12 Foodie Destinations In the Pacific Northwest That Will Tantalize Your Tastebuds

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Most foodies visiting the Pacific Northwest come expecting the typical ocean-provided bounty of salmon, Dungeness crab, clams, and oysters. But the dining scene throughout this vibrant region expands far beyond these already delicious options.

From farm-to-table restaurants in the fertile Willamette Valley to thriving international culinary delights, there is so much to explore at the dining table throughout the Pacific Northwest.

So lets hop in the car or on the ferry to explore some of the Pacific Northwest’s best food cities to indulge your tastebuds to go along with the most beautiful scenery in the world.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Views of Vancouver's landmark attraction - Granville Island Public Market, restaurants, and shops.
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Vancouver, British Columbia is a melting pot of cultures which has borne some of the most innovative culinary delights in the entire Pacific Northwest. As is the case with many coastal Pacific Northwest cities, Vancouver restaurants have access to fresh grown produce from the nearby Fraser Valley and seafood pulled from the waters that surround the city. With incredible ingredients like these it is hard to produce a bad dish!

The region is also home to a large Asian population which has elevated traditional Chinese dim sum in Chinatown to sushi in Richmond’s “Golden Village” to Korean BBQ in the West End.

Where to Eat: Sample the goods at Granville Island Public Market for a taste of the city.

Juneau, Alaska

Stores and other commercial office buildings on the coast of downtown Juneau on a rainy day. Tourists and local people in walking in raincoats in the city/town.
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This water and mountain locked capital city of Alaska is an unassuming place to be a foodie destination. In recent years a wave of new eateries have opened up that put a twist on the typical offerings of salmon and crab legs that have been fed to cruise ship tourists for years.

Downtown restaurant In Bocca al Lupo was recently named one of the 50 best restaurants in the country by the New York Times. This unassuming wood fire pizza and Italian restaurant features uniquely Alaskan dishes that feature salmon and other local delicacies in new and exciting ways.

Where to Eat: Keep an eye on the Instagram account for In Bocca al Lupo to see what the chef Beau Schooler is cooking up.

Seattle, Washington

Seattle, WA
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The Emerald City offers up the best quintessential Pacific Northwest food in the region with its multitude of restaurants offering up fresh fish, oysters, and almost anything else that comes from the ocean. The city is also full of hidden gems that you would expect to find in this quirky corner of the nation.

Take a walk through Capitol Hill or around Pike Place Market to find hidden-in-the-wall shops serving outstanding dishes.

Where to Eat: Stop by The Walrus and the Carpenter for one of the best oyster selections in town.

Portland, Oregon

This is a view of the food trucks located at SW 5th Ave in downtown Portland, Oregon on a cloudy day.
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While Portland’s neighbor to the north, Seattle, may take the cake in traditional fine dining opportunities, Portland shines with its variety of restaurants run by innovative chefs who are willing to take risks. This scene has been fueled in part by the lower rents demanded in Portland along with the thriving food truck scene that allows for chefs to quickly start up and pivot to new ideas without drowning in the start up costs of a brick and mortar restaurant.

However, this tide is slowly changing as Portland’s Kann Restaurant was recently named the best new restaurant in the nation by the James Beard Foundation. Other critically acclaimed restaurants in the city include Ken’s Artisan Pizza, Le Pigeon, and Langbaan.

Where to Eat: Try to grab a reservation for one of the eight seatings offered each week at Langbaan for their Pacific Northwest-inspired Thai dishes.

Bellingham, Washington

People eat oysters and shellfish outside at Taylor Shellfish, a popular pitstop on Chuckanut Drive.
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This once-sleepy town in the far northwestern corner of Washington has seen huge growth in recent years in both population and outstanding restaurants. This region offers up some of the best seafood around and with oyster farms sitting just offshore you can dine on the freshest oysters you’ll ever taste.

With an emphasis on hyper-local ingredients, you can expect to take in the flavors of the Pacific Northwest at restaurants like Rock & Rye. Try to time dinner around sunset, and you can watch as the light fades over Bellingham Bay.

Where to Eat: Head to Taylor Shellfish, where you can buy oysters by the dozen and eat them right on the beach.

Bend, Oregon

Mirror Pond view in Bend, Oregon along the Deschutes River.
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This high desert location is known for its expansive selection of brewpubs but the culinary scene has started to grow up with restaurants that are quickly gaining regional and even national recognition. After you’ve spent the day out mountain biking, skiing, or paddle boarding the Deschutes River, you can skip the old burger and beer option and instead grab some Dolsot Bibimbap at Yoli or sample your way through seasonally inspired dishes at Bend’s finest dining restaurant, Ariana.

When morning rolls around don’t look past the outstanding bakery options for a town of Bend’s size. Grab an Oregon Roll at Cafe Des Chutes or the ubiquitous Ocean Roll from Sparrow Bakery.

Where to Eat: Head to the super popular international fusion restaurant Spork, where you can grab a bowl of spicy pork noodles and one of the best margaritas in town.

Newport, Oregon

Panorama of Commercial fishing boats at sunset in harbor at Newport Oregon
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If you’re on the Oregon Coast and looking for a meal that incorporates local seafood but is a bit more refined than the dozens of chowder shops that line Highway 101, then head to Newport, Oregon. Here, you can grab an outstanding breakfast at the local cafe La Maison, which features dishes made from local ingredients along with fresh baked bread and pastries.

Once dinner rolls around, head over to one of the best restaurants on the entire Oregon coast, Local Ocean. This restaurant/seafood market puts an upscale twist on traditional seafood dishes, and the views of the harbor create the perfect setting.

Where to Eat: Head to Local Ocean and try the roasted garlic and Dungeness crab soup.

Victoria, British Columbia

Outdoor dining with food from several restaurants on Fisherman's Wharf
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Just across the Strait of Juan de Luca from Port Angeles lies Victoria, BC. A criminally underrated Pacific Northwest city that is just a short ferry ride away aboard the M.V. Coho.

The ferry terminal in Victoria is right downtown, so you can walk right into the center of this foodie hub. Asian fusion cuisine thrives in this coastal town, and there is no shortage of spots to choose from, so take a walk through the city and stop into any one of the number of spots that will catch your eye.

Where to Eat: For country-style French cuisine head to Brasserie L’ecole. Be sure to arrive early as they don’t take reservations and it is a very popular spot.

Eugene, Oregon

Sunset over Eugene, Oregon, viewed from Skinner Butte Lookout.
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Located in the heart of the Willamette Valley, Eugene is a foodie paradise for folks looking for great farm-to-table dining experiences. This fertile valley is home to hundreds of farms producing fresh produce nearly year-round. The summer months are when restaurants truly can strut their stuff as the bounties of Oregon open up with fresh berries like the famous hood strawberries and Oregon’s own marionberries.

Take a walk through the downtown core, where you can sample locally grown produce and grab a meal at one of the many upscale restaurants that line the streets.

Where to Eat: Grab some traditional French fare with a local twist at Rye or hop into Osteria DOP for regional Italian fare.

Walla Walla, Washington

Wine region in Walla Walla, Washington
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Walla Walla is an eastern Washington outpost originally famous for its sweet onions. But today this farming town has turned into a wine lovers destination with over 100 wineries dotting the rolling hills that surround the town.

And if there’s one thing that wine connoisseurs love it’s a good meal and an incredible selection of restaurants have moved into town to fill this niche. From upscale southern cuisine to traditional French fare there are an impressive array of incredible options for a town of this size.

Where to Eat: Grab a plate of smoked oysters to share at Hattaway’s on Alder; you won’t regret it.

Boise, Idaho

Close up of retail, restaurants and bar signs in popular shopping district of downtown city
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Known as the City of Trees, this urban oasis has grown from a sleepy western town to a burgeoning metropolis with a foodie scene that has come along for the ride. For a long time, diners ruled the culinary landscape in Boise, but today, you can find an incredibly diverse mix of restaurants like Ethiopian fare at Kibrom’s Ethiopian & Eritrean Food and Puerto Rican food at Wepa Cafe.

Head downtown on a warm summer evening to take in the excitement of this growing city and try out any number of restaurants with dining areas that spill out on the patios.

Where to Eat: A trip to AMANO will leave you wondering where this style of mexican food has been all your life.

San Juan Islands, Washington

View of a Kenmore Air floatplane painted as an orca on the water in the port of Friday Harbor, San Juan Islands, Washington State, United States.
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The San Juan Islands are a cluster of islands that sit in the far northwestern corner of Washington between Bellingham and Vancouver Island. Each of the main islands in the area has its own unique feel and charm, from bustling tourist destinations to back farming-centric destinations. These differences are reflected in the dining options throughout the islands as well, although one thing is certain: their ocean surroundings influence the dishes anywhere you go.

Where to Eat: Don’t miss a meal at Matia where their menu changes every single day to reflect the whims of the chef and availability of local ingredients

About the author
Derek Carlson
Pacific Northwest native, cross-country skier, hiker, mountain biker, wannabe fly fisherman, writer and owner of Roam the Northwest