Rhododendron Café (5521 Chuckanut Dr., Bow, 360/766-6667, www.rhodycafe.com, 11:30 a.m.–9 p.m. Wed.–Fri., 9 a.m.–9 p.m. Sat.–Sun., closed Thanksgiving until the last Friday in January), at the Bow-Edison intersection, serves good food and is populated on weekends by bicyclists and weekend-drive aficionados, particularly during the morning hours when brunch is served.
As you drive north from Bow on Chuckanut Drive, you’ll pass several good places to eat. Overlooking Sammish Bay and the San Juans, Chuckanut Manor Restaurant and B&B (302 Chuckanut Dr., 360/766-6191, www.chuckanutmanor.com, 11:30 a.m.–9 p.m. Tues.–Thurs., 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m. Fri.–Sat., 10:30 a.m.–9 p.m. Sun., closed Mon.), at the southernmost end of the drive, specializes in fresh seafood and continental dishes, a Friday night smorgasbord, and a Sunday champagne brunch. The bar has the best and usually quietest seats in the house and serves 26 different single malt scotches. The oyster stew here is to die for.
The oyster-sized Oyster Bar (240 Chuckanut Dr., 360/766-6185, www.theoysterbaronchuckanutdrive.com, 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m. daily) is a cozy and romantic place clinging to the side of the mountain. The entire west-facing wall is windowed, offering superb sunset views of the San Juan Islands. This is arguably one of the best places in the state to sup on fresh oysters on a half shell—the house-made jicama relish served as a side brings these slippery treats to a new level.
If you’d prefer to make up your own seafood smorgasboard, stop by the shoreline digs at Taylor Shellfish Farm (2182 Chuckanut Dr., Bow, 360/766-6002, www.taylorshellfish.com, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. daily Apr.–Sept., 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily Oct.–Mar.) for locally raised fresh oysters, clams, scallops, mussels, and Dungeness crabs (cooked while you wait).
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition