Tamed, just enough to be welcoming, San Juan Island is rugged and rural in all the best ways. Thanks to its remote location, chefs aren’t just inclined to source locally, they need to. As a result, San Juan Island is one of the best foodie destinations in the Pacific Northwest.
Want to maximize your time noshing? Catch a quick and easy flight from Seattle to Friday Harbor Airport, where you can start exploring immediately.
12 Best Restaurants on San Juan Island
Uniquely capable of shaping an adventure and defining a memory, where to eat is a common theme when planning a trip. And San Juan Island isn’t short on destination-worthy restaurants. The following (listed in no particular order) is a sampling of our favorite places to eat on San Juan Island. The settings range from outdoor patios and seaside views to historic homes. Cuisines are heavily infused with Pacific Northwest ingredients. And, the service here is filled with island charm.
1. Duck Soup
An iconic countryside restaurant, Duck Soup has been an island institution for more than 40 years. Housed in a converted woodshop, the menu is both refined and approachable. Ingredients are primarily sourced locally, from producers like Westcott Bay Oyster Company and Mama Bird Farm. While the entire menu is drool-worthy (including their selection of craft cocktails), be sure not to overlook their freshly baked sourdough. The starter is complex, thanks to its impressive lifespan. (It’s been passed from chef to chef over several years.)
2. San Juan Brewing Company
San Juan Island Brewing is more than a watering hole for fabulous brews. They offer a full menu of pub-style fare, including fire-roasted pizzas, pub-style pretzels, and chicken wings. While this isn’t the kind of joint where you’re going to get an elaborate farm-to-table dinner, it’s the perfect solution for noshing during a tasting flight.
3. Westcott Bay Shellfish Company
No list of San Juan Island restaurants would be complete without a mention of Westcott Bay Shellfish. Renowned for its bright and briny oysters, Westcott Bay Shellfish Company invites visitors to sample the freshest of the fresh at its Tide Tables restaurant. The seasonal restaurant is nestled right beside the water and features grill-your-own oyster stations. Don’t know how to shuck an oyster? The friendly staff will teach you! Visiting San Juan Island out of season? The Farm Store sells oysters and mussels to go, so you can take your harvest with you!
It doesn’t get more ‘dinner on the water’ than Downriggers. This modern-chic restaurant is tucked just beside the Friday Harbor Marina and offers sweeping views of the ferry terminal and seaplane docks. The menu relies heavily on locally sourced ingredients. You’ll find classic comfort food infused with seafood, like the Dungeness crab tots and a salmon Reuben. Also delightful is their playful selection of cocktails, including an Apricot Bourbon Sour and a gin-forward Salish Spritzer.
5. Vinny’s Ristorante
Casual elegance is the name of the game at Vinny’s Ristorante in downtown Friday Harbor. The fresh, Italian fare is rooted in Pacific Northwest ingredients, especially the hearty seafood pasta. Loaded with prawns and cod, it features Vinny’s signature fresh linguine pasta.
6. Oystertale (Picnik San Juan)
Good Golly, Miss Molly. Oystertale is a mecca for all things aphrodisiac. Oysters. Champagne. Waterfront views. Chocolate pot de crème. We’re salivating just thinking about it. Originally named Picnik San Juan, their menu is available at their outdoor community tables and bar, as well as to-go. Beyond oysters, which are an obvious winner, the Dungeness Crab waffle and the Smoked Salmon Cakes don’t disappoint.
7. The Restaurant at Friday Harbor House
View. Ambiance. A classy place to call home for the night. Friday Harbor House offers it all — including a luscious dinner experience. The Restaurant at Friday Harbor House has a seasonal menu that has previously included locally-sourced delights such as crab and halibut cakes, wild mushroom risotto and an island lamb burger made with Stillwater Ranch lamb. On a nice night, ask to be seated on the patio where the outdoor firepits offer warmth and the overhead bistro lights twinkle.
8. McMillin’s Dining Room
When it comes to fine dining on San Juan Islands, there’s no better place than McMillin’s at Roche Harbor Resort. The elegant dining room and impeccable service offer a leisurely meal just steps from the Roche Harbor Marina. The menu here ranges from a pappardelle loaded with scallops, prawns, and salmon to a farmstead cheese hash packed with tenderloin. But the star of the show here is the 10-hour roasted prime rib served with the restaurant’s signature savory horseradish whipped cream sauce.
9. The Market Chef Deli
A bit like Grandma’s kitchen, The Market Chef Deli operates like a community hub with cafeteria-style tables and a hearty line-up of sandwiches, pre-made salads, and freshly made cookies. The catch? They’re not open on the weekends.
10. Coho Restaurant
Another island-staple, Coho Restaurant in Friday Harbor focuses on farm-to-table cuisine. Housed in a historic Craftsman House (just blocks from the seaplane terminal at the Friday Harbor Marina), this quaint dinner destination makes for an intimate date night experience. House made pastas are always a star here, as is the halibut. What about the salmon, you ask? You won’t find it on the menu. They stopped serving it in an effort to protect the Southern Resident orca whales who depend on the king of fish for their survival.
11. Cynthia’s Bistro
Known for making ‘good food,’ Cynthia Burke’s bistro won’t be pigeonholed into any one cuisine. Her dinner menu ranges from a fresh ahi tuna to succulent beef bourguignon. Looking to be a bit creative with your meal? Check out her Create Your Own Burger and Bowl choices. Here, choose your own adventure meets flavor-forward cuisine.
12. Bakery San Juan
Last, but certainly not least, is the pizza at Bakery San Juan. There’s no dining room here or table service. But what the island bakery lacks in convenience, it more than makes up for in flavor and texture. The New York-style thin crust comes topped with any number of delightful combinations, ranging from classics like pepperoni to inventive twists like roasted potatoes with jalapenos, gorgonzola, arugula, and sage. This is another tricky one though, because the bakery is only open Monday through Friday.