Anyone who follows us on our blog or social media knows it’s not new news that we are huge foodies. Every day at some point discussions fall to food and we reminisce of steaming bowls of breakfast noodles in Asia, luxurious butter chicken in India, pizza in Italy and, of course, endless Mexican street tacos.
Luckily, I love to cook and over the years have developed quite an extensive repertoire of recipes. Although this means we eat very well, it also means that when in the United States we don’t often eat out. Okay, I’ll admit that is in part due to the fact that I’m cheap and if I can make a comparable dish myself for a small fraction of the price I’m reluctant to shell out big bucks for it at a restaurant.
However, in this year of COVID, everyone’s world has turned upside down and between a new job, a new city and a new fur baby I’ve been finding I have less time and energy to put into preparing an exotic dinner. In addition, with so many restaurants struggling we are all for contributing some dollars to help the local community.
For those not in the know, Lincoln City is NOT a place that would immediately come to mind when you start drooling over dinner plans. Certainly, there are several eateries that reflect a higher level of cuisine, but the majority of options offer a more casual dining experience. Sadly, a variety of ethnic flavors is not much in evidence.
As opposed to previous restaurant review posts I’m not including a lot of photos. And, in full disclosure, the photos that appear in this post aren’t actually from the restaurants reviewed here. Much of our time here has been during COVID restrictions that restricted inhouse dining and, let’s face it, by the time take-out arrives at your table it just isn’t that pretty…even if it was originally. That doesn’t mean we don’t all need some drool-worthy food photos to get inspired from previous venues near and far, including our own kitchen.
In spite of this, and surprising even to us, we have so-far sampled the fares of 15 different establishments with mixed results. Here is a rundown of the decent, the delicious, and the disasters so you can plan your next trip to the beach.
Without further ado, this is what we’ve discovered about dining out in Lincoln City so far.
Let’s start with the DECENT. Now, by decent I certainly don’t mean bad, and we’ll certainly dine with them in the future.
SNUG HARBOR BAR & GRILL~ 5100 SW Hwy 101, Lincoln City. 97367
Snug Harbor sits directly on Hwy 101 and the exterior belies the cozy, circa 1930’s interior. We were stopping for a bite after our morning beach walk so had Ryder in tow but no worries, they have a doggie-friendly back patio with massive wooden tables and a surprisingly cute garden. It was a wet morning so we sat downstairs in the covered patio but there is also an open-air upper deck. We visited Snug Harbor during a break in restrictions so were allowed to eat-in although they were offering a reduced breakfast menu of the basics; eggs, bacon & toast, French toast, and the like. Overall, it was enjoyable. The service was very friendly, even bringing Ryder a bowl of water. Breakfast was fine, meaning we got what we ordered, it tasted good, and it didn’t break the bank but nothing to get overly excited about. In normal years they offer live music and I suspect a summer evening with a beer on their upper deck sounds delightful.
MO’S LINCOLN CITY~ 860 SW 51st St., Lincoln City. 97367
Mo’s. What to say about Mo’s? With eight beach locations, one in Portland, and even a food cart, Mo’s is a statewide institution. We’ve eaten there dozens of times over many years. They do have a delicious clam chowder I’m told (gotta admit that has never been my thing)and everything I’ve eaten is good. Not great. I’m sure we’ll continue to visit Mo’s Lincoln City. The views of Siletz Bay are gorgeous, the service friendly and the food fine. But if you’re looking for really spectacular seafood you’ll find some better options in the area.
BURGER 101~ 5045 US 101, Lincoln City. 97367
We’ve tried Burger 101 twice now with slightly different results. The first go-round Jim got us take-out for lunch and it was delicious; obviously freshly cooked with good ingredients and perfect fries. The second time around I went to grab lunch to-go and felt as though I walked into an old arcade from my youth with seating inside along with an outside patio. The music was blaring, the graffiti-inspired wall decor was bright, and it was a young, energetic crew hard at work. Sadly, they seemed rushed that day and our fries were burnt and the burger just not quite as tasty. We will absolutely give them another try and hope to get a repeat of our first lunch but for the mixed results they land in my decent category for now.
BEST THAI~ 1437 NW US 101, Lincoln City. 97367
Best Thai was the first Thai we tried here in town. Their Pad Thai was tasty and the Panang Curry had a nice spice although neither was totally authentic. The take-out was speedy and service friendly. The appetizer dish of veggie spring rolls with peanut sauce was also decent. Although nothing blew our socks off but was certainly good enough that we’d order from them again.
GALLUCCI’S ~ 2845 NW Hwy 101, Lincoln City. 97367
A long-time favorite in Lincoln City, Gallucci’s has been THE spot for family gatherings and kid’s birthday parties for years. Their pizza is tasty, if spendy, and we certainly appreciate the delivery. Their broasted chicken is delicious and, when life returns to normal, they offer an extensive salad bar. Always a reliable choice.
DORY COVE~ 2981 SW Hwy 101, Lincoln City. 97367
Another long-standing favorite in town, The Dory Cove moved from its original location to where it currently resides in 2007. After 40 years Dory continues to feed locals and travelers alike with delicious seafood, great clam chowder (so I’m told) and a $4.95 breakfast special. We did pop in when restrictions were loosened for a breakfast with friends. We did not try the special but did thoroughly enjoy eggs benedict, biscuits and gravy, and ham and eggs all washed down with mimosa’s. The staff was great and they get extra points for sharing space with Mr. Bill’s Smoke Shop which offers up amazing smoked meats.
