For one of Astoria ’s more notable restaurants, try Silver Salmon Grille (1105 Commercial St., 503/338-6640, 11 a.m.–9 p.m. or later daily, main courses $13–28) for fine dining in an atmosphere that’s somewhat formal but not starchy. Attractive murals of the eponymous fish adorn the walls inside and out, and salmon takes pride of place on the dinner menu as well in a variety of preparations that are fresh and cooked to perfection. Pasta dishes, additional seafood items such as razor clams, and several meat choices fill out the extensive menu. The wine list here is extensive and includes a wide range of reasonably priced house wines made especially for the restaurant by the very good Maryhill Winery in the Columbia Gorge.
Settle in for some excellent seafood at Bridgewater Bistro (20 Basin St., 503/235-6777, 11 a.m.–close daily, $4–26), where you can graze on tapas (small plates menu 3–5 p.m.), sample a four-course prix fixe meal ($45), or order regular-size or smaller entrées. The soaring ceiling and riverside setting of the historic building next to the Cannery Pier Hotel is almost as compelling as the food. (Note to longtime coast visitors: The Bridgewater is owned by the same folks who used to run the legendary Shoalwater Restaurant up on Washington’s Long Beach peninsula.)
In a century-old converted cannery building on Pier 6, Gunderson’s Cannery Cafe (1 6th St., 503/325-8642, 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon., 8 a.m.–9 p.m. Tues.–Sun. summer, 8 a.m.–8 p.m. Tues.–Sun. winter, lounge 4 p.m.–late nightly, dinner entrées $11–26) seats you as close to the waterfront as you can get without a boat and serves up an innovative bill of fare that’s popular with locals and knowledgeable out-of-towners. Whether you have crab cakes in red pepper pesto or pecan-crusted halibut, leave room for the desserts you’ll pass in the display case at the entrance. The lunch menu features a halibut burger, generous Caesar salads, and pizzas on homemade focaccia crust.
At the end of 12th Street, overlooking the Columbia, Baked Alaska (1 12th St., 503/325-7414, 10 a.m.–11 p.m. daily, dinner entrées $18–32) features Alaska-style campfire wild salmon with amber ale barbecue sauce, coffee-dusted albacore tuna with balsamic ginger glaze, and a selection of hand-cut steaks and baby back ribs. A nice detail is the availability of many entrées as smaller portions, priced at $18. But about that name—yes, you can get baked Alaska here—the restaurant’s twist on this classic dessert is basically a flaming ice cream sundae served on chocolate-chip cookies. The views rival the food, particularly in summer when there’s deck seating.