From craft wine, beer, spirits and coffee to freshly caught seafood and just-picked fruit off the vine or tree, Washington has a bounty of food and drinks that showcase the flavors of the state.
With over 200 cruise ship departures offering a variety of Seattle to Alaska itineraries, you’ll be enjoying your ship’s delicious culinary fare, but don’t stop there, add a few days before or after your cruise to sample the talent and flair of local chefs serving up Washington’s mouthwatering dishes perfectly paired with delicious artisan beverages.
Award-winning chefs and tastemakers
With the surrounding waters of the Pacific Ocean, rivers, lakes, and bays, Washington menus brim with fresh oysters, Dungeness crab, salmon, halibut, mussels and—yes—geoduck, a saltwater clam native to the Pacific Northwest. Pair this freshness of seafood with the farm-to-fork movement and you’ll find restaurants and chefs who pride themselves on sourcing local ingredients. It’s not too difficult when you consider Washington’s crops include acres of apples, pears, cherries, berries, rhubarb and lentils.
Local chefs not only have the best ingredients to work with, but a certain freedom to push their culinary boundaries. In 2018, 20 Washington restaurants were semi-finalists for the prestigious James Beard Foundation awards. Many of them are from Seattle, where competition for good taste and artistic flair is fierce, making for a foodie’s dream to come true. But as you venture out across the state, you’ll discover gifted, talented chefs who aren’t in the limelight, yet serve up meals to satisfy and delight the most discerning palates.
Must-try eateries to check off your bucket list
We combed through list after list of the best finds for delicious eateries and here are a dozen farm-to-fork favorites from across the state:
Alder Wood Bistro (www.alderwoodbistro.com) located in Sequim, offers a changing menu of local, wood-fired New American fare while supporting local producers who practice sustainable and organic methods.
Arrowleaf Bistro (www.arrowleafbistro.com) is nestled inside a converted, charming house in Winthrop, specializing in modern American cuisine. Everything is scratch-made to reflect the seasons with house-made pastas and sourcing local meats such at Methow Valley lamb and farm eggs.
The Black Cypress (www.theblackcypress.com) in Pullman, near the Idaho border, serves up delicious food with Greek and Italian influences at a stylish, eclectic venue with a touch of industrial-chic. They offer the best ingredients from local sources with a ‘deep appreciation for good, honest food, company, and drink.’
The Herbfarm (www.theherbfarm.com) in Woodinville, is multi-award-winning including the prestigious AAA Five Diamond Award. Their focus is to highlight the astonishing bounty from nearby, including their own gardens and farm. A thematic nine-course prix fixedinner paired with Pacific Northwest wines and a single seating each night celebrates the best of the Pacific Northwest’s food and wine. Reservations are required.
JuneBaby (www.junebabyseattle.com) located in Seattle, was recently named a 2018 James Beard Award Winner for Best New Restaurant in the US and Chef Edouardo Jordan was also crowned 2018 James Beard Best Chef: NW. He focuses on foods from the American South merging influences from West Africa, Western Europe and North America made with heirloom ingredients—food with roots.
Los Hernandez Tamales, in Union Gap, was a 2018 James Beard America’s Classic Award Winner, honoring food with timeless appeal and reflecting the region’s character. Serving tamales since 1990, Felipe Hernandez and his family serve seasonally and locally influenced food with their signature dish being fresh, made-from-scratch tamales.
May Kitchen + Bar (www.maykitchen.com) on Vashon Island, recently named one of the Top 100 Restaurants in America by Open Table Diners, features fresh, aromatic Thai cuisine. Chef May Chaleoy is known for her talent in developing depth and complexity in all her dishes. Enjoy the tranquil, lovely interior with 150-year-old carved and teak mahogany panels in their dining room.
Mossback (www.mossbackcafe.com) is tucked into a cliffside neighborhood a half-dozen blocks from the ferry in Kingston in a romantic, 100-year-old house. Seasonal dishes showcase herbs and edible flowers grown in their garden as well as homemade pasta, bread and ice cream.
