Best Restaurants of the Pacific Northwest?
My fiance and I are planning our honeymoon with a culinary tour of the pacfic northwest starting with in Vancouver, driving down to San Francisco for 2 weeks with 2-3 days for vancouver, seattle, portland, napa/sonoma + san fran. We love to eat just about anything and can do so in a dive or in a 5 star restuarant. Neither of us have ever been ...any suggestions if you only had 2-3 days to sample the best of your cities??
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First, I'm jealous. Sounds like a fantastic trip. Since you said it was a culinary trip - you and your fiance must have some ideas as to what you'd like to try/experience. Have you read up on the PNW as far as the food scene goes - or are you starting here in your research? (not being snarky - just trying to get a better idea of where to point you.)
There are SO many places to suggest. Give us a little more detail and you'll be put on the right course.
For Seattle, 5 star would be The Herb Farm. Fantastic food, sourced at the farm. My wife and I almost had our wedding reception there. Can not recommend it enough.
Unsure of dives, but Salumi is another must eat at location in Seattle. Cured meats, etc. completely wonderful and a fave.
I feel like I have all the detail I need. I can totally relate to your question. In Portland, I'd suggest you go to Le Pigeon and sit at the counter. If there's a long wait, you can put your name on the list and have a drink at Doug Fir one block away.
Another fun thing to do would be to go to Pok Pok for dinner and walk a few blocks up to Pix for a chocolate or two for dessert.
I know these are kind of Portland cliches, but this is what I might do if I only had two days!
I live in Vancouver so can only provide fair reviews for this area and will list some favorites by category:
Italian: Cioppino's, I have been many times and it has never dissapointed. Very reliable, fine Italian dining in yaletown. Dishes to order are the porcini mushroom soup and any pasta featuring lobster. (expensive)
Sushi: well recognized as the best in Vancouver is Tojo's (expensive) but we have a ton of good sushi places that are moderately priced as well including Honjin and Kishu in yaletown.
Indian: Vij's (expensive) and Rangoli (inexpensive) owned by Vikram Vij. The first is fine dining and the bistro next door is casual and both are excellent (love the curried cauliflower, thin rotis, eggplant curry) but I also love Himalaya (hole in the wall) on main street in little india (love paneer (cheese) filled naans) and Salaam Bombay (moderate for location) in the heart of downtown is really good and service is excellent (right above Hermes store).
Go Fish on Granville Island has the best and freshest fish and chips I have ever tasted and my faves are the cod tacones which are fish tacos filled with a crisp and spicy coleslaw, fish, and tomato in a flour tortilla. You can get them with salmon and ahi tuna as well-absolutley delish! Halibut and chips is great too. I love Granville Island for food in general. Some of my faves in the market: Lee's donuts-best you will ever have. For real butter croissants and fresh breads and pastries-La Baguette and L'Echalote.
In Vancouver we are well known for our Japanese Izakaya eateries which is Japanese pub food and there is a Guu restaurant in Gastown (inexpensive) which is excellent (they have 3 others around town). My faves there are deep fried brie, ebi mayo (deep fried prawns with a spicy mayo sauce), and the renkon chips which go great with cocktails. The fried banana tempura with coconut ice cream is excellent.
Anyhow those are my Vancouver faves (there are too many to list:)-hope you guys have a great honeymoon and enjoy all the restaurants you decide on! PS if you go to Victoria go to Pizzeria Primostrada-authentic neapolitan style pizza.
I like Guu well enough but really I'd put Portland's "big three" izakayas (Tanuki, Biwa, and Yuzu) head to head with any of them in Vancouver.
That being said, while in Vancouver I would definitely try out Tojo's and Vij's. Chinese food in general is quite strong there, too, if you feel like bookending your trip with Chinese in Vancouver and then San Francisco.
On the Guu's - their popularity exceeds their quality. Gastronomically speaking, there are much better izakaya here - but the boisterous Bladerunner-ish late-night atmosphere at the Guu's is a large part of the charm. It is in concentration of izakaya and izakaya-like places that Vancouver is known for....probably 2-3 dozen now in a small walkable section in Westend. It makes for a long tipsy evening.
I very much enjoyed my meals at Tanuki (which reminds me of our own Zakkushi for the kushiyaki) and Yuzu (which reminds me of our Gyoza King). Looking forward to my next visit to Portland...I love it there. (I have relatives in Lake Oswego).