Food options are not abundant on Vashon, but there are still a few treasures to be found. Swing by Monkey Tree Café (17817 Vashon Highway S.W., 206/463-4635, 8 a.m.–3 p.m. Thurs.–Tues., closed Wed.) during breakfast and lunch for truly scrumptious baked goods and flavorful vegetarian dishes that can please even the most hard-core carnivores. Bring cash and expect a leisurely meal—this casual place does a bustling business and meals are prepared from scratch.
Operating out of a converted old hardware store, the so-named restaurant The Hardware Store (17601 Vashon Hwy S.W., 206/463-9551, www.thsrestaurant.com, 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. and 5–9:30 p.m. Wed.–Mon., closed Tues.) has a little bit for every kind of eater in search of lunch or dinner on Vashon. There are vegetarian dishes, steak, seafood, and soups and salads. The real specialties of the house are the lahvosh "pizzas," made on Armenian cracker bread. The restaurant serves a special breakfast menu 8:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Sunday.
The hippest (and tastiest) dinner joint on this rock is Gusto Girls (17629 Vashon Hwy. SW, 206/463-6626, 5–11 p.m. daily), a culinary hotspot that changes its menu to showcase fresh local ingredients. It does not accept reservations.
If you're craving a taco or you just need to grab something before heading off the island, La Playa (1824 Vashon Hwy., 206/567-0020, 11 a.m.–9 p.m. daily) at the north end of the ferry terminal offers the best Mexican food on the island.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition