Thai Kitchen: Good ethnic food
This is a nice little place next to the Whale Museum. We were there on a hot day so w/no a/c we decided to eat outside. The service was prompt. The place did seem busy but most of their business seemed to be carry out for the locals.
Favorite Dish: They had a good garlic chicken and my wife had a well made curry dish. The curry had a little kick to it but it wasn't overpowering. If you can stand a little heat(medium salsa) you should be fine but if you need the mild salsa it may be too much for you. I thought it was good. She especially enjoyed the Thai Iced Tea(Iced Tea with I think coconut milk).
Downriggers: Food Decent - Service Spotty
Mainly a seafood menu but there were other options available. The restaurant itself does not have an special decor or feel to it but it does sit on/near the water. If the back deck is open you can eat out there. They had closed the deck so we ate inside.
Our service was ok even though the hostess seemed a bit distracted but I did see others wait awhile to place their orders.
Dinner with dessert and a non-alcoholic drink was 20-30 range. Most entrees seemed in the 16-20 range. This did seem to be average for most dinner places in Friday Harbor.
Favorite Dish: I had a scallop/shrimp dish with asparagus and rice. They actually did a good job by not burying the seafood with a sauce that hid the true flavor of the seafood.
Mi Casita: Mediocre Mexican in a great atmosphere
Our own little secret. Not the most authentic Mexican food that you can get your hands on, but the atmosphere is wonderful. The food is good and extremely moderate in cost. Plan ahead on weekends, as it is a favorite of the locals and gets very busy at about 6 pm.
Favorite Dish: The sizzling fajitas and the burritos are excellant. If you don't care for mexican, or your kids don't, they have the best, biggest burger that you will ever see.
- Family Travel
The China Pearl: Nightlife and Restaurant
This is one of our favorite places to go. It can be expensive especially if you are ordering for a large group. The good quality food makes up for the cash you spend. They also have takeout.
The upstairs is a lounge where they often have live music.It is a popular hangout.
Favorite Dish: My favorite dish would have to be either the breaded almond chicken or the sweet and sour chicken. Always a hit with the family.
The service is often slow, especially when they are really busy. Rather than waiting for a table, walk right in and go to the bar/lounge. They have an area with tables where families can sit as well as the adults-only section.
Favorite Dish: The calamari is the best! Their teriyaki chicken ceasar salad is wonderful also.
Thai Kitchen: Thai Kitchen
The only authentic ethnic restaurant on the island.
The food is very tasty and low in price compared to other places in Friday Harbor. Mostly locals eat there but some tourists have discovered it too.
Duck Soup Inn: Duck Soup Inn
The atmosphere in this restaurant cannot be matched. It is truly a unique experience. It is a rustic cabin, surrounded by trees and overlooking the pond. Whenever people ask for visiting Friday Harbor advice, this is one place we tell them they cannot miss.
Favorite Dish: Their menu varies but it is always incredibly tasty.
The Market Chef: A cozy local food restaurant
The Market Chef is a cafe restaurant that has an original concept. It is an open kitchen with 4 partner cooks that do the cashier and managing by rotation. The food is simple, made of fresh ingredients and looks very homish. We had delcious macaroni and cheese and greek salad. A nice restaurant a little different from all the fast food places around. The funny and original thing is that they request the clients to clean the table and their dishes into the sink....I guess they took the idea from the kibutz :-)
Favorite Dish: The macaroni and cheese were nice
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Rumor Mill: Good Food in the Open Air on Good Weather Days
One of the old storefronts off the main thoroughfare in Friday Harbor has been reconstructed into a restaurant that aims to be a community gathering spot, complete with a reasonably full bar, various cocktails, and good food. They have some performances here and a very small dance floor aims to cater to those that dance to the music so provided.
On days with good weather, they have retained several of the old garage doors that are opened to the outside, providing fresh air and an open interior.
Favorite Dish: What I had was the Eggplant Parmisan for $17.95, but I was somewhat disappointed in the size for the price. Though, food does tend to be expensive in the San Juan Islands. I was a little annoyed that the salad was basically a big pile of lettuce and little else - a good quality salad contains a wide variety of ingredients. I also had a Citrus Mint Lemonade for $3.50, which was good but really didn't have a huge amount of flavor. I would probably try one of the other drinks if I were to eat here again.
Make no mistake: I thought the food was good, but just a bit on the expensive side for what it is. I don't know food prices well enough in Friday Harbor to be a good judge.
The menu states that it is changed fairly regularly due to availability of local ingredients, which may explain part of the price.
- Food and Dining
Golden Triangle: 2012 Best Asian on San Juan Island
Food by nature in the San Juan Islands is more expensive than on the main land, and it can be somewhat of a challenge to find a reasonably priced restaurant. While still somewhat more expensive than I would expect at home, I found the Golden Triangle to be a reasonably priced option and to have some very good food options as well.
The location is close to the core of the downtown area (only about 1 block away), but it is somewhat hidden from the higher traffic streets. It is best found by walking.
There is an assortment of food available here, though the general theme seems to be Thai and Chinese. There are also a few standard American items on the menu for those who may not want an Asian dish.
Prices range in the $14 to $20 range.
Favorite Dish: The Side Walk Noodles with Tofu and Vegetables is a reasonably good option in the $15 range.
The Doctor's Office Café: Open Early, has Time and Season Appropriate Fixing
There is a wide variety of food available from The Doctor's, and so this place is hard to classifly. It claims to be a café, but they also have ice cream and other more substantial food items available, depending on the season.
The most important feature to note is the opening time: 4:30 in the morning. This is due to the 5:50 am departure of the first ferry of the day, and you will certainly find a few Washington State Ferry employees as well as regular commuters, high school students and various others getting their fixings here in the early morning, as well as various passengers (walk-on and from the auto staging area).
