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A view of a boat traveling near the picturesque greenery of Orcas Island
Orcas Island in the San Juans
Suzi Pratt

A Guide to Eating Your Way Through the San Juan Islands

It’s not hard to dine well while visiting these beautiful getaways

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Orcas Island in the San Juans
| Suzi Pratt

Washington’s fetching San Juan Island archipelago consists of more than 100 islands and islets nested at the northwest corner of the state. Local sourcing rules the roost here. After all, the islands are smack in the middle of some serious bounty, from fertile island-based farms to the nearby agricultural powerhouse of Skagit Valley to an abundance of seafood like oysters and halibut. And the artistic, crafty culture here extends to the kitchens, where it’s commonplace for as many ingredients as possible to be made onsite.

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Roses Bakery Cafe

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Eastsound’s busy has held down the fort in Orcas Island’s largest town since 1991, while a small retail shop came later, in 1995. Lunch and dinner see homemade bread alongside soups and sandwiches, while larger plates draw on European influences with options like the duck confit and caramelized onion sandwich and artichoke and chevre pizza. Diners in a hurry can grab local goat cheese, wine, deli meat, and pastries to go from the retail shop.

Hogstone's Wood Oven

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Hogstone’s owner and farmer Jay Blackinton makes damn fine wood-fired pizzas, yes, but he also lovingly coerces a farm-sourced medley into dishes so remarkable that they won him James Beard Award nominations. A recent dish: Blackinton-raised pork chops cooked over a wood grill, with green garlic, mint, rhubarb, pickled radishes, and turnips marinated in spruce vinegar. Dining here in warm weather means sitting on the expansive patio and sipping natural wines.

Rosario Resort and Spa

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This gorgeous vacation spot, tucked on a forested peninsula on Orcas Island, offers some serious waterfront views overlooking Cascade Bay. At the resort’s Mansion Restaurant, the menu highlights locally sourced ingredients in dishes like smoked halibut and potato croquettes, and coal-roasted duck with grilled zucchini and ramp pistou.

Doe Bay Cafe

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Guests drive a significant portion of Orcas Island’s forested hills to reach Doe Bay’s cabins and yurts. At the restaurant, perched above the bay, the resort’s own garden and island farmers contribute to hearty food with an organic focus. Vegetable dishes like spring vegetables with herb compound butter live alongside asparagus carbonara, sea scallops, and Alaskan halibut.

Duck Soup

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Serious foraging is a cornerstone of this San Juan Island restaurant, hidden in a forested plot away from busy Friday Harbor. Dishes will likely include the likes of ramps, fiddlehead ferns, sea beans, and whatever else is growing, untamed, outside. Local farms give the menu a boost on meat and produce: raw oysters with rose mignonette, lemon caper fish cakes with basil aioli, and a chermoula-marinated lamb rack with couscous tabouleh.

Friday Harbor House

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Set above the Friday Harbor ferry dock and marina, this restaurant specializes in polished Northwest cuisine, with brunch and dinner available. Outside seating is the way to go here, but dining inside is just as delicious. Chef Jason Aldous, an ardent locavore, serves up an ever-changing menu with seasonal creations like wild mushroom pasta, wine-braised lamb shoulder with spring onions and carrots, and baked-here bread with thyme-allium butter.

Guemes Island General Store

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Guemes Island is largely residential, with a welcoming lack of tourist attractions. The island’s living room, though, is the Guemes Island General Store, near the ferry terminal. A big patio and live music draw evening visitors, and meals are built around local ingredients like Methow Valley grains, Samish Bay cheese, Copper River salmon, Breadfarm buns and rolls from Edison, and gluten-free options from Shambala Bakery in Mount Vernon.

A view of the Guemes Island General Store, a two-story building with a sign out front that says “General Store,” and diners sitting on an outdoor patio
Guemes Island General Store has a convenient spot near the ferry terminal.
Guemes Island General Store [Official]

Bakery San Juan

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A favorite of locals and visitors alike, Bakery San Juan has all the requisite favorites from the oven: pastries, cookies, cakes, and thin-crust pizza, plus bread made with wild yeast for hearty sandwiches. They’re all great to-go options for anyone headed to the ferry. The island pepperoni, with the bakery’s mozzarella and island-made pepperoni, is a must-try, and frozen whole pizzas are available, too.

Haven Kitchen & Bar

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Though Haven’s waterside perch on Lopez Island isn’t open for dine-in service, the kitchen’s wide-ranging influences are still present on the takeout menu. Eclectic options range from fried cauliflower “wings” to halibut fish and chips to a slow-roasted pork shoulder burrito. The wood-fired pizzas here are also excellent, as are the seasonally inspired cocktails.

A top-down image of food at Haven, with a soup on the right, along with several cocktails
Haven Kitchen and Bar is currently open for takeout only.
Haven/Facebook

Ursa Minor

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Ursa Minor’s Nick Coffey — who trained in Seattle under acclaimed chef Matt Dillon — is helping to transform his corner of the San Juans into a legit dining destination. Though indoor dining is still unavailable here, the to-go game is strong, with the likes of a fried chicken sandwich with sauerkraut made onsite, albacore tuna cheeseburger, beet salad, and French fries that are fermented and double-fried.

