Another Willamette Valley Thread - Restaurants

I was informed by the thread police that this did not belong in wine talk…

Looking for some info on WV restaurants - planning for a trip in late September. We will be staying in Newberg. I know there are probably a number of other threads if I search, but I’m looking for the latest and greatest. Restaurants change - old ones change hands and what was good can go bad; plus new things pop up all the time. I’m more interested in staying local - Newberg, Dundee, McMinnville. But if there is something that is an “absolutely can’t miss” in Portland, I’m open to that as well.


I’ll start by throwing out a Dayton Oregon standby:

The Joel Palmer House

Going to Jory for lunch. It was highly recommended. Also Thistle in McMinnville.

Newberg: Painted Lady (high end, prix fixe, very well done), Jory at The Allison (resort spa style food), lots of good Mexican restaurants and carts.

Dundee: Tina’s, Red Hills Provincial Dining (both wine country dining in intimate environs), Red Hill Market (wood fired pizza and sandwiches in a wine country style grocery store)

Dayton: Aforementioned Joel Palmer House (mushroom-o-rama)

McMinnville: Nick’s (old school Oregon wine country Italian), Thistle (locally sourced NW cuisine), The Barberry (new NW meets steakhouse in a nice, casual environment), Valley Commissary (excellent breakfast and lunch spot), La Rambla (tapas), Pura Vida (excellent Latin American food)

I may be missing a place or two but I think that sort of covers the bases of what you are looking for. They likely all have web sites and perhaps people can comment on their experiences at any of these or maybe other places. Oregon wine country is still pretty small so there are not tons of higher end restaurants as everyone has to work within the context of the community. Not to say these places are not very good, just that there are less than people sometimes expect.

Thanks Jim - we’re definitely not in need of “high end” all the time, so don’t think we’ll have any problem finding what we’re looking for.

Jim A. hits all of the high points in the valley. I would add Recipe to his list. I’m not sure if the old Recipe has reopened, but we had a couple of great meals at the Recipe Part Deux in downtown Newberg during our recent visit. Hard to believe they were cooking from a food truck behind the restaurant.

My top 3 for dinner would be Painted Lady, Recipe and Thistle. If you are staying in Newberg than you can switch Thistle with Jory. I would recommend McMinville, so you can visit with Marcus, Todd, Rick at Heater Allen, Eyrie, Westrey, Brittan, Kelly Fox, Elizabeth Chambers, etc. lunch at Valley Commissary and wrap up the day with dinner at Thistle.

We ate at Coquine in Portland during our recent visit and it was fantastic.

Enjoy your trip. It’s hard to go wrong in Oregon Wine Country.

I find the opposite, and always warn travelers of recommendations by locals who grew up in the area who may not know anything else.

I will add the 411 in Mac. No frills and great food.

For fear of appearing negative, I will apologize in advance…

Ryan, are you looking for places to eat or high quality restaurants?

There isn’t exceptional food in your area with the exception of a few places.

Recipe part Deux
Dos Mondus
Red Hills Market
Dundee Bistro is decent
Nicks is decent
La Rambla is decent

If you want fantastic food, unfortunately you have to go into Portland :slight_smile:

To each their own, I can’t imagine 3+ hours round trip to eat in PDX with the exception of Le Pigeon.

Disclaimer: they sell my wine.

I have lived in four countries and my dad grew up in France and Switzerland. Here is a list of restsurants I find charming.

Riddick Wood
La Rambla

Sure there’s more out there, but to play the bumpkin card is pathetic. My wife is CIA Hyde Park and was doing James Beard dinners in the 90’s. I have opinions. White table cloth in wine country is close to an oxymoron. However, if you want tasty food from good folk, look above.

I always forget about 411.

I also will have to try Tina’s again because…I’ve been there a half dozen times and they’ve been inconsistent to say the least. I know they changed hands or so I heard so maybe I need to stop in again. Their pricing for what is was just didn’t add up.

Portland is a 1.5 hour round trip (without traffic). If you head up to Portland before 2, wander around before dinner, have dinner and drive back you won’t hit traffic.

Forgot Ruddick Wood (good lunch spot, never had dinner) and have not been to the temporary version of Recipe. Left out Dundee Bistro as well. Never even heard of 411 which might give you some idea of the stretch of land between not only northern Newberg and Mac but wine country and Portland. I live in Portland and do not mind the 27 mile round trip but for dinner or if I lived down in Mac and wanted to go to Coquine deep on the east side of Portland, wel, that’s a commitment.

Todd, I agree that there is great food in the area, and you’re definitely not the ‘local’ I referred to. There are a lot of people who were born and raised in Yamhill County that have traveled and experienced what the world has to offer, and there are a lot who haven’t. I’ve worked with both.

Also, you and Jim have obviously been here a lot longer than me and have been to the restaurants more frequently than me. Many of the valley’s favorites I’ve been to once, maybe experienced a bad night, and never returned.

I’ve had awesome meals at Recipe Part Deux (never got to go to the original), Pura Vida (maybe the most consistently great food in my experience) and Jory, all competing with meals in food-destination cities.

My point is just that it’s worth sizing up the person making the recommendation.

This ain’t Napa here.

Thanks everyone - I value all (well maybe most) Berserkers’ opinions here. I think that the kind of person that appreciates good wine, probably also has decent taste in food. It’s not like I’m asking a bunch of people who drink bud light and white zinfandel for their restaurant recommendations.

I appreciate well prepared food at any level - cooked properly and seasoned properly with a nice presentation. Over the top for the sake of being high end is just as bad as sloppy, flavorless and boring.

One of my favorite things!

Thistle is fantastic (this from an out-of-town, big city-dwelling, international-traveling food snob).

Fine but what do you rcommend?


See my above post.