Walla Walla is a pretty unassuming little town. Filled with quaint buildings, wine tasting rooms, and views of the Blue Mountains, the buzz of activity is centered around a handful of streets. As more visitors learn of this little jewel in East Washington, the Walla Walla restaurant scene has responded with culinary choices that far exceed expectations for a town this size. Make sure to make a reservation at popular Walla Walla restaurants – even on weekdays.
Maple Counter Cafe for breakfast. As locally sourced as possible and made from scratch, right down to the freshly squeezed juices, Maple Counter Cafe is run by 3rd generation restauranteurs. Decorated with fun kitsch it is kind of like being at your eccentric aunt’s house, if she was also a great cook. Fill your plate with “stylish eggs” like the high tide scramble with wild Pacific smoked salmon. Or try “creative pancakes” like buttermilk and bacon.
Bacon & Eggs for breakfast. At Bacon and Eggs the food is local and so are a lot of the patrons. Expect several egg dishes with a Mexican flare – migas, huevos con chorizo. chilaquiles – alongside standard comfort food breakfasts. There’a a wide selection of decadent things stuffed into brioche french toast.
Walla Walla Bread Company is a good choice for breakfast to go, but we really love their assortment of pizzas for lunch. They are a bread company partnered with a farm so all of their wheat is local for goodness sake. Can you image the pizza crust? Then they go ahead and top those wood fired pizzas with things like tuna, potato, and house ricotta, or bacon, bleu cheese, foraged shrooms, and spinach. And they make pastries. ‘Nuff said?
Whoopemup Hollow Cafe for lunch. I was a little scared when we walked up to Whoopemup and the sign said “Southern Comfort Food.” Was this soul food, a meat and three, someone’s over salted take on homestyle cookin’? They lean towards delta food, not so much Deep South and that was okay. This Southern girl found some of the best gumbo I’ve had and mac and cheese that I would have had seconds on if I weren’t trying to act like I was raised right.
The Worm Ranch for a quick lunch. This little restaurant/convenience store hybrid is one of those “hole in the wall” locations that always has the best food. Authentic Mexican and known for their tacos, go ahead and get a Mexican beer from the cooler and try a taco or three. The people making, serving, and eating the food match the ethnicity – always a good sign you are getting the real deal and not a dumbed down gringo meal.
T Maccarone’s for dressing up for dinner. Italian inspired dishes with plenty of fresh rolled pasta choices. I can’t resist the Black Cod Cioppino – saffron-tomato broth, roasted red pepper, fennel, prawns, mussels, and manila clams. I just need about a loaf of bread to sop up the broth. Well planned and affordable wine list with lots of local choices.
Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen for upscale dinner. Make sure you get a reservation. Saffron may charge $25 for reservations cancelled within 24 hours. Frankly, I find this a bit of a deterrent but I do dig their super fancy flatbreads. Who wouldn’t want spiced lamb, local greens, za’atar & smoked yoghurt on a flatbread?
Public House 124 At the end of the day everyone seems to end up here. Go often enough and you will eventually meet everyone in town. Cocktails on and off the menu plus good beer give a welcome break from wine tasting. Everything pairs with their addictive truffle fries.