Big Wave Café: Attractive and Convenient, but No View
Most of Manzanita is located off of highway 101, and therefore is somewhat off the beaten path. However, it is not possible to miss the Big Wave Café, with its huge big wave mural and which sits at a sharp corner on highway 101 so that the mural of a huge wave is the biggest impression of Manzanita that most people receive as they drive through the town.
Unfortunately, the location on highway 101 means that you don't get much of a view of anything, as the highway is a bit far away from anything through this area.
The good news is that for those passing through town, this is one of the most convenient restaurants in town, as the parking lot has a view both directions for getting back out onto the highway, and you don't have to explore the wonderful little coastal town of Manzanita if you don't want to.
The parking lot is shared between this restaurant and the one next door, slightly down the hill from it.
The interior is modern and attractive, and yet it is an Oregon Coast type of modern that has its traditional elements, and is a reminder that many of these little restaurants on the coast have been standing since the 1930s and still going strong - though they may change owners and themes and interior details from time to time.
It is also very obvious that this is a family run establishment, as intermixed among the artwork on the walls you will also find a few photographs of the owner's daughters, and other such personal touches.
Favorite Dish: I liked the sounds of the Tuesday Daily Special, which was a spaghetti dish with meat marinara sauce and a slice of garlic bread for $7.95. When I received the dish, it seemed like a fairly small serving, but at the same time I also found the dish to be quite filling for the size of it, so in this particular case I would say that quality of food certainly makes up for the quantity. Rather than lots of empty food, this place seems to instead make very well prepared dishes that satisfy the appetite with a smaller amount of food.
I also had a salad, which was made up of a variety of greens, and didn't just include lettuce. I am highly critical of places that think that "salad" means to toss a few pieces of lettuce onto a plate with no additional vegetables. The Big Wave Café has enough sense to make salads out of a variety, and for that they certainly earn my praise.
To top it off, I had a piece of wonderful Marionberry Pie with Ice Cream, which was absolutely wonderful and fresh hot out of the oven.
- Road Trip
YOUR KITCHEN: Don't Miss The Fresh Seafood!
The food from your kitchen is, of course, limited only by your imagination and local products. There are a multitude of local seafoods available locally. In the nearby forests, wild mushrooms abound - in the proper seasons. The ambiance and surroundings are determined by who you are with and the place that you are staying in. Outside dining is even possible if it got warm enough that day! Be prepared for some noise though, the ocean's surf is always pounding.
For those less inclined to cook, there are several small restaurants in Manzanita and the nearby Nehalem Bay towns of Nehalem and Wheeler which can fit your bill.
Favorite Dish: My favorite dish might be a good forest mushroom risotto cooked up in stock saved from the mussels eaten the night before. But then again, it might be a nice piece of fish grilled to perfection on the little charcoal barbeque.
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