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Aug 10, 2009 04:33 PM

Orcas Island eats?

We will be staying for a couple of nights on Orcas Island. Any recs for great places for lunch or dinner? Thanks in advance, chowhounds!

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  1. Rose's for both (though they only have dinner a few nights I think). It's a fantastic place. Inn at Ship Bay is good for dinner as well.

    1 Reply
    1. just came back from a week on Orcas -
      Had several meals at Roses as I do every year - they open for breakfast at 10 and I'm pretty sure they close at 5 every night - no dinner. However this may not be the case during the month of August so be sure to check. They make great sandwiches in the take-away part of the store so you can pick some up (as well as some great cookies and cupcakes) for a picnic lunch where ever you are on the island.

      My family lives locally and they say Ship Bay is currently serving the best food on the island. I hear it can be crowded Friday and Saturday nights so make a res if you want to try it.

      You may know that the famous Christina's has been sold though the new owners have kept the name. Unfortunately the food is not as good as it was when Christina was cooking there. I hear Bilbo's Mexican has gone down in quality as well.

      We had a nice dinner at the Westsound Cafe one night, underneath the Kingfisher Inn ( in Westsound). It's casual but good. They have a variety of seafood dishes as well as things like burgers and fries.

      finally- last year there were 2 women from Thailand cooking a few night a week in the basement of the Oddfellows Hall. I noticed this year that there is a cafe across from the Island Market called something like "2 thai ladies cooking" ...something like that. If these are the same people ( ask a Local) and you like Thai food you may want to try them. The food we had last year was terrific.

      I hope you enjoy your stay!

      1 Reply
      1. re: goodcookin

        These recs are wonderful. Thank you so much!

      2. Was at Olga's Cafe in June. Very tasty.

        1. Thanks for all the great recs! We ended up going to Rose's for lunch one day - it was excellent. The bread was also so good we went back the next day to pick up some bread and cheese for a picnic. We also tried Doe Bay Cafe' - what a treat! It was definitely the best dinner we had on our trip. Highly recommend it!

          Would have loved to try Inn at Ship's Bay but just didn't have time. We'll be back!

          3 Replies
          1. re: foodseeker

            Can you tell me a bit about Doe Bay? The last time I ate there was 15 years ago, and then I would best describe it as young wannabe hippies who don't know how to cook, making really bad "health food."

            1. re: christy319

              I think it has changed. We had absolutely no expectations going to Doe Bay, and we were totally blown away. My husband ordered scallops which he claims were the best scallops he's ever had. They were prepared atop a risotto cake with delicious veggies and were excellent. I had an asian style vegetable bowl atop brown rice and it was incredible - unlike other similar types of veggie dishes I have had. The food was healthy, but well prepared, very flavorful and extremely fresh. The place was also packed and we had a hard time getting in since we didn't have a reservation. I'd definitely recommend that you give them another try!

              1. re: foodseeker

                I second this. We were up there in early August, and had superb food--particularly the Artichoke Agnolotti, which are still described on the current menu, though the prep might have been slightly different (?) (

                We'd had dinner at Inn at Ship Bay the night before -- also excellent, as noted -- and talked briefly with the chef/owner, who spoke highly of Doe Bay's current chef.

                Worth watching. Reservations are a good idea -- we couldn't get inside seats as drop-ins, and sat outside instead; worked in the summer but might not be such a good idea later in the year.

          2. We returned from 4 days on Orcas on Sept 25. This post is probably too late for you but I wanted to get if off my mind.

            We were blown away by the dinner we had at the New Leaf Cafe (in the Outlook Inn). The grilled fig salad with local greens, pear, pancetta, and gorgonzola with a creamy lemon pear dressing was sensational. My wild mushroom risotto with hazelnuts, pear tomatoes, crimini and shitake mushrooms was in the same league as any risotto I have had in the US or Europe. My wife's shellfish pot with Buck Bay Clams, mussels, and Alaskan King Crab was excellent. I do not know about Seattle, but the New Leaf could be compared to the best restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area where we live. The Chef is Robert Chenault, a Cordon Bleu graduate, who I am told is new there.

            We had been told by locals that the Inn at Ship Bay was the place to go and we arrived in eager anticipation of a good meal. My wife had wild salmon. It was overcooked to the point that it was dry. I ordered the Bouillabaisse which was offered as a special that day. The broth that should be based on a rich fish stock and seasoned with saffron was flavored saltwater seasoned with black pepper in an attempt to hide its inadequacy. The best thing that I can say is that I have had many orders of Bouillabaisse at many restaurants over the last 50 years and this is the worst I have ever had. In summary, the kitchen was not capable of preparing the dishes offered.

            Kingfish Inn was a pleasant change of pace. Nothing pretentious. They prepare a few things and do them well. I was delighted to see fried oysters on the menu and they were excellent. We were told that salmon with red curry sauce and halibut with green curry sauce were "signature dishes". So we tried both and were pleased.

            When we walked into the dining room of the Deer Harbor Inn the next night we were a little put off by the 1940s country western decor and the small number of diners. A smoked salmon appetizer with slices of Gravenstein apples off their tree opened our mind. A well made broccoli soup and a salad of tender and fresh local greens sealed the deal. Having eaten nothing but fish and shellfish for the preceding five days I ordered a New York steak. It was a very good cut, cooked perfectly. My wife's Penne with seafood was up to expectations. The apple pie with Gravenstein apples was better than any that my mother ever made. We only ate there once, but the fact that so many different things were prepared well gave us the impression that this was a reliable kitchen.

            Now here is the surprising thing: Each of the dinners we had with wine and tip cost almost exactly the same thing. In the City, I would expect to spend twice as much for the dinner that we had at New Leaf Cafe.

            2 Replies
            1. re: jmoule

              Thanks for the report--I hadn't heard anything about the New Leaf Cafe but it sounds like it's a must-try.

              1. re: christy319

                Glad to know about the new chef at the New Leaf--I'm putting it on my list for my next visit.

                Very surprised to hear that you had such a bad experience at Ship Bay, especially with overcooked salmon! It's been consistently excellent on my visits over the years (most recently in May of this year).

                I've had good meals at both Kingfish and Deer Harbor...glad to hear you enjoyed them.