Some of coastal Oregon’s top dining experiences are found just south of Lincoln City. The reasonable prices at the Salishan Lodge’s Sun Room Restaurant (7760 N. U.S. 101, Gleneden Beach, www.salishan.com, dinners $11–23) are a welcome surprise. This casual restaurant might be less elaborate and half the price of Salishan’s five-star Dining Room, but its Northwest cuisine comes from the same kitchen.
At Salishan’s Dining Room (800/452-2300, 5 p.m–close, $28–52) special emphasis is placed on seasonal seafood, game, and other regional delicacies. The elegance of the setting, expansive wine list, and creative dishes have long made this a coastal dining destination. Dishes may include salmon with wild mushrooms and blue cheese soufflé or duck breast with pecan and pear bread pudding. For decades the Dining Room has been one of the top-rated restaurants in Oregon, famed for its creative interpretations of seasonal Northwest delicacies and a 12,000-bottle wine cellar noted for the world’s largest collection of Oregon pinot noir.
The Blackfish Cafe (2733 NW U.S. 101, 541/996-1007, www.blackfishcafe.com, 11:30 a.m.–close Wed.–Mon., $12–23) is a great find. Presided over by former Salishan Resort executive chef Rob Pounding, who has longstanding relationships with local farmers, anglers, and mushroom foragers, the Blackfish Cafe, in the tradition of James Beard, is dedicated to fairly priced and delicious regional cooking. The emphasis is on what’s fresh, homegrown, and creative—Willamette Valley pork loin with rhubarb-apple relish and troll-caught chinook salmon with Oregon blue cheese mashed potatoes. There is no shortage of humbler fare either, such as the self-proclaimed best clam chowder on the coast and Pacific City dory-caught fish-and-chips.
The Bay House (5911 SW U.S. 101, 541/996-3222, lunch 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m. Tues.–Sat., dinner 5:30 p.m.–close nightly, lunch $12–18, dinner $34–48) combines oceanfront views with exquisite Northwest cuisine. Alaskan halibut is parmesan-crusted and served with sorrel velouté, and the signature crab cakes come with lemon aioli. Oenophiles will want to look at the wine list, praised by Wine Spectator. Dinner here with a bottle of Oregon pinot noir can easily set you back $75 per person, but for a special occasion, the setting and the food can’t be beat. If dinner is out of your price range, consider stopping in for lunch or a cocktail, both of which offer a less costly and formal opportunity to sample the restaurant’s nearly legendary cuisine.
A half mile south of Salishan (five miles equidistant from Depoe Bay and Lincoln City) is a Gleneden Beach eatery with considerable appeal. The Side Door Café (6675 Gleneden Beach Loop, 541/764-3825, 11:30 a.m.–8 p.m. Sun.–Mon. and Wed.–Thurs., 11:30 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri.–Sat., $19–29) combines a gourmet restaurant with a musical venue. The airy yet cozy-feeling dining room features a menu where peach barbecue-glazed salmon and chanterelle mushroom hazelnut lasagna exemplify the menu offerings. The adjoining state-of-the-art Eden Hall Theater might feature a Northwest artist with a national reputation, such as jazz singer Nancy King or Portland-based Delta blues artist Kelly Joe Phelps.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel