Restaurant recommendations between Seattle and Portland
January 19, 2011 10:05 PM   Subscribe

Pacific Northwest eaters, I need your help. My sister is in Seattle visiting our dad. I am in Portland. Sis and Dad want to meet up with Mr. Numberwang and me somewhere between for lunch this weekend. Where to go?

I am racking my brains trying to think of where we can meet them. It doesn't have to be exactly equidistant, but neither party wants to (or has the time to) drive all the way to one or the other. Likes: pub food, microbrews, cocktails, locally grown or sourced food, comfort foods, vegetarian options. Ethnic options -- Mexican, Chinese, Japanese a plus. Dislikes: chain diners (e.g. Denny's or Shari's), dive bars.

I don't know much about Washington except parts of Seattle and the I-5 corridor. Which, by the way, is not a requirement -- we are happy to go off the beaten path as long as we can make it back to the beaten path within the day.

Do you have any suggestions for specific eateries? Do you have any suggestions for how to find such places for myself? I did (an admittedly cursory) review of threads here on Ask but didn't see any that quite gave me what I wanted.

Thanks, Metafilter!
posted by That's Numberwang! to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The towns between Seattle and Portland (except Tacoma and Olympia which are much closer to Seattle and Vancouver which is basically Portland) are very small. In my experience, things like locally grown, good vegetarian options, etc. are not easy to find in such places. But maybe someone else will come along and suggest something along those lines.

I like the burgers at Mrs. Beesley's in Toledo, but they're far from vegetarian, and probably not any of the other things on your list either. Centrailia is pretty close to the middle between Portland and Seattle, but is mostly chain restaurants. I've eaten at (and enjoyed) Country Cousin there, but again I don't think it sounds like what you're looking for...
posted by sharding at 10:17 PM on January 19, 2011

Centralia, WA is about halfway and has a McMenamins pub. They're bigger in the Portland area than in Washington but, in case you're not familiar, they're a local (Oregon/Washington) pub (and hotel) chain but they're not really 'chainy' - each place has it's own personality. I've eaten at the Olympic Club, although it's been a couple of years. My recollection is that it was pretty good.
posted by macfly at 10:19 PM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding Centralia.
posted by gingerest at 10:24 PM on January 19, 2011

Oh, believe me, I know from McMenamins. I don't think I realized they were in Centralia along with everywhere else, though. Good to know!
posted by That's Numberwang! at 10:28 PM on January 19, 2011

Willapa Bay, WA. Oysters. Nuff' said.
posted by spacewrench at 10:51 PM on January 19, 2011

Thirding the Olympic Club in Centralia.
posted by Maude_the_destroyer at 10:52 PM on January 19, 2011

Has anyone mentioned that McMenamin's in Centralia yet? 'Cuz I was gonna, is all.
posted by Aquaman at 10:53 PM on January 19, 2011

If you want to head to Olympia, here are some faves:

The Mark- fancy yet rustic locally grown pasta dishes, nice cozy atmosphere. More upscale, we had our rehearsal dinner there.

Sushi House- nuff said. If you like Sushi, you won't be disappointed.

Le Voyeur- hipster paradise with awesome grub and slow service. Everything comes vegetarian or with meat.

Ramblin Jacks- yummy upscale pub food.

Hope that helps, I have more but these are pretty sure bets.
posted by virginia_clemm at 10:55 PM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

I can't believe it, but I came in to mention Country Cousin. I am vegan, actually . . . but my visit there with a friend from Seattle was certainly memorable. Although I think I had a diet Coke for dinner, I did buy some sort of game involving pegs at the gift shop, which made up for it. The decor was interesting in a farm-type way and oddly charming. If vegetarian is not an absolute requirement, I say go for it.

Otherwise, yeah . . . McMenamins is always a good choice.
posted by ainsley at 11:13 PM on January 19, 2011

Seconding everything virginia_clemm recommended in Oly. Fourth Avenue is one of the most delicious streets I've ever explored in my life. Here's a few more good Oly spots.

The Spar - This is our McMenamins. Sounds like you know what to expect from such a place.

Darby's Cafe - Super tasty, loads of vegetarian options, super friendly.

Cascadia Grill - Holy god the lamb burgers.

Fish Tale Pub - Excellent food, bluegrass on Mondays, decent beer.

New Moon - Very cozy little diner, delicious, vegetarian friendly, journals on tables full of hilarious Oly triteness.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:40 AM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

La Tarasca in Chehalis (yelp) for not-fancy but authentic mexican food from the Michoacan region (lovely carnitas and handmade tortillas). I try to stop there every time I drive to Seattle.
posted by Prince_of_Cups at 8:56 AM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

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