The Oyster Bar (www.theoysterbar.com), located on Chuckanut Drive en route to Bellingham, is a fine-dining eatery housed in an elegant lodge with stunning water and island views. The seasonally-inspired menu boasts a variety of fresh seafood, steak and vegetarian dishes with locally-sourced produce and an award-winning wine list for pairing.
Tweets (www.tweetscafe.com),in the tiny town of Bow, is located in the heart of the Skagit Valley’s farm-focused food scene. Tweets offers everything from coffee to frequently changing stratas, tortas and pastries, giving visitors a true slice of Americana.
Wild Sage Bistro (www.wildsagebistro.com), located in Spokane, is a multi-award-winning eatery offering dishes inspired by the seasonal bounty of the area in a relaxed, intimate atmosphere.
The Willows Inn on Lummi Island (www.willows-inn.com/dining/) where Chef Blaine Wetzel has earned two James Beard awards (Rising Star and Best Chef: Northwest) and has described his approach to food as a “story about the land.” The restaurant prides itself on a prix fixemenu that is both seasonal and local—fished, foraged and farmed daily. Reservations required.
Washington is the second-largest producer of premium wine in America, with sips that rival France from some of the most creative minds and talented winemakers in recent decades. Find refreshing Rieslings, earthy merlots, and everything in between at more than 950 wineries. We invite you to raise a glass to the maker as you explore and taste from wineries large and small across the state and discover a one-of-a-kind experience.
Washington Wine Country (www.winecountrywashington.com), in eastern Washington, celebrates the state’s vineyard region in the Yakima Valley, Tri-Cities and Walla Walla Valley. Here you’ll experience award-winning wines straight from the source and frequently poured by the winemaker who will give you insights about the varietals you’re tasting. This region contains the first American Viticultural Area (AVA), Yakima Valley AVA, which began in 1983. Today, over 240 wineries in Washington Wine Country include grapes from the region’s AVAs.
Thirty minutes from downtown Seattle, discover the picturesque Sammamish River Valley, also known as Woodinville Wine Country (www.woodinvillewinecountry.com), a unique haven where nearly 120 wineries and tasting rooms represent every appellation in Washington. This is where the fruit of eastern Washington meets the vintners. It’s a delicious crossroads of winemaking, microbrewing, fine dining and the people who pour their heart and soul into them.
Brewers and Distillers
More than 400 craft breweries and some 100 artisan distilleries embrace Washington’s “drink local” ethos. Flavour preferences tend toward hoppy India pale ales, but master brewers and distillers offer up endless creativity when it comes to your next sip.
The craft beer industry in Washington is growing at an astonishing rate. Brewers pride themselves on crafting unique brews using imaginative ingredients while sourcing local is a priority. Many breweries are small and family-owned, often an integral part of their communities, hosting beer-themed festivals to celebrate the craft. Discover award-winning ales, creatively infused brews, seasonal flavor and hoppy selections at www.washingtonbeer.com.
Local distilling is an art form. Taste uniquely infused liqueurs and spirits that have been creatively distilled with flavor. ‘From someone making bottles of absinthe a handful at a time to distillers tracking production in barrels per day, Washington state has it all. While the scope and volume of distilleries may vary, one metric does not: passion.’ —Washington Distillers Guild (www.washingtondistillersguild.com)
Washington is one of the top states in the nation for craft distilling and its unique geography is home to distilleries from rural farms to urban centers. Indulge yourself and take a trip on the Washington Distillery Trail (www.washingtondistillerytrail.com).
In the state that launched Starbucks, it’s no surprise that Washington runs on coffee. Locally loved indie cafes, small-batch coffee roasters, and—yes—a Starbucks on practically every street corner means you can always find your perfect caffeine fix. Boasting a drinks scene to rival most places in the world, Washington is awash with artisan coffee shops almost anywhere you go. But Seattle remains the epicenter of Coffee Culture. It’s home to global megabrands and small roasters alike. So where are the hottest cafes in Seattle? Check out www.seattle.eater.com/maps/best-new-coffee-shop-seattle-cafe.
Whatever culinary adventures you sip, sample and savour, before or after your Alaskan cruise experience, we invite you to indulge in Washington’s mouth-watering plates to pours and look forward to welcoming you to our handcrafted, artisanal way of life.
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