Friday Harbor dining: total food and wine indulgence

Friday Harbor Dining: total food and wine indulgence

During our recent San Juan Island getaway, Tom and I based ourselves in the historic town of Friday Harbor: the hub of island’s food and arts scene. It was a decision I’m so glad we made!

Exploring the island’s nooks and crannies by day, we were treated to postcard-perfect ocean vistas, beautifully protected nature parks and historic sights – along with an outdoor art gallery, vineyards and a joint ciderworks-distillery! (Read all about that adventure here)

Back in Friday Harbor, and keen to walk off some of the indulgences of the day, we set out to explore the town’s many cafes, wine bars and restaurants.

Friday Harbor Dining: a total food and wine indulgence. Watch the ferries leave the harbor and enjoy the serenity. LiveRecklessly.com

Friday Harbor dining

Exploring Friday Harbor

Historic Friday Harbor is the largest and most populated town on San Juan Island. In saying that, the downtown area is just one square mile in size and home to only approx. 2,000 people.

But its small size is only half its charm.

As I discovered, this incredibly walkable town is perfect for day visits, weekend getaways or even longer stays. Its quiet streets are lined with coloured weatherboard buildings, brick homes and graced with all the charm of an older era.

Voted as one of America’s Top Ten Art Towns, Friday Harbor is packed with museums & galleries, bookshops and boutiques, as well as a seasonal farmers market. It’s the tourism center of the island, and definitely the dining center too.

Friday Harbor offers fantastic and varied dining options from waterfront dining to small cafes, all with a keen focus on fresh seafood and local produce.

Friday Harbor Dining - LiveRecklessly.com

Friday Harbor dining

Here’s a guide to where I found fantastic coffee, delicious dinners and red, red wine.

Coffee

Those who know me, know that it’s coffee that runs through my veins. One of my favourite things to do when in a new town or city is find the local coffee shops.

In need of an afternoon-pick me up, we stopped in at the very charming Griffin Bay Bookstore. Bookshop in the front, café in the back. It serves up fantastic espresso, which we sipped while working on a jigsaw puzzle (definite bonus points for the puzzle!). The store itself feels like a hidden gem – such a great range from novels to biographies to cookbooks to childrens fiction, with cute reading nooks scattered throughout. I even picked up what is probably my favourite purchase in all my life, a Mr Darcy tote.

Friday Harbor Dining. Find the best coffee in town at Griffin Bay Bookstore - LiveRecklessly.com

San Juan Coffee Roasting Company is located at Cannery Landing – right where the ferry departs, ideal for grabbing a takeaway for the journey home. I picked up some freshly roasted whole coffee beans to take home for my French press.

Other great coffee options in town include The Bean Café and World’s Skinniest Latte Shop.

Friday Harbor Dining: the many cafes that call this town home - LiveRecklessly.com

Friday Harbor Dining

Wine

As the clock struck Wine O’Clock, we stepped into Mike’s Café & Wine Bar – a warm, inviting space perfect for afternoon drinks or a quiet dinner. The wine list is excellent, and includes many that the owner Mike makes himself at his Woodinville based winery.

A red wine producer after my own heart, Mike talked us through his favourites, which we paired with some truffle popcorn. There is a full menu of cheese plates, appetizers and mains for those with hungrier stomachs.

Want more wine time? Drive to San Juan Vineyards for tastings (we did and loved it!) or walk to San Juan Cellars by the ferry landing.

I’m definitely making a beeline for San Juan Island Cheese next time. I didn’t find out about this place until we’d left. Fail.

Friday Harbor Dining: Visit Mike's Cafe & Wine Bar for a fantastic selection of wines and bites - LiveRecklessly.com

Friday Harbor dining

Dinnertime

With taste buds still buzzing from the wine, we made tracks to Cask & Schooner for dinner. A corner gastro-pub with décor reminiscent of an old ship, it’s known for regularly rotated Washington beers on tap and well-crafted cocktails. The menu features pub classics like shepherd’s pie and ploughman’s platters alongside more upscale options including bacon-wrapped dates, chargrilled squid with green papaya and artisan cheese boards. I tucked into sea scallops with gnocchi and I must say this was the stand out meal of my weekend.

Friday Harbor Dining -The Cask & Schooner pub serves up amazing food, from pub classics to fancy twists on modern PNW cuisine - LiveRecklessly.com

 

Friday Harbor Dining -The Cask & Schooner pub serves up amazing food, from pub classics to fancy twists on modern PNW cuisine - LiveRecklessly.comThere is a tonne of dining options in town, but the following come highly recommended:

  • The Bluff, fresh local seafood and produce with panoramic views of the harbor
  • The Place, waterfront pacific northwest cuisine
  • Coho Restaurant, fine dining offering island grown Pacific Cuisine with a Mediterranean flair.

Live Music

As imaginable from a small island town, there are no pumping clubs or speakeasies in Friday Harbor (that I know of).  For post-dinner libations that include a twist of live music, head to local hot spot Rumor Mill. We squeezed in a final drink of the night here, and It was everything you can imagine in a small town like this.  A real local’s haunt with cheap liquor, where no one is afraid to dance. A band was busting blues and rock tunes from Bruce Springsteen to Muddy Waters.

Friday Harbor Dining - Head to Rumor Mill for live music, food and liquor - LiveRecklessly.com

Friday Harbor dining

Brunch

We Sunday brunched at local café Cynthia’s, feasting on baked eggs and avocado boats. Set in a small cottage house, this casual diner serves up more than the standard American breakfast – along with the skillet baked eggs were dutch babies, Swedish pancakes, French toast and tofu scrambles. The pastry counter was too much to ignore, and I left with some house-made apple pastries for the trip home.

Cynthia will also put together gourmet picnic lunches to go for those visiting the local parks or heading out on a boat excursion.

Friday Harbor Dining - brunch at Cynthia's is a great idea - LiveRecklessly.com

While I didn’t get a chance to dine at Blue Water Grill on this visit, many locals recommended it as another great breakfast option. Right by the waterfront, this joint is known for its omelettes, benedicts and other classics such as biscuits and gravy, waffles and huevos rancheros.

For those early risers looking for a quick snack before boarding a morning ferry, Cask and Schooner is your answer – with Stumptown coffee plus a daily selection of pastries and breakfast pies available from the takeout window.

Friday Harbor Dining - LiveRecklessly.com

There is so much to taste and discover when it comes to Friday Harbor dining. I am already planning another San Juan Island foodie weekend. Cheers!

Like this story? Share the pin below!

Friday Harbor dining is a foodie's dream come true. This small town packs a big punch with delicious food, amazing coffee and fantastic local wine. Read more at LiveRecklessly.com

Friday Harbor dining

Friday Harbor Dining

Leave a Reply