Bainbridge for Foodies
There’s no doubt that those of us lucky enough to call Bainbridge Island home lead a charmed life in more ways than one. Our community is friendly and rural; we commute via a relaxing and beautiful ferry boat into downtown Seattle; and we enjoy many of the amenities you’d expect from a much larger city. Seattle may have a big, competing foodie reputation, but we have a little secret to share. Some of what are considered “Seattle’s” best foodie finds are actually located on Bainbridge Island. All you need to bring is your appetite; you’re going to need it!
Day 1: Get Charmed in Winslow
We recommend catching a mid-morning ferry from downtown Seattle, landing early enough to explore the historic streets of Winslow. Your lunch destination lies near the end of the town’s main street, Winslow Way, but take your time getting there. There are plenty of interesting and locally owned shops and art galleries worth browsing along the way. Once you’ve worked up a sufficient appetite, make your way to Cafe Nola, where you’ll find a delicious European style cafe with an innovative and eclectic menu. Ask for an outdoor table on a sunny day.
Once you’ve filled up, it’s time to make space for your next meal and enjoy a walk on Bainbridge Island’s Waterfront Trail. From Cafe Nola, the Waterfront Trail’s West Loop is easily accessible. Along the way, you’ll come across the Harbour Public House. Keep this place in mind for after your walk. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a cold pint of beer, a handcrafted cocktail, or glass of wine. If you’re feeling adventurous, try sharing a plate of poutine. From there, the afternoon is yours to explore at your own pace. Kayaks are for rent from Olympic Outdoor Center or Exotic Aquatics, or you can rent bikes at Bike Barn or Classic Cycle. There are also three wine tasting rooms downtown for your enjoyment.
For dinner, there are several options in the Winslow neighborhood, many of which can be found on our custom Eat and Drink Map. Try the tasting menu at Hitchcock Restaurant, where Chef Brendan McGill will wow you with his impeccable knowledge of food pairings, and his use of locally-sourced foods. If you’re in the mood for something simpler, one of Seattle’s most talked about newcomers to the foodie scene is just across the street. Bruciato is loved by locals for its hip and trendy atmosphere. Beyond that, they serve unbeatable cocktails, delicious and locally sourced small plates, and the finest slice of Neapolitan pizza you’ll find outside of Italy. If you’d rather eat something ethnic, Bainbridge Island is also home to an incredible Japanese Restaurant, SuBi. Here, you’ll find upscale sushi, inventive rolls, and other authentic Japanese dishes.
Day Two: Good morning, Bainbridge Island!
If you prefer a quick cup of coffee and a pastry in the morning, you’re in luck. There are plenty of great coffee places on Bainbridge. Starbucks devotees can get their fix, but you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not trying local favorite, Blackbird Bakery. Their coffees and teas are perfectly made, and their pastries and toast are a treat. Blackbird Bakery is a community treasure; a place of genuine comfort and local gathering. It also happens to be a great place to read a book, chat up a friendly local, or enjoy everyone’s favorite pastime, people watching. Pegasus Coffee House near the waterfront also enjoys a dedicated regular crowd in the mornings, and has a beautiful ivy-covered facade that makes for an inviting entrance. Other popular places include Town & Country Market, Storyville Coffee Shop & Roasting Studio, the Marketplace at Pleasant Beach in Lynwood Center, and the Rolling Bay Café, a cozy neighborhood cafe.
If you happen to be here on a Saturday, don’t miss the local Farmers Market. It’s just up the hill behind Blackbird, and offers a tantalizing selection of locally grown goods, handmade treasures, live music, freshly made food, and so much more. Afterwards, it’s time to get out and explore more of the island. Highlights and must-see attractions of the island include Fay Bainbridge Park, Bloedel Reserve, and the Japanese American Exclusion Memorial. We recommend packing a picnic for lunch either loaded with goods from the Farmers Market, Town and Country Market, or Metro Market, which is only open weekdays.
After lunch, sample some of the Island’s other extraordinary tastings. Raise a glass at any one of Bainbridge’s eight artisanal wineries, or visit the local micro-brewery. You should also take the opportunity to sample the World’s Best Vodka, and/or North America’s Best Wheat Whiskey from 2014 at Bainbridge Island Organic Distillers. You’ll definitely want to take a bottle or two home with you, so you can impress with delicious cocktails at your next soirée in the city. They even have an incredible maple syrup from Vermont that has been aged in their whiskey barrels. It’s unbelievably good and worth every penny. When it’s time for dinner, either head back into Winslow, or go to Lynwood Center on the south end of the Island.
Downtown, you can’t go wrong at Restaurant Marché or Cafe Nola. In Lynwood Center, you’ll find delicious Northwest Cuisine at the Manor House. Or, you can opt to enjoy a relaxing evening playing pool or listening to live music at the popular local pizza establishment, Treehouse Café. If you’re in town on a Tuesday, we highly recommend one of the farm-to-table community dinners at Heyday Farm from 5:00 – 8:30. It’s an incredible opportunity to meet locals while you enjoy some of the region’s freshest seasonal dishes, created by Chef Tad Mitsui.
If you’ve managed to achieve the impossible and saved room for dessert, there’s nothing that beats Mora Iced Creamery. Blackberry is their signature flavor, but it’s impossible to go wrong, especially with their seasonal flavors. It’s a rare summer night that Mora doesn’t have a line out the door. Trust us: It’s worth the wait.
Day 3: Beyond Bainbridge
Before you leave Bainbridge Island, breakfast at Streamliner Diner is a must. It’s a Bainbridge classic, but you’ll want to get an early start. It gets busy as the morning progresses. They feature made-to-order food, local coffee, and classic old-diner décor. When you can’t eat any more, head towards the Agate Pass Bridge and the treats that wait beyond on the Kitsap Peninsula.
Your first stop should be Port Gamble. It’s a quaint, historic mill town, situated along the Hood Canal. It’s one of Washington’s oldest towns, and there are plenty of shops to explore and an interesting museum. For lunch, we recommend noshing on something from the Port Gamble General Store and Cafe. It was once named “the best out-of-the-way restaurant” by West Sound Home & Garden Magazine. If you’re still feeling full from breakfast, you can find smaller plates at Butcher & Baker Provisions. Once you’ve fully explored the town, the rest of the Kitsap Peninsula is your oyster. Popular foodie destinations include places like Finn River Cider in Chimacum, Mt. Townsend Creamery in Port Townsend, and Hama Hama Oysters along the Hood Canal.
Come adventurous, and come hungry. Bainbridge Island is waiting!