The townies on Whidbey  like to take their squeezes out on dates to Christopher’s (23 NW Front St., 360/678-5480, www.christophersonwhidbey.com , 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m. Mon.–Fri., noon–2:30 p.m. Sat. and 5–9 p.m. daily, $18). They don't come for the view—there isn't one—or trendy decor. The main attraction here is the food. The chef simmers art on the stove, with creations such as raspberry barbecued salmon ($19.50) and bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin with smoked cheddar gratin ($17.95).
Get dependably good pub grub—including fish and chips, Reubens, and mussel chowder—at Toby’s Tavern (8 NW Front St., 360/678-4222, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, $10). The 1884 red building is a bar, so no kids allowed.
The Oystercatcher (901 Grace St., 360/678-0683, www.oystercatcherwhidbey.com , 5–9 p.m. Wed.–Sun., closed Mon.–Tues., entrées $25) is a delightful little out-of-the-way place behind the Coupeville Examiner newspaper office. The limited menu changes frequently but always includes shellfish hors d’oeuvres.
You can also get a mussel appetizer and a drink and enjoy the quiet ambience in the dining room at Captain Whidbey Inn (2072 W. Captain Whidbey Inn Rd., 360/678-4097 or 800/366-4097, www.captainwhidbey.com , 5–9 p.m. daily), which offers unparalleled views of Penn Cove Reservations required; dinner entrées run $18–25.