J’s FISH & CHIPS~ 1800 SE Hwy 101, Lincoln City. 97367
We have gotten take away from J’s a couple of times with mixed results. The first lunch offering brought us a crispy fish sandwich, cod fish & chips, and well-cooked fries. Success. When we tried them for dinner we were less impressed with small portions and undercooked fries. Maybe we ordered late in the day and inventory was low? Regardless, we’ll return to J’s. They kept to take away throughout the ups and downs of the recent restrictions and make it easy to order from your car and receive a call back when your order is ready to be picked up at the door.
RUSTY TRUCK BREWING~ 4649 SW Hwy 101, Lincoln City. 97367
Rusty Truck is a somewhat regular haunt for us, possibly because it’s a mere 1/4 mile stroll from the resort! Our first experience was the day we drove up from Coos Bay to get our storage unit settled and actually drive through the park we had just been hired to manage. Aspen was still with us, the day was sunny and pleasant, and the beer & burgers good. Since then we’ve been back alone and with friends and it’s always pleasant. I can heartily recommend the waffle nachos with pulled pork and others have complimented their pizza and burgers. Someday when the universe corrects itself I’m sure we’ll head back to check out their live music.
M&P THAI~ 1725 SW Hwy 101, Lincoln City. 97367
The second time we leaned toward Thai it was a stormy night and M&P Thai was our choice for their delivery option. Their potsticker appetizer was delicious and the flavor of my drunken noodles was nice although the noodles were very undercooked. Jim’s Panang curry came with sticky rice that was literally uncooked in the middle. Would we try them again? We would. The flavors of the curry and noodles hinted at a better possibility than we got with our first go-round.
Now, the DELICIOUS. These restaurants all delivered, many more than once, on flavors, customer service, and quality of food.
MELO’S TAQUERIA~ 1266 SW 50th St., Lincoln City. 97367
It’s no wonder one of my first searches upon arrival was for authentic Mexican food and we found it in this little hole-in-the-wall restaurant. Melo’s makes us smile with the vibrantly colored interior, a wide range of Jarrito’s sodas, and delicious burritos, street tacos, and tamales. It is a frequent lunch stop with burritos big enough for two, $2 street tacos, and some of the best tamales we’ve had. The prices are also some of the lowest in town while the food is elevated by the lovely family that runs it.
MARCI’S BAR & BISTRO~ 1343 NW Hwy 101, Lincoln City. 97367
Marci’s is exactly the type of small business we love to support. They are friendly, helpful, and have a small menu of deliciousness. We plan on giving them more biz to try out their pizzas and wraps but the calzone that was delivered to us was fantastic. In addition, they give back. We were given the option to pay a $5 delivery fee or pay $10 which got us a free cheesy bread AND the full $10 then went to a food charity in town. Win-win.
ENRIQUES AUTHENTIC MEXICAN FOOD~ 1509 NW US 101, Lincoln City. 97367
It was my birthday. What to eat? I wasn’t cooking but Jim was buying so we headed off to find Mexican food because, well, why not?! With no real spot in mind, we pulled into an alternate establishment to find them closed. A quick google search brought us to Enrique’s. Enrique himself is a great guy to chat to about his native region of Oaxaca and he makes a mean burrito to-go. In addition, while we waited, he heard Jim mention my birthday and served us up a couple of complimentary tequila shots. Now that is the way to win us over. But really, the food is great too!
THAI BAY~ 2937 US 101, Lincoln City. 97367
Our third try for Thai in Lincoln City had us drooling. Thai Bay is a tiny little place with an additional patio fronting the highway but it’s the real deal. Jim had their Chicken cashew nut stir fry which arrived in a delicious bath of sweet chili jam. My Pad Thai Lemongrass Chicken was amazing with silky rice noodles, fragrant lemongrass chicken & mixed veggies, and a lovely peanut sauce. All of the best of Thailand in a bowl. I can’t comment much on the service as it was a stormy night and there was a line-up of us picking up food but we’ll absolutely be back for the food.
As I type this we’re waiting for dinner delivery from Calle. This food cart pops up at a couple of different locations around town, offer up spectacular food, easy smiles, and free delivery. Their breakfast burritos become breakfast and lunch, their torta brought me right back to memories of our favorite torta shop in Puerto Vallarta, and their burgers and bacon-wrapped hot dogs are fantastic. Many nights they’re camped outside Black Squid Beer House for the perfect combo of drinks and good food.
Sadly, we have had one total DISASTER in our culinary quest. As you read this keep in mind that we literally will eat almost anything. Although food obsessed, years worth of time spent in various parts of the globe have found us consuming an extremely diverse list of dishes and ingredients. We relish good food and yet are happy to indulge in what is presented to us in most cases. This was not the case here.
AUTOBAHN 101~1512 SW Hwy 101, Lincoln City. 97367
What went wrong? We were SO excited about the idea of finding good German food, one of our favorites, in town. The biker bar appearance didn’t turn us off in the least, long ago learning much of the best food in the world comes out of such spots. The owner is a German native, the reviews were good. We expected deliciousness. What we got was inedible fondue that had broken and separated, and a jager schnitzel with a horribly salty gravy and dumplings that tasted like paste. My schnitzel cordon bleu was okay but my fries soggy. On the plus side, the side salads and pretzel were tasty. In reading others reviews we may have just experienced a VERY off night for the kitchen but I doubt they’ll see our dollars again.
And so this list of a mere 15 options wraps up our first four months of eating here in Lincoln City. For a town of less than 10,000 the 85 or so restaurants in the area is quite impressive and we’re eager to sample more in the months to come. Perhaps in 2021 we’ll even get to admire the interiors of the establishments yet again, a novel thought.
Now, what’s for dinner???