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Looking for Unique/Unforgettable Seafood/local beer experiences for July road trip leaving Seattle and driving down the Oregon Coast

Taking 4 days to drive the Oregon Coast - looking for your Chowhound wisdom to guide me to many local classic seafood stops - also best places to pick up cooked crabs/fresh oysters etc for picnic stops - Thanks in advance for your suggestions...

My early research has found the following - opinions would be appreciated
(I love to make many quick stops in a day to try small bites of local classics)

Chester's Tavern - South Bend - Fried Oysters
River View Diner - South Bend - BBQ oysters
Ship Inn - Astoria - Pints and ?
Ecolla Seafoods - Cannon Beach - take out seafood
Chowder Bowl - Nye Beach - ?
Xinh's Clam and Oyster House - Shelton - ?
The Cannery - Garibaldi - ?
Norma's - Seaside - Oyster Stew
(I will be looking for the best oyster stew and pan fried oysters on the coast)
Lunasea - Yachats - ?
Cheese Factory - Tillamook - Cheese and Icecream
Port Oxford - ?

Looking forward to eating and drinking my way through the Oregon Coast

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  1. Port Orford, not Oxford.
    In Depot Bay I had a good crab cocktail at Sea Hag.
    Tillamook Cheese Factory: Meh. Best public restroom on the coast.
    Had some good chowder at Chowder Bowl.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Leonardo

      Depoe Bay, not Depot. ;-)

      I think Tillamook Cheese Factory is worth a stop for the ice cream and cheese - nothing wrong with that! But they do have good restrooms, for sure.

      1. re: Leonardo

        checked Sea Hags menu out - steamers, oysters and a pint!!!

        1. re: Leonardo

          a chowder and the cajun oyster club sounds good - and a side of clam fritters...
          how is their bread pudding with brandy sauce?

        2. At the Ship Inn — halibut fish and chips.

          Bell Buoy of Seaside for crabs and other seafood for a picnic. The smoked sturgeon is highly recommended.

          I always get oyster stew at Norma's in preference to chowder. Although oysters are best served pan fried and I recommend the Silver Salmon Grill in Astoria.

          If you stop in Tillamook for cheese, go also to Blue Heron, not far from the Tillamook Cheese factory. Their brie is a better cheese for a picnic than cheddar.

          10 Replies
          1. re: GH1618

            Cancel that Blue Heron tip, at it seems their brie is now outsourced. Instead, try to get to Willapa Farms in SW Washington and buy their "Two-Faced Blue." This is an exceptional local cheese. Of course you can buy it in Seattle, if you know where to look.

            1. re: GH1618

              halibut and a pint sounds good - seafood cocktails/chowder worth having?

              will for sure check out the sturgeon
              opinion on Netart bay oysters ?

              oyster stew at Norma's - excellent suggestion - from their menu it looks like I should also try their world famous clam chowder

              Silver Salmon - good oyster stew? to go with the pan fried oysters

              Thanks for the suggestions... can't wait for this seafood trek

              1. re: Peldog

                Their "world famoys" clam chowder isn't what it used to be — Norma is long gone — and I'm pretty sure it's not made with razor clams.

                1. re: GH1618

                  is there anything like East coast whole belly fried clams out here on the West coast... or is there just clam strips

                  1. re: Peldog

                    I don't know what that is. I'm from Clatsop County, Ore. Our clam is the Pacific razor clam, served whole (that is, cleaned, of course). A serving is typically four clams, but I can eat six.

                    I don't know about clam strips. When we don't have a whole clam, we make fritters or chowder.

                    There are steamer clams from Nehalem Bay or somewhere. I'm not familiar with them.

                    1. re: GH1618

                      clam strips are no where near as good - all coating, very little clam meat

                    2. re: Peldog

                      No such thing as whole belly fried clams here.

                2. re: GH1618

                  do places like Bell Buoy sell fresh steamed whole crabs to go, or just the crab meat...

                  1. re: Peldog

                    Whole, or cleaned, or just meat, fresh or canned. You might be able to get a live one.

                    Oh, and I don't know anything about places "like" Bell Buoy. There's only Bell Buoy (in Seaside).

                    1. re: GH1618

                      not doing any cooking on this trip - just going to enjoy the just off the boats - simply prepared - local catch - in the local establishments and as take out with a bottle or two of wine at a scenic lookout...

                3. By the way, you can stop for Tillamook ice cream in Seaside at a little place on the south side of Broadway just before the Turnaround. I forget the name.

                  16 Replies
                  1. re: GH1618

                    About 15 places in Portland make ice cream that is worlds better than Tillamook.

                    Blue Heron is a tourist trap. And they don't make cheese. They do offer pony rides though. Or hayrides. Or something.

                    1. re: Leonardo

                      Blue Heron did when I was last there, admittedly quite awhile ago. Perhaps it has changed.

                      I don't think the OP is going through Portland, and ice cream isn't the main thing on the NW coast anyway. The main attractions are Willapa Bay oysters (pan-fried), Columbia River sturgeon (smoked), and razor clams (in my opinion).

                      1. re: GH1618

                        Best ways to have/places to enjoy a feed of razor clams?

                        1. re: Peldog

                          There are plenty of places serving razor clams, but I'm not up on the best places. When I'm in town (Seaside), I buy them at Bell Buoy and my mother cooks them. Most anyplace should be able to do a competent job on a simple fried razor clam.