Roses Bakery Cafe

Eastsound’s busy has held down the fort in Orcas Island’s largest town since 1991, while a small retail shop came later, in 1995. Lunch and dinner see homemade bread alongside soups and sandwiches, while larger plates draw on European influences with options like the duck confit and caramelized onion sandwich and artichoke and chevre pizza. Diners in a hurry can grab local goat cheese, wine, deli meat, and pastries to go from the retail shop.

Hogstone's Wood Oven

Hogstone’s owner and farmer Jay Blackinton makes damn fine wood-fired pizzas, yes, but he also lovingly coerces a farm-sourced medley into dishes so remarkable that they won him James Beard Award nominations. A recent dish: Blackinton-raised pork chops cooked over a wood grill, with green garlic, mint, rhubarb, pickled radishes, and turnips marinated in spruce vinegar. Dining here in warm weather means sitting on the expansive patio and sipping natural wines.

Rosario Resort and Spa

This gorgeous vacation spot, tucked on a forested peninsula on Orcas Island, offers some serious waterfront views overlooking Cascade Bay. At the resort’s Mansion Restaurant, the menu highlights locally sourced ingredients in dishes like smoked halibut and potato croquettes, and coal-roasted duck with grilled zucchini and ramp pistou.

Doe Bay Cafe

Guests drive a significant portion of Orcas Island’s forested hills to reach Doe Bay’s cabins and yurts. At the restaurant, perched above the bay, the resort’s own garden and island farmers contribute to hearty food with an organic focus. Vegetable dishes like spring vegetables with herb compound butter live alongside asparagus carbonara, sea scallops, and Alaskan halibut.

Duck Soup

Serious foraging is a cornerstone of this San Juan Island restaurant, hidden in a forested plot away from busy Friday Harbor. Dishes will likely include the likes of ramps, fiddlehead ferns, sea beans, and whatever else is growing, untamed, outside. Local farms give the menu a boost on meat and produce: raw oysters with rose mignonette, lemon caper fish cakes with basil aioli, and a chermoula-marinated lamb rack with couscous tabouleh.

Friday Harbor House

Set above the Friday Harbor ferry dock and marina, this restaurant specializes in polished Northwest cuisine, with brunch and dinner available. Outside seating is the way to go here, but dining inside is just as delicious. Chef Jason Aldous, an ardent locavore, serves up an ever-changing menu with seasonal creations like wild mushroom pasta, wine-braised lamb shoulder with spring onions and carrots, and baked-here bread with thyme-allium butter.

Guemes Island General Store

A view of the Guemes Island General Store, a two-story building with a sign out front that says “General Store,” and diners sitting on an outdoor patio
Guemes Island General Store has a convenient spot near the ferry terminal.
Guemes Island General Store [Official]

Guemes Island is largely residential, with a welcoming lack of tourist attractions. The island’s living room, though, is the Guemes Island General Store, near the ferry terminal. A big patio and live music draw evening visitors, and meals are built around local ingredients like Methow Valley grains, Samish Bay cheese, Copper River salmon, Breadfarm buns and rolls from Edison, and gluten-free options from Shambala Bakery in Mount Vernon.

A view of the Guemes Island General Store, a two-story building with a sign out front that says “General Store,” and diners sitting on an outdoor patio
Guemes Island General Store has a convenient spot near the ferry terminal.
Guemes Island General Store [Official]

Bakery San Juan

A favorite of locals and visitors alike, Bakery San Juan has all the requisite favorites from the oven: pastries, cookies, cakes, and thin-crust pizza, plus bread made with wild yeast for hearty sandwiches. They’re all great to-go options for anyone headed to the ferry. The island pepperoni, with the bakery’s mozzarella and island-made pepperoni, is a must-try, and frozen whole pizzas are available, too.

Haven Kitchen & Bar

A top-down image of food at Haven, with a soup on the right, along with several cocktails
Haven Kitchen and Bar is currently open for takeout only.
Haven/Facebook

Though Haven’s waterside perch on Lopez Island isn’t open for dine-in service, the kitchen’s wide-ranging influences are still present on the takeout menu. Eclectic options range from fried cauliflower “wings” to halibut fish and chips to a slow-roasted pork shoulder burrito. The wood-fired pizzas here are also excellent, as are the seasonally inspired cocktails.

A top-down image of food at Haven, with a soup on the right, along with several cocktails
Haven Kitchen and Bar is currently open for takeout only.
Haven/Facebook

Ursa Minor

Ursa Minor’s Nick Coffey — who trained in Seattle under acclaimed chef Matt Dillon — is helping to transform his corner of the San Juans into a legit dining destination. Though indoor dining is still unavailable here, the to-go game is strong, with the likes of a fried chicken sandwich with sauerkraut made onsite, albacore tuna cheeseburger, beet salad, and French fries that are fermented and double-fried.

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