Yamhill County has some exceptional dining opportunities. From Cajun to Costa Rican to French to Thai, the county covers a wide culinary variety for being a non-metropolitan area. The most glaring deficiency is the lack of an Indian restaurant, which leave us scratching our heads. Also missing are Mongolian, Ethiopian, or any Middle Eastern restaurants (though a Lebanese food cart hangs out at Staples). No, it's not Manhattan, but really, you could stay for a long time and have trouble eating at all the truly quality restaurants nearby. Here are some of our favorites.
The Blue Goat A delightful and delicious little restaurant in downtown Amity. Only two miles away from us and definitely worth your consideration. For now, the Blue Goat is only one restaurant of note in Amity.
Most of the really good restaurants are up and down Third Street, which was voted (through Parade magazine, for what that's worth) America's second favorite Main Street. It has really developed since Scott grew up here in the 1960s. From casual to swanky, it's here, it's fun, and it's delicious. For more info, check www.visitmcminnville.com.
Thai Country 707 NE Third St. We love this place. It remains the best Thai restaurant we have visited outside of Thailand itself. Fast, friendly service and a relaxed atmosphere.
The Thistle 226 NE Evans St. A small restaurant, it only seats 22 patrons. It is pricey, but has some remarkable food. We haven't sampled it much, because it doesn't cater broadly to vegetarians, but we hear it is worth trying.
Pura Vida 313 NE Third St. A Costa Rican delight. Highly regarded and certified as authentic by friends of ours who know these things.
La Rambla Full disclosure: La Rambla is Sherwood's favorite restaurant, not only for the excellent Spanish cuisine, but the atmosphere is relaxed and intimate, hitting just the right balance of classy, fun, delicious.
McMenamins Hotel Oregon 310 NE Third St. Outstanding renovation of an old hotel in downtown McMinnville. They have a rooftop bar and restaurant that has the best views available downtown. The service is sometimes a bit slow, sometimes fine. The food is good, but not mind-blowing.
Golden Valley Brew Pub 925 NE Third St. A perennial favorite. If you like good Angus beef, they raise it themselves on their nearby ranch and it gets top ratings. The atmosphere is casual and family oriented. The servers are delightful and we've never found a loser on the menu. We hear the beer is good, too.
Los Molcajetes 527 NE Third St. Want Mexican? This is the place. Lots of food, fast service, a fun place to hang out, and it really tastes great.
Nick's Italian Cafe 521 NE Third St. McMinnville has maybe five Chinese restaurants (why?) but only two Italian restaurants, and Nick's is the one to go to unless you're just grabbing a bite at Geraldi's. Nick's has gotten awards since way back. This is where Nicholas Cage and the other movie stars go when they drop into Mac (not very often). Upscale, great food, price is surprisingly reasonable.
Bistro Maison 729 NE Third St. True French cuisine, served with the polish and savoir faire that you would expect from a French restaurant. The presentation is elegant, the food delicious, and the environment is quiet and inviting. In the summer, the outdoor patio is a good choice.
Community Plate 315 NE Third St. Good, old fashion American cuisine. Nothing fancy schmancy, but they really do a good job. We are never disappointed eating here. The quiche is particularly well done, but the selections are many and delish.
Wild Wood Cafe 319 NE Baker St. If you weren't eating your breakfast at Bella Collina, this would be the place to go. Lucky for you, they serve lunch! With a 1950s motif, it is very, very relaxed, but very, very enjoyable. And oh, the food. The Wild Wood is packed every morning on any weekend of the year from 8 am to 11. Lunch is easier to find a seat, thank goodness.
The Barberry 645 NE Third One of the newest restaurants on Third Street. A classy, upscale place with food that meets expectations. Upstairs in the same building you'll find the more laid back 1882 Grill, which features outdoor dining on the third floor.
Joel Palmer House There is a restaurant in Dayton? Yes, and baby, it is uptown. Feel free to dress up if you like, because this little spot leans toward the swanky. We hope you like mushrooms, because the chef and owner, Chris Czarnecki, is a mushroom freak. Chris once found a cluster of Chanterelle mushrooms on some property of one of our friends and was nearly apoplectic with excitement. He is top notch. It's worth a visit just to meet him.