To that end, there is both a walk-up window which faces the auto-staging area, as well as a sit-down and eat inside area.
You will find quite a variety of things here, from pre-packaged junk food for the high school students to vegan soups, and of course coffee (I'm not coffee fan, but even I almost bought something for that 5:50am ferry departure). There are some pretty good looking but bad for you cinnamon rolls as well, which I found thoroughly delightful.
Sandwiches and various other items are sold as well, and indeed anything that seems to have a market for the ferry traffic can be found here. Even a small selection of Friday Harbor post cards and greeting cards.
The balcony is in use pretty frequently, and the table at the end is actually part of the little store at the end of the building, but they have a sign out that says feel free to use it so long as you clean up after yourself.
One unfortunate thing is that there isn't any sort of public restroom or even a sink here. When I asked if there might be somewhere to wash my hands I was invited to use the sink behind the counter as they weren't that busy. This probably would not go over too well in any sort of restaurant that is close to the thickets of an urban area but out here on the islands things run a bit different.
Another unique feature of this restaurant is the large community bulletin board near the main entrance, which seems to feature well over a hundred local businesses and professional individuals advertised on various cards on the wall. (see photo 5)
The history of this house is that it was built for the manager of the cannery complex that once dominated the downtown area. It was sold to a developer in 1978. There is a photo on the wall inside showing the building as it appeared around 1905. (see photo 4)
The rooms upstairs are available for rent, and that requires that you call the phone number listed on the sign.
Favorite Dish: In the early morning the fresh baked cinnamon rolls for $3.50 fit the bill nicely, and on a warm day the ice cream (there are only a few select flavors but still it is ice cream) is a very good choice.
- Food and Dining
Friday's Crabhouse: Multiple Level Views of Harbor
Sitting directly across the street and above the entry to the ferry terminal, Friday's Crabhouse is a mostly open air bar that features views of the water from several different levels. There is a somewhat more enclosed area towards the back of the primary level.
The food is a bit on the expensive side, but you are paying for this view.
Also, I found the oyster platter for $11.95 to be extremely good, and cooked so that you could really taste the quality of the oysters.
(This is NOT the Oyster platter, which is nearly twice this price!)
So, the food price is probably no more expensive than average.
Due to the view, however, this is mostly a tourist hangout.
Be sure to check the specials written on the dry erase board!
Unfortunately, the restaurant has a huge number of stairs in order to get into any part of it, so it isn't especially easy to get to for those with any sort of mobility problem. I think there may be a lower level but without as good a view.
Be sure to check to specials list by the entryway.
- Food and Dining
Green House Café and Juice Bar: Food Good Deal but Juice is Expensive
When it comes to locally produced food, Green House is making an effort to do everything it can to locally source its food and drink. The place is extremely new as of my visit on June 20th, 2013 as it had only been open a few weeks and only locals knew of its existence at that point. The signs had been purchased but not installed yet. Only a small paper sign on the front door indicated its presence and its hours of operation.
There are some decent deals here in terms of breakfast items. For example, the "Steel Cut Oatmeal with Fresh Fruit" is pretty good and at $6.50 it is a better deal than most breakfast items found in Friday Harbor. However, the juice bar part of the establishment makes up for this, as the fresh juice mixtures, as wonderful as they are, tend to be in the $9 to $11 range. Understand that these juices are pretty nice concoctions using as much locally available food as possible, but still the price seems pretty high.
- Food and Dining
Rocky Bay Café: Popular Breakfast Spot with Evil Looking Pasteries
I think pretty much everyone that visits Friday Harbor for any length of time eventually comes here. They have a respected breakfast meal list, and serve lunch as well. They also have a number of over the counter items, mostly some very deadly looking pastries.
During the peak season you will find it very crowded in here during the mid-breakfast hours (around 8 to 9 especially). Sometimes there will be a line to get in during the busiest periods.
The huge underwater mural on the wall on the southwest side is a reasonably well known landmark of sorts (it is after all indoors).
For the most part, the selections here are fairly expected breakfast type items in terms of things like omelets, eggs, hash browns, etc. After sales taxes, expect to pay somewhere around $13 for meals here - not including a tip.
Favorite Dish: Unfortunately, what I had isn't something on the regular breakfast menu, but was featured on the specials board out front.
- Food and Dining
Downriggers: Only Place Right on the Water
Burned Down on 18 August 2013: This restaurant, along with a number of other businesses located in the same building, burned down on 18 August 2013. The web site is still active, and there is an effort underway to rebuild a structure here. The future form these businesses will take is unknown at this time. However, in the meantime, Downriggers has opened a food truck called Roadriggers, operating on the former building site.
While no restaurant in Friday Harbor has a really good deal on food, Downridders is one of the more expensive establishments. Friday Harbor has a few places with view of the water, but most of them do it by placing their restaurant high up and across the street from other buildings. Downriggers is the only place that really has a true waterfront view, and is arranged so that a fair number of the tables look out over the water. If you want to watch the boats come and go on the water, this is a very good place - so long as you get here early enough to get a good seat.
Downriggers is also not known as a breakfast establishment, but this year they decided to try serving breakfast on the weekends, and there is a special menu posted by the door for this.
The food is OK, and for breakfast at least it isn't that much more than most places in Friday Harbor (expect to spend about $10 or so for breakfast).
However, the service can be a bit slow. I've been told that during the peak season, the table serving help here are mostly students from other countries that have come here on a short term work and tourist type program. Many of them are used to serving in countries where meals are at least an hour affair. The American concept of being in a hurry to get somewhere after eating isn't something they seem to be exceptionally in tune with. Therefore, be prepared for the service to be slow by normal USA standards, and if possible arrive earlier than you would normally consider doing.
- Food and Dining
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