTW we loved staying at Friday Harbor House.

      My husband and I spent 3 nights last July in Friday Harbor. Each night we had a good eating experience. One night we ate at Vinny's -decent Italian food and filled with large groups of locals. At The Place we shared a few appetizers for a light dinner, the mushroom, cheese platter with bread was excellent. The last night we ate on the deck at Maloulas a family run Middle Eastern restaurant. The salmon was very good as was a vegetable and eggplant dish. I would go back and eat at all of these places. Enjoy!

      2 Replies
      1. re: Bethwick

        Hey Ethereal - wondering where you went? We just got back from a lovely Memorial Day weekend on San Juan Island, had several nice meals (pity your hubby won't do sammiches, 'cause the Market Chef is FABULOUS), but the truly outstanding offering was at the Duck Soup Inn - delicate, sophisticated, local flavors, imaginative, beautifully served. If you go back I recommend it highly.

        1. re: rcallner

          We ended up making a late start of it and just missing a ferry. So we spent a couple of hours in Anacortes. Ate at Anchors Away (something nautical like that) where the food wasn't bad, but was extra greasy. My husband had the pan fried oyster breakfast, I had a tuna melt. Not a culinary delight, but passable.

          Friday Harbor was sleepy. Weather was grey, which was fine, but all the 1/2 dozen shops or so were closing by 5. We ended up at the pub overlooking the ferry loading area, watching sea planes take off, eating fries, enjoying the view and the company.

          120 Nichols wasn't open the weekend we were there. When I called, I think they said they would be starting summer hours in the next couple of weeks, but we had just missed it. We had reservations at Vinny's, which wasn't bad. Everything was really rich...of course our indulgence of the french fries a few hours earlier, probably didn't help. But couldn't find anything wrong with the place, although it wasn't particularly memorable for any reason either.

          Sunday brunch was at the Friday Harbor House. Nothing special, although it did make me happy we didn't go the easy route and choose to have dinner there.

          Don't mean to sound like a downer on Friday Harbor, because I know a lot of people love the area. But shoulder season probably wasn't the best time for us to go.

      2. Just thought I'd bump this up. We're heading to a wedding in Roche Harbor this weekend, so we won't have too much free time, but we will have one night (Sunday) to eat out for an un-wedding-related dinner. We have a toddler, so that bumps out the nicer places (she's not polite at the table at this point). But we will have daytime Sat and Sun to bike ride and stop for lunch.

        One place that interests me is Big Barn Bakes---what's good there? Fantastic sandwiches, I think I read something about great fish tacos? Any help would be great.

        1. 120 Nichols is now Coho. Big Barn Bakes has been closed for a number of months. Downriggers, with a lovely view of the harbor, has a full menu. My favorite, Front Street Ale House, is across the street from Downriggers. They brew their own beer and have a menu that is sure to have something for everyone. Their homemade soups are excellent. Oh, I live on the island. Vinny's is real close to the hotel if you don't feel like getting your car out. Sometimes parking can be a challenge! We ate at Vinny's a few months ago and it was acceptable. The new owners took over around November. don't confuse Vinny's with Cousin Vinnie's Pizza right downtown, which is fantastic. He's an Italian from NY and his pizza and other items on the menu are authentic. (not for the diet conscious). Here's a link to the San Juan Directory with up-to-date listings for restaurants. Enjoy your stay.

          3 Replies
          1. re: joyf1

            Hi Joyf1, thanks! We're actually staying in Roche Harbor, and I went to Vinnys about 5 years ago I think, but good to know the pizza place is great.

            Bummer about Big Barn Bakes. Do you have any other ideas for bakery, fresh morning pastries, good bread? I am a sucker for a good bakery. And good coffee---which place has the best?
            I'm worried that the ale house won't allow you know if they do?

            1. re: aaustin

              Hi aaustin: Every place up here allows kids. The Ale House has a very casual atmosphere, too. I've seen kids in there. Demeter Cafe recently opened up. It's on Nicholls St. right close to Coho and across the street from Susie's Mopeds. I know she makes pastries, etc. Cousin Vinnie's has excellent bagels that he makes himself. His coffee is fantastic. Cousin Vinnie's in located in a little mall right next to a jeweldry store and the Hot Shoppe. Follow your nose and you'll find it! But, Demeter Bakery is the only bakery in town now. I'll be a lot of the other shops have pastries, etc. Front Street Cafe, where a scene from Free Willy 2 was filmed, has all kinds of breakfast foods, etc. There are a lot of places right off the ferry landing.

              1. re: joyf1

                Just back and I have to say....we had a pretty big bummer of an experience with two places. First, we stopped for coffee and a muffin (they made these weird shallow muffins, not a normal shape) and both were totally horrible. We actually threw our coffee and muffin away! The place we got them from was right by the ferry...I think it was called something with a book reference in the name? Ugh.
                Then we grabbed 3 slices of pizza from Cousin Vinny's for the ferry and the pizza was awful. The plain cheese was OK I guess, but the pepperoni and veggie were like lead, with waaaayyyy too much heavy cheese. Boy, it's not easy to screw up pizza, but again, we threw half away.

                On the good side, we had two terrific catered dinners at Roche Harbor Resort, which is really saying something. The cafe there, though, has pretty lame food for breakfast. I had a dry and bland sausage and mushroom omelet, and my husband had the prime rib hash with "holiday" sauce. I loved the typo, but the hash was only so-so.
                So I guess the good news is that if you're hosting your wedding at Roche Harbor Resort, the food will be good, but otherwise? Well, good luck.