“You can’t just eat good food. You’ve got to talk about it too. And you’ve got to talk about it to somebody who understands that kind of food.”Kurt Vonnegut
During a recent trip to San Juan Island, my husband and I had the opportunity to try four, almost five, different restaurants on the island. There are two we enjoyed more than the others, but there is one that came out on top! Not only the drinks, the food and the service, one restaurant in Roche Harbor stood out!
Herb’s Tavern is located in Friday Harbor. We wanted to check this one out because of the fish and chips picture we saw on Google Maps. However my husband had read a review saying that there was only one waitress, who was also the bartender AND the cashier. Sure enough when we arrived, the tables were almost full, there were a few people already waiting and there was only one waitress. We decided to look elsewhere for food.
San Juan Island Brewing Company
The San Juan Island Brewing Company, located in Friday Harbor, had a very pretty building and was ready to serve people outdoors. Another great thing was their online menu, that we viewed with our phones vs printed menus that would need to be cleaned. The site was very organized, and provided a nice mobile experience! The clam chowder was a little disappointing though, as it was liquidy, the potato chunks were pretty large, and though it tasted creamy it wasn’t super flavorful. The salmon salad I ordered and salmon burger my husband ordered, were bland and dry. For those who enjoy wine, beer and burgers, we are sure they’d love this place! We were just hoping for some cocktail drinks and tasty fish.
Friday’s Crabhouse, located in Friday Harbor, was our third favorite restaurant. The top floor bar area had a great view!
The seafood platter was delicious, especially the fried scallops, and the salmon chowder was filling. The drinks were good, just had too many small ice chunks that we had to chew. This restaurant was a little more casual than we were looking for. There were no waiters for the tables. We ordered at the bar and when our food was ready, they didn’t know where we were sitting, so they had to call out “Josh?” “Josh?” Although it could be fun when everyone is tipsy, it was a little too casual for us. The other thought we had at this restaurant was “Why would you put the bar on the top floor? Wouldn’t the tipsy ones fall down the stairs?”
BlueWater Bar & Grill
BlueWater Bar & Grill is also located in Friday Harbor, and was our second favorite restaurant. The fish and chips tasted delicious and my husband loved the taste of the fries. The crab cake I ordered was also very good and even better when I added their hollandaise sauce on top!
We ended up coming back a second time, as we really wanted to try their breakfast menu. We both ordered Eggs Benedict, mine with sausage and his with crab cakes. Both were very satisfying! Their hollandaise sauce was creamy and smooth, and had almost a cheesy flavor to it.
Roche Harbor Resort
Roche Harbor Resort is in Roche Harbor, which is on the Northwest end of the island, and so a little more removed from the hustle and bustle of Friday Harbor. The clam chowder had small cut potatoes and was very flavorful! It was creamy and not too thick, plus super flavorful. The flavor likely enhanced by bacon. Just enough to brighten up the flavor.
We weren’t super hungry when we arrived, so we ended up sharing a meal. We shared fish tacos, which we weren’t sure would fill us, but after a drink and the clam chowder, we were stuffed after only two tacos! The fish pieces were large, the toppings on top and inside were super flavorful and delicious! There was a slight heat from the sauce, which was an avocado and lime sauce, but it went well with all of the flavors. My husband even complimented the chips and salsa that came with the tacos, which tasted very authentic and more homemade than others he’s tried.
We also ordered their cheesecake for dessert! If you like cheesecake at all, you will love this! Creamy and sweet, and the berry compote on top went well with the flavor of the cheesecake. I have tried several versions of cheesecake (I am slightly addicted), and this one tasted amazing. I almost didn’t want to share with my husband!
To drink, I had a pineapple mojito. Mojitos are my current favorite drink – sweet, and yet a bit of zing with the mint and lime. Sweet and sour mixed! My husband got a Long Island Iced Tea, which he loved. They had several mixed drink options and even had a vast wine selection.
The service was excellent! The hostess asked if we’d like to be seated outside or inside, and took us to a table right away with a gorgeous view. It was evening when we visited, so they even had outside gas heaters turned on and ready for us.
Our waitress (who I’ll call Jane, to maintain her privacy) was the best waitress we had all weekend! She gave us just the right amount of time to order, the food came out quickly, and every time we were done with one thing she was there to give us the next. We had just finished the clam chowder and she came out and took our dish. Less than five minutes later our main dish came out. Literally as we were scraping the plate of our main dish, she came out with the cheesecake. I said “Wow, it’s like you knew we were ready!” She asked at that point if I’d like another drink, and because she asked at just the right time, I said “Yes”! We both thought, “This has been our favorite restaurant so far and wow, that waitress was on top of it!” We would return to their restaurant again!
Have you been to San Juan Island? What other restaurants would you recommend?