                          1. re: GH1618

                            would a fried razor clam be like a whole belly or clam strip

                          2. re: Peldog

                            Here are some options for fried razor clams in Seaside, varying by atmosphere:

                            sports bar: Dundee's — I haven't had their clams, I go there for a halibut burger with Tillamook cheese, which they do very well.

                            Dining with a view: Maggie's On The Prom — This place is supposed to be good, but when I tried to get there last time I was in town, their schedule didn't match mine, so I haven't been.

                            Middle-of-the-road: Dooger's is the old standby — it's been there for many years, and I have had clams there a few times.

                            Understand that when I am at the beach, I am not wanting a fine dining experience, just a highly competent job of preparing local seafood.

                            Oh, I almost forgot — get crab cakes at the Wet Dog Saloon in Astoria.

                            1. re: GH1618

                              Thanks for the recommendations - the summer can't come soon enough...
                              sounds like I might be doing a seafood pub crawl in Astoria

                              1. re: Peldog

                                Razor clam season closes July 15.

                                1. re: GH1618

                                  that's not good - I'm not on the Oregon coast until the end of July!

                                  1. re: Peldog

                                    I'm not sure how long restaurants keep fresh clams. That seems a little long. My mother insists they're just as good frozen.

                          3. re: GH1618

                            OP asked for "unique/unforgettable". Someone suggested Tillamook. Their ice cream is not unique and quite forgettable. So I pointed that out.

                            1. re: Leonardo

                              Thanks for the heads up - are there any great ice cream stops that you know of along the coast - won't be making it to portland on this trip...

                              1. re: Peldog

                                Better bring some Lovin' Scoopful with you.

                          4. re: Leonardo

                            There is a review in cyberspace which claims that Blue Heron is repackaging supermarket brie as their own. I have no idea if this is true or not. If it were, wouldn't they get into some trouble over it?

                            Update: A more reliable source writes that they do outsource their cheese now. So there's no point to it.

                          5. re: GH1618

                            For what it's worth, the place on Broadway is Tsunami Sandwich. We were there just a few minutes ago. And while Tillamook may not be the most spectacular Ice Cream around, the only other ice cream place open tonight in Seaside serves Dreyer's. The dipping Tillamook has a very different texture than the supermarket stuff, which is way too light and fluffy. Tonight's was dense and chewy and quite rich and satisfying. Not Snoqualmie, mind you, but still pretty good on a clear summer night.

                            1. re: acgold7

                              Thanks for taking the time to reply - will let my wife the icecream expert make the call on our icecream stops...

                          6. Alloro wine bar in Bandon has great Italian.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: PappyAustin

                              My wife loves Italian - and wine - we'll stop in...

                            2. You might add Local Ocean in Newport to your list. They have a fish counter/case as well as a creative kitchen.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Sushiqueen36

                                I checked out their menu - love fish tacos - are Yaquina Bay oysters as good as Willapa Bay?
                                Thanks for the suggestion...

                                1. re: Peldog

                                  Not sure - I'm not a big oyster connoisseur so I wouldn't be the right person to ask. Their menu varies based on what's fresh and the whims of the chef. I had a hot/sour soup there once with a little fried rice ball in the middle and fresh bay shrimp - it was excellent but I haven't been there again when it's on the menu.

                              2. Xinh's is a cut above excellent, but only open for dinner. Amazing preparation and flavors.

                                Don't be surprised that River View Diner is just barely a shack. Superb BBQ oysters and other stuff.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Steve K

                                  shacks are my kind of place - nothing fancy - just great food...

                                  Xinh's menu has a good selection - will check it out...thanks

                                  1. re: Steve K

                                    So happy to hear the River View Diner is still there and still turing out great BBQ Oysters. Haven't been up that way for 5 years but when we did we loved them =)

                                    1. re: MissBubbles

                                      Thanks for the suggestion - soooo many options to choose from... can't wait for the summer to arrive

                                  2. There's a hard-to-find restaurant in Newport, OR called ARR Place, that is out of this world. No signage, not even numbers on their mailbox. But looking for them is worth it.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: joeinseattle

                                      Sounds like a classic triple D diner serving great food - will have to check it out - thanks for the heads up - will be hard to decide what to order at this place, so many great choices...

                                    2. You might look into The Schooner restaurant in Netarts (near Tillamook). It's going to be a little out of your way but they feature local everything and have a great view. We really enjoyed it on our visit...

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. How about Karla's Smokehouse in north Rockaway for take out smoked fish - terrific and special when we tried it a while back. Website is requesting pre-orders now?

                                        http://www.karlassmokehouse.com

                                        I love Alloro in Bandon but not sure it fits OP's special request unless they have fish/seafood specials that night?

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: oregoncook

                                          Is there a smoked fish Karla's is famous for, that you shouldn't miss
                                          The Alloro looks like a nice wine bar - will check it out -
                                          thanks...

                                          1. re: Peldog

                                            Karla is an old friend of my family. It pains me to say this: Karla has closed her business after 47 years. With her health concerns, she was unable to continue. This happened in May. A huge loss. She was an Oregon cultural treasure. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Karlas...
                                            See the notices May 9-10. Huge sad face for me...

                                            1. re: Leonardo

                                              I am so sorry to hear that. And for you personally, Leonardo.

                                              1. re: oregoncook

                                                Thank you. At least now she is out of the hospital and recovering at home.