By Stacee Sledge
Whatcom Magazine, Summer 2005
views make for memorable meals
serves up an abundance of stunning views — any of which
make a meal more magnificent.
Here are a few eateries
where you can feast amid gorgeous backdrops: A
shimmering sunset dipping languidly into Bellingham
Bay, verdant silhouettes of the San Juan Islands, or
majestic Mount Baker rising in the distance.
The Willows Inn
2579 West Shore Drive,
758-2620 or (888) 294-2620
Fine dining is
delivered directly from the farm at The Willows Inn,
where dedication to organic ingredients — fruit,
vegetables, eggs, pasta and chickens from its adjacent
Nettles Farm — means unsurpassed fresh Northwest fare.
Owned by Riley Starks
and Judy Olsen since March 2001, this Lummi Island inn
has been a traveler’s haven since 1910. Getting there
itself is picturesque, with a 10-minute ferry ride
across Hale Passage from Gooseberry Point.
Upon arrival, you’re
greeted by dramatic water and island views, which can be
enjoyed from the inn’s two dining rooms, deck or patio.
Chef Craig Miller
prepares vibrant ingredients simply, letting them shine.
Summer brings Sunday “Prawns on the Deck,” a celebration
of spot prawns caught on-site and cooked alive. Reef net
fishing for salmon begins in July.
119 North Commercial St.,
Nimbus, one of the
city’s most popular and distinctive dining destinations
since its inception two years ago, looms 14 floors above
Bellingham with spectacular sightlines of downtown, the
San Juans and Mount Baker.
Executive Chef Jim
Kowalski builds sophisticated menus from the area’s
freshest ingredients and shakes things up as seasonal
Past summer dishes have
included seared halibut with lavender-honey butter and
asiago-lemon polenta, summer squash and cheddar
enchiladas with tomatillo lime sauce, and marinated
lobster claw and prawn salad with avocado-mint dressing.
One Bellwether Way
Upscale dining and an
unbeatable view are found at Harborside Bistro in the
Hotel Bellwether, where a large outdoor dining terrace
is enveloped in breathtaking vistas through the breakers
and onto Bellingham Bay.
Best of all, gas heaters keep things comfy if the
evening turns cool.
Delectable dishes range
from coconut lime seafood chowder to osso bucco
Milanaise. Brunch is especially enchanting on a lazy
For a more intimate
experience, reserve Harborside Bistro’s private wine
cellar. This lavish but cozy dining room, lined with
bottles of the restaurant’s varied and sophisticated
wines, features fine European furnishings and crystal.
Afterward you might
head to nearby Zuanich Point Park
for a summer-evening stroll alongside the docked
The Cliff House
331 N. State St.
Perched on a precipice
above Bellingham Bay,
the Cliff House has been a Bellingham institution since
A golden glow fills the
restaurant at sunset, but sitting outside on the wood
deck affords even better views. It’s a justifiably
popular spot in warm months.
The Cliff House is
known for its whiskey crab bisque, a soup scrumptious
enough to warrant a hot meal even on sultry evenings.
But the menu also offers summer-friendly fare, such as
raw oyster shooters, chilled prawns with cocktail sauce,
and a variety of fresh fish entrées. Steak options also
abound; indulge in both, with a combination
7878 Birch Bay Drive,
and Beach Café in Birch Bay
dish up two different dining experiences, both replete
with sensational scenery.
Choose the formal
dining room or its adjoining deck, which faces the Birch
Bay Golf Club and Mount Baker. Or go the relaxed route
on the café’s larger deck, steps away from the beach and
stunning water views.
Owners Eric and
Stephani Smith have built marvelous menus for both
casual and fine dining. Choices run the gamut from basic
burgers and beer to crab and shrimp Louis or steak and
lobster paired with an exquisite bottle of wine.
Whether you fancy
upscale fare or casual eats, Whatcom County restaurants
have the gustatory goods. Pair gorgeous views with top
notch food and you’re rewarded with the total package: a
splendid meal in a setting that merits equal billing.
Stacee Sledge is a
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