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Good Foodie Spot in Bellingham/Fairhaven???

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Anyone in Bellingham that can recommend a good foodie spot or great non-chain spot. I will be up there for the weekend but the only meal I will be having out is dinner on Saturday. If found a few spots:

Nimbus
Flats Tapas Bar
Cliffhouse

I have done the yelp.com thing and looked a local food blog, but any pointers from locals in Bellingham or people that have eaten around there would be great!

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  1. I haven't yet been to Nimbus or Cliff House, but I can vouch for Flats. It's cozy, the food is reliably delicious (the anchovies on baguette, the lamb-stuffed piquillos and the grilled sausage sandwich are favorites), and the waitstaff are friendly and helpful and have great taste in wine. We've been there many, many times.

    Another great spot is Tivoli on Commercial. Elegant food, well prepared, and really nice ambience. The short rib is one of my husband's favorite dishes anywhere. We like to go around the corner to the Temple Bar for a coffee afterwards.

    1. My long, passionate reply was moderated right off the board, so I'll try again.

      I think Nimbus is a waste of your time as a foodie. Food science tricks and good raw ingredients does not a wonderful meal make. I suppose if you want my full tirade, you can email me, but I bet that's what got my post deleted. And it's inaccessible, if that matters to you.

      I think Tivoli is a wonderful place that is really deserving of a Saturday night out. It's on Commercial Street next to the Irish bar Uisce. The food is made with heart and care. I highly recommend the coq au vin, duck preparations, steak and wine specials.

      I've heard wonderful things about Flats as well, but it's inaccessible.

      Maybe check out Quel Fromage in Fairhaven for a snack or picnic? It's an exceptional cheese shop.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Vetter

        Thanks to you both! Can either of you share any info on Big Fat Fish Co.? A couple people I am going to be up there are making that suggestion.

        1. re: danindowntown

          Big Fat Fish Co. is definitely Sysco food. I've been there a couple times as a guest of friends. It's a nice dinner out for people who aren't foodies/hounds.

          If you want to stick to Fairhaven, you could also try the AW Asian Bistro just down the street. I've been underwhelmed by most of the noodle dishes I've had there, but the sushi has been very good, creative and neat to look at.

      2. Two of my favorite places to visit when in Bellingham are:

        Pepper Sisters (Southbound on State Street). They have been there for years and serve consistently good Southwestern food. Not fancy but lots of character. Sometimes there is a wait on weekends.

        Le Chat Noir (12th and Harris, upstairs in the Sycamore Bidg.). This is a small bar and restaurant serving wine , beer, and mixed drinks along with excellent food. The bar is nearly always full. Get a seat by the window for a great view of Fairhaven Harbor.

        1. Thanks for the tips everyone!

          1. By now, you've already had your dinner out in Bellingham. Let us know where you went and how it was. If you are up this way again and want sushi, go to Wasabee for the best deal on high quality sushi that you'll ever find!

            I haven't even bothered with Big Fat Fish Co., since everyone I know who has been there reports it is overpriced and not at all impressive. But, you got some other good suggestions on the board here.

            Another place that wasn't mentioned was Harborside Bistro, located at the Hotel Bellwether. Pricey, but good food and a killer view! Particularly at sunset.

            Another spot in Fairhaven that I've heard good things about if Fino's Wine Bar. Not sure of their status, we've had a few restaurants fold here recently. Hopefully, that wasn't one of them.

            3 Replies
            1. re: laurachow

              I almost suggested the Harborside Bistro, but I've only ever been there for happy hour! They have such a glorious view from out on the patio.

              I have a friend visiting here on a student visa from Japan, and she just said the other day that she'd only recommend Wasabee here in town. I've got to get over there!

              1. re: Vetter

                I wouldnt recommend the Harborside, at least for lunch. Overpriced (4 cooked oysters or 4 tempura shrip ~$14 each) and the service was a bit slow (with only 2 other tables occupied). If you do go, dont order chowder, its made by the sevring, and didnt show up until we the rest of us had eaten and were ready to leave. Beautiful place, but certainly not worth the cost

                1. re: Fad3d

                  I've had dinner twice and lunch once at the Harborside. Never impressed, and in fact have been seriously unhappy with most of the food I've ordered there. (Once ordered a steak salad where the steak served me was refrigerator cold. They claimed it was supposed to be that way, but it wasn't described that way on the menu. And they wouldn't take it back.) Beyond experiences like that, the food's very inconsistent--the owner has a difficult personality and no one likes working for him so turnover's high.

            2. My attempts to steer the group of family I was travelling with toward one of the recommendations from this board was unfortunately unsuccessful and we ended up eating at the Big Fat Fish Co. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't anything to write home about, especially at those prices. We did order their sesame calamari and I enjoyed that flavor combination. The Kobe Burger was sub-par but the fries were crunchy, salty goodness. We skipped dessert.

              For dessert we went to Mallard's Ice Cream, which was AMAZING! I had their Vanilla Black Pepper Ice Cream, wonderfully cream with just the right amount of bite from the pepper and my friends had chocolate and a coconut, chocolate and almond which were both excellent. I highly recommend this place.

              4 Replies
              1. re: danindowntown

                Ummm, Mallards! It is always fabulous.

                And, the Bagelry on that same block has the best bagels around. Just don't make the mistake of asking your bagel to be toasted or trying to pay with plastic. Both no-nos at this establishment, and the service can be sorta' snarly at times. But, the bagels are so good they are worth the inconvenience. My in-laws live in Fort Lauderdale, and we have better bagels in Bellingham than they have down there.

                If you come back, hopefully you can try a different restaurant!

                1. re: danindowntown

                  Mallard's is awesome. I have this thing for perfumey flavors, like lavendar and rose, and they do both amazingly well. I also tout the virtues of the Earl Grey. Nearby is Avenue Bread, which I spend a stupid amount of money at (danish with cream cheese, classic croissant, scones--only edible scone I've ever had in my life) and two streets up is the Old World Deli. Sadly I don't feel like we have many "high end" type restaurants, but little places with hidden gems are pretty common. Also check out the Black Drop coffeehouse for what will probably be the best coffee you've ever had. They roast their own beans and generally rock.

                  1. re: celtic_tiger

                    Ok, so I know it is after the fact but I feel I must defend Nimbus. It is true that this restaurant is expensive and not as good as many foodie destinations in Seattle. That said, the food is really quite good, very creative, and the restaurant has an amazing view over the bay. I really enjoyed a birthday meal there and would go again for a special occasion. Or for their happy hour, which is quite reasonably priced.

                    1. re: movesalot

                      Point taken. I do need to try it and I admit I am spoiled by Seattle. I had a glance at their menu awhile ago and it smacked of trying too hard, but maybe I am being too cynical.

                2. I haven't been that thrilled with Nimbus or the Cliffhouse. Flats is great. Tivoli is also great. Prospect Street Cafe is a step below Tivoli in my opinion, but still very good. I miss Fool's Onion.

                  Fino is quite good but I've only eaten there once. Pepper Sister's is great for a casual inexpensive meal; what they do they do very well.

                  1. Though I probably wouldn't call it a foodie spot, you can never go wrong with Mambo on the main drag in Fairhaven...