Five miles south of Bandon, on the east side of U.S. 101, hit the brakes at Misty Meadows Jams roadside stand (48053 U.S. 101 S., 541/347-2575, 8 a.m.–6 p.m.) for first-rate jams and jellies, including a variety of products incorporating Bandon cranberries. This family-owned and operated business has been making delicious concoctions from Oregon-grown fruits since 1970. In addition to preserves, the shop sells olives and fruit-based barbecue sauce, syrup, honey, and salsa.
If you’re after a full breakfast, head to the Minute Café (145 2nd St., 541/347-2707, 5:30 a.m.–8 p.m. daily, $8–14), where locals and tourists settle in with the morning paper, omelets, and pancakes. Later in the day, the menu features burgers, sandwiches, and chowder.
For coffee, granola, and excellent pastries, head across the street to the Bandon Baking Co. and Deli (160 2nd St., 541/347-9440).
In Old Town, reserve a table at the refined Wild Rose Bistro (130 Chicago Ave., 541/347-4428, 5–9 p.m. daily summer, 5–9 p.m. Thurs.–Sun. winter, $18–38), a small and intimate dining room with a big reputation—it’s probably the best choice in town for a romantic dinner. Abundant use is made of local produce and seafood, although there are also excellent choices for carnivores and vegetarians. Expect very refined cuisine—fresh crab ravioli comes with watercress pesto, and wild sea scallops are served with celeriac puree and kumquat vinaigrette.
If you don’t want to leave the Beach Loop for dinner, Lord Bennett’s (1695 Beach Loop Dr., 541/347-3663, 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. and 5–9 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.–2:30 p.m. and 5–9 p.m. Sat.–Sun. $16–24) looks out over the breakers toward Bandon’s most dramatic restaurant view. Lunch and dinner do justice to these surroundings with elegantly rendered pasta, steak, chicken, and seafood dishes. Recommended are the wild shrimp grilled on rosemary skewers and served with mint pesto. Jazz on selected evenings in the lounge is another nice touch.
The Bandon Dunes Golf Resort (57744 Round Lake Dr., 888/345-6008 or 541/347-4380, www.bandondunesgolf.com) offers a number of dining options. In the main lodge is the Gallery (6 a.m.–9:30 p.m. daily, $20–38), a good place to eat an excellent steak, and the many seasonal fish and seafood preparations are always noteworthy. If you’re not staying at the resort, lunch is an interesting time to get a feel for the place and to enjoy the views out onto the Bandon Dunes course. If you’re looking for a less formal atmosphere, check out the adjacent Tufted Puffin Lounge or the Bunker Bar downstairs, which has a gentlemen’s-club vibe; both serve snacks and light meals. Lunch (mostly soups, salads, and sandwiches) is also served at the Trails End Clubhouse (11 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, $6–12), in the Bandon Trails Clubhouse.
In the evening, a good spot for an informal meal is McKees Pub (4–10 p.m., $9–37) with a Scottish country pub atmosphere, plus a wide-ranging menu that includes individual pizzas, burgers, steaks, and hearty favorites like meatloaf and fish-and-chips. In addition to a good selection of regional microbrews, in good weather McKee’s also offers a marvelous outdoor patio fronting onto the course.
In the new Pacific Dunes Clubhouse is the Pacific Grill (8 a.m.–9:30 p.m. daily, $9–39) for a dining-in-the-round experience with views of three courses. The menu ranges from burgers and sandwiches for lunch to Pacific seafood stew and pork tenderloin with roast apples for dinner.
If you’re looking for inexpensive street food, check along First Street near the Old Town Marina, where a number of carts and stands sell fish-and-chips and chowder.
The unpretentious and extremely popular Wheelhouse Seafood Grill (1st St. and Chicago Ave., 541/347-9331, 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, $12–24) uses fresh fish and does its deep-frying with a beer batter that doesn’t mask the taste of the food. A specialty (along with the sirloin steak with prawns) is Cioppino Rick, using diverse shellfish and bottom fish in a marinara base. Meals here come with salad and side dishes, making it a relative bargain. This is a good bet for a family, or for a night when you want satisfying food but you’re not up for a fancy restaurant.
Budget diners and smoked-fish connoisseurs will appreciate the Bandon Fish Market (at the boat basin near the intersection of 1st St. and Chicago Ave., 541/347-4282, 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Sun.). Heartier appetites call for the market’s excellent fish-and-chips (takeout only). A picnic table outside by the harbor is the place to enjoy it all, with a trip across the street to Cranberry Sweets for dessert.
Although it’s called a wine bar, Alloro Wine Bar (375 2nd St., 541/347-1850, www.allorowinebar.com, 3–10 p.m. Tues.–Sun., closed Jan.–Feb., dinner $17–25) is the top choice in town for an Italian dinner. But don’t come looking for spaghetti—the food is way more upscale than that. Instead expect smoked steelhead Alfredo or duck breast served with cranberry cherry salsa and polenta. The food here is excellent, and the pace is relaxed. The pasta is house-made, and most of the produce is local. If you don’t want a full dinner, there’s a small bar where you can taste a flight of wines and nibble on olives or Italian cheeses.
Thai Thai (160 Baltimore St., 541/347-8074, 11 a.m.–7:30 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–8:30 p.m. Fri.–Sat., closed Sun. winter, $8–13) serves surprisingly good Thai food, including excellent curries. This is probably the best deal in town for a delicious dinner in a simple, comfortable restaurant.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel