Fellas, you might want to tune in. In fact, now would be good. Cuz this one’s for you.
In case you forgot, there’s a special day coming up on Sunday. I’m savin’ you some serious Domestic Dog House time here with the five best special occasion restaurants in Grays Harbor-ish. If you’re looking to take that special someonette out to a nice place this Valentine’s weekend so’s you don’t wind up looking like a shmuck, listen up. Here are my totally unscientific, purely subjective top five. Plus a Grand Champion. You can thank me later.
- The Salmon House – Quinault
Perched on the south shore of Lake Quinault, The Salmon House wins best local restaurant honors, hands down. Whether it’s fresh salmon, a sizzling New York steak, to-die-for views of the lake or friendly, efficient service, the Salmon House has been hitting that target since the 1960s.
The restaurant is part of the Rain Forest Resort Village. Its parking lot is small, so arrive early. Ask for a table in the back near the fireplace. Tip: Dilled salmon.
517 South Shore Road, Quinault.
Open nightly from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Find out more here. By Yours Truly.
- Amore – Aberdeen
If you like authentic Italian cuisine – and who doesn’t? – this is the place. Quaint, with a Mediterranean ambience, this “hole-in-the-wall” in downtown Aberdeen is well worth the look-see. Tip: Veal Marsala. Their tiramisu is to-die-for.
116 West Heron Street, Aberdeen
Open at 11:30 a.m. daily.
- Westport Winery – Aberdeen (on the way to Westport)
Opened in 2008, this place is just fun. It has a gift store, nursery, sculptures, golf, and tours. You can even bring Fido, because it includes a dog park. With its blazing fireplace and rustic décor, this restaurant is warm, the site picturesque. Good food at reasonable prices in a unique, relaxing setting. Tip: Benedictine Quiche.
Open daily for lunch from 11am to 4pm. The restaurant is open for dinner on Friday and Saturday from 4pm to 8pm. The bakery is open daily at 11am.
1 S. Arbor Road, Aberdeen
T: (360) 648-2224
Find out more here.
If the Tokeland Hotel looks a little long in the tooth, that’s because it is. In fact, it’s “the oldest resort hotel in Washington.” I must confess that I was still hungry after finishing lunch here awhile back. I’m including the restaurant because it’s historic, overlooks the Willapa Bay and the Pacific Ocean, and evinces a certain rustic charm. But you may want to bring a snack. Tip: Cranberry pot roast.
100 Hotel Road, Tokeland
Wednesday & Thursday 8 am to 2 pm
Friday & Saturday 8 am to 8 pm
Sunday 8 am to 6 pm
- For the cheapskates among us: Al’s Humdinger – Hoquiam.
If you’re in “grab ‘n go,” casual mode, check out Humdinger’s. Nothing fancy. Just good food at reasonable prices. No indoor seating and a postage-stamp sized parking lot. Zip through here on your way to the beach or Quinault.
You can also grab your order and head over to the Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge. If it’s raining, munch lunch or whatever in your car and watch the gray herons and water fowl. If the weather is fine, amble on out to the Sandpiper Trail. Find a bench and enjoy the beach while you eat. Also a nice place to catch a sun set on the water. Tip: Deluxe cheeseburger + large onion rings with extra fry sauce.
104 Lincoln St.
Hoquiam, WA 98550
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., daily
Find out more here. By Yours Truly.
National Park Inn, Longmire.
Yes, it’s a haul. And yes, it’s worth it. Cuz it just doesn’t get any better than dinner for two at the foot of The Most Majestic Mountain in the World.
Where else can you get Bourbon Buffalo Meatloaf, Home-Style Pot Roast, or Cedar Plank Red Trout and take in jaw-dropping views of Mount Rainier at the same time? Get there early enough for a quick visit to Paradise and Jackson Visitor’s Center. Just up the road. ‘Fize you, I’d bring a sweater this time of year. Maybe several. Tip: Blackberry cobbler a la mode.
Note: All vehicles are required to carry chains inside the park at all times during winter season, November 1 – May 1. ATV and 4WD vehicles are not exempt. The Longmire – Paradise Road is the only road in the park that’s open and snow plowed regularly in winter. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Lunch – 11:30 am – 4:30 pm
Dinner – 5 – 7 pm (Sunday through Thursday)
Dinner – 5 – 8 pm (Friday & Saturday)
Operated by Mount Rainier Guest Services: Phone 360.569.2275 or 855.755.2275
One last thing. It’s later. I like Ghiradelli’s. Case you’re wondering.