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Portland to Big Sur - Must Eats?

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Coming from NYC in late May, am all set on great places to eat in Portland and have begun researching stops along the way down to Big Sur (taking just over 12 days to do the trip) - but I figure in all the small coastal towns along 101, there have got to be hidden gems that might not get attention elsewhere. Anyone have some places that they dream about?

All cuisines welcome - my partner is a HUGE shellfish fan and loves clam chowder so I think she'll be in heaven. I'm more looking for spots that embody the character of the various small towns that we will traveling through. Or places that make the best fries you've ever tasted...that sort of thing. Obviously, if you have recs for more upscale food along the way for a nice dinner here and there, that would be welcomed too. We will be alternating between camping and hoteling.

Thanks in advance for sharing your favorites!

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  1. Any extra room in your car? . . .

    1. Nehalem River Inn is very close off 101 and the best place to eat on the coast from at least Seaside to Newport - not cheap, but worth every penny: http://www.nehalemriverinn.com/restau...

      The oyster stew from Pacific Oyster (local oysters, and local milk/cream/butter from Tillamook) is awesome: http://www.pacseafood.com/locations/b...