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Jan 17, 2012 09:21 PM

Willamette Valley Area Restaurants

Spending Weekend in April in Willamette Valley Area and looking for 2-3 great restaurants for dinner

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  1. Jory @ The Allison Inn & Spa is very good. We also love Red Hills Provencial Dining, Joel Palmer House, Dundee Bistro and Tina's. Farm to Fork @ The Inn @ Red Hills is also very good. :)

    1. What part of the Willamette Valley are you staying in? Do you want to focus on the McMinnville/Dundee area or branch out?

      2 Replies
        1. re: chrisfb

          Syrahgirl made some lovely suggestions. If you plan on branching out I'd suggest the Crooked House Bistro in West Salem. It's small and comfortable. Great atmosphere and great food. The kind of place you are always looking for in the wine country. Bernard works wonders with mostly local ingredients and does a great job of pairing appropriate wines. He's French and his suggestions reflect it. It may be a little out of the way but I really think it's worth it!

        1. re: L.Nightshade

          Excellent detailed trip report! My two favorite in McMinnville are Nick's and Thistle. Nick's is open for lunch with a limited selection of some of their dinner favorites (like the crab and pine nut lasagne) as well as some wonderful panini and pizza from their wood-fired oven. The porchetta panini is amazing.

          If you're in Newberg, Jory is a great choice as is The Painted Lady.

          1. re: L.Nightshade

            Your reviews were great! We are going to be in mcminnville in March for two nights with a 9 month baby in tow. Are Nick's and Thistle family friendly for lunch or dinner? If not does anyone have any suggestions on places to eat with baby? LOVE good food (any genre and price point) -- don't feel that having a little one should resign us to eating at chains and hope there are some options for us (good take out is an option fo us too)...thanks! We looking forward to our first visit to the area!

            1. re: Dr. J

              I'm not sure about the other places, you'd have to call and inquire. Bistro Maison has an outside dining area, so that might be nice if the weather is good. I'm pretty sure I remember some well-behaved children in Nicks. But, sadly, I would have to say that Thistle is definitely not a place for kids. Diners sit at very small tables, very close to other tables. They have a small menu, and not much flexibility. For casual lunches Community Plate or Crescent Cafe would probably work fine. There are lots of other places that I didn't have a chance to try also!

              1. re: Dr. J

                Nightshade is right about Thistle - definitely not kid friendly. Nick's will be more appropriate for a lunch date with the kids - dinner might be a little tricky as they can be pretty crowded and they tend to have a more relaxed attitude so meals can take a couple of hours.

                You might consider La Rambla or Kame in addition to Bistro Maison. Both are very good - La Rambla is Spanish tapas and can be bustling enough to drown out a baby (if needed), Kame is our local Japanese restaurant serving very authentic Japanese food - sushi included- there shouldn't be a problem with a child there. Both Kame and La Rambla are open for lunch (I love LR's crab and shrimp cake sandwich for lunch...).

                1. re: Sushiqueen36

                  Interesting to hear you recommend La Rambla. We had a very disappointing experience there (don't know whether you've read my review that is referenced above). But the menu sounded so great, I wondered if we might have hit it on the chef's night off.

                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                    I did read your reviews - you did such a great job of representing the restaurants. I just went back and re-read your La Rambla review. One of my biggest frustrations with restaurants is consistency - if you are consistently mediocre or awful or great, I can deal with that. It's so irritating to have a great meal one day and an awful experience the next. Personally, I haven't eaten any of the dishes you mentioned in your review. I've had very good meals at dinner and disappointing ones - most often it's basic seasoning that is off. I've not yet been disappointed at lunch - I usually have the crab/shrimp cake sandwich but have also enjoyed the hamburger. I love their house salad also. Cocktails seem to be consistently good (haven't tried ordering sherry though). Recently with friends we had their goat cheese tapas, fried potatoes and fried green beans. The potatoes and goat cheese were great but the green beans should have been sent back; they were soggy. The drinks I had were excellent.

                    Looking back at my comments - I probably shouldn't have said "very good". La Rambla can be very good but you're right - it's not reliably consistent. I do think it's a good option for those with kids...

                    I am standing by my "very good" of Kame though.

                    1. re: Sushiqueen36

                      I understand what you said about consistency. Sometimes a place gives you something good just frequently enough to keep you coming back, but then disappoints. But we might give La Rambla a shot at lunch next time. That crap/shrimp cake sandwich sounds good. I really liked the atmosphere there. We'll look into Kame too. McMinnviile has so much to offer!
                      And thanks for your kind words about my reviews!

                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                        I think when I suggested La Rambla I was salivating over that sandwich. They put lemon aioli and a roasted tomato slice on it with nice, chewy bread (which is great so the cake doesn't fly onto your dining companion's plate). I just had dinner and it still sounds good to me. And I do love the atmosphere there - that will keep me coming back.

                  2. re: Sushiqueen36

                    Thank you for your suggestions, Nightshade and Sushiqueen! Sounds like some good options for us. We will check some of those out!