Sneaky Oregon Coast Restaurant Reviews: Cannon
Beach's The Bistro
By Andre' Hagestedt, BeachConnection.net editor
|The Bistro's interior, Cannon Beach
(Cannon Beach, Oregon) - Five out of Five Stars. It's hard
to beat this legend on the north Oregon coast for consistency and sheer
pleasure, with a fierce following that is so devoted it's almost like
a cult. Eat at The Bistro once and you’ll be converted too (not
to be confused with the Gower St. Bistro at the other end of town, however).
From the outside, The Bistro appears to be a hole in the wall: the title
"Bistro" furthers that impression. Inside – just like
that Dr. Who character's time-tripping spacecraft – it's a lot bigger
than it looks. Keeping in character, the food here, as well as the drink
mixology, seem to defy the laws of physics.
The bar sits at the very front, in a tiny room that contains
three tables and about six or so places at the bar. Behind that structure,
their booze-craft enters brave new territory with loads of inventive drinks.
All sorts of wild, brilliant colors show up in ingenious martinis, or
you’ll see them putting together some wacky concoction using fire
and sparks – as if some ancient knowledge of wizardry has been passed
down to this generation of bartenders.
Next to the front room, another much larger space opens
up, with high, vaulted ceilings and a feel not unlike some backwoodsy
French eatery in a forest.
|The Bistro's secret spaghetti.
Their meals often start off with a stunning Greek Lemon
soup that is sleek and silky smooth. The orzo rice are tender and delicate,
but there’s a bit of tang to this glorious creation. It is warming
but light, a perfect segue into the heartier territory to come.
Their breads are magnificent, reminding me again of something
you’d find in an old country inn in rural France. They are rustic
and woodsy: a bit of white, sourdough heaven.
The Bistro’s famously imaginative menu includes a
bundle of interesting entrees and flavors, with influences from all over
Europe and the Mediterranean. There are pansotti (swiss chard and cheese-filled
triangles with walnut pesto and marinara sauce), sautéed oysters
served in a lemon sauce, broiled chicken with a Thai slant, a famous seafood
stew with fish changing regularly, and a broiled lamb with an eggplant
relish I heard someone cooing about all night at a friend’s nearby
hotel. Items range from $15 to $25.
|Fab-tastic drink mixology at The Bistro.
There is a monstrously delicious spaghetti and meatballs
that is offered, but not usually on the menu. It’s like a secret
you have to know about: apparently reward for being part of this cult
of fans. Occasionally, no actual spaghetti noodles were on hand, but instead
linguini, which are just as fine and just as outstanding. It’s among
the least expensive items, but for me, a rabid devotee to devouring pasta,
it’s an addiction.
One deliriously beautiful summer night, as I exited the
place, a woman walking in asked me how it was. I half-kiddingly told her
I drove over from Portland that night specifically to eat here. She screamed
“shut up!” in sheer surprise, and I assured her it was true.
It actually was about half the reason I’d come to
the coast that night, and I almost did drive right back to Portland after
dinner. It’s good enough that it’s not unimaginable to do
|A fiery sunset may be had nearby after dinner, by simply walking
But I seriously digress.
The sauce is this thick, bold and flavorful thing, yet still delicate.
Big, fat mushrooms add an earthy touch, while green peppers bring an occasional
zing. The whole thing is rich and hearty and feels like a garden is unfolding
over my palate.
The meatballs are gargantuan: a bold blend of spices and
almost tangy. I’m a sucker for great meatballs and relish every
One night, I realize the only thing this is missing is
more sauce. For some reason, my dish was a bit low. Just as I was thinking
this, the wise and observant waitress asked me if I’d like some
more sauce. Just in time.
The Bistro is sadly keeping limited winter hours
at the moment, apparently only open weekends. Spring and summer it ends
up open most weeknights. 263 N. Hemlock. Cannon Beach, Oregon. 503-436-2661.
Rockaway Beach. All rooms are immaculate and have TV’s, VCR’s
and in-room phones w/ data ports. Oceanfronts have queen bed, a
double hide-a-bed, kitchen, cozy firelog fireplace and private deck.
Both types sleep up to four people. Others are appointed for a two-person
romantic getaway, yet still perfect for those on a budget. Elaborate
oceanfront Jacuzzi suite has two bedrooms, kitchen, double hide-a-bed,
fireplace and private deck, sleeping as many as six. For family
reunions or large gatherings such as weddings, some rooms can connect
to create two-room and three-room suites. Some rooms pet friendly.
523 N. Pacific St., Rockaway Beach. (503) 355-2112 - 1-800-824-0938.
at Cannon Beach. Beautifully wooded natural setting at quiet south
end of Cannon Beach. Great during winter storms with a new book by
the fireplace – or when the sun is out for family fun and beach
strolling. Handsome beach cottage-style architecture. Lush flowering
gardens and naturalized courtyard pond. Warm, inviting guest rooms.
Continental buffet breakfast. Warm Cookies. Family and Pet Friendly.
Welcome gifts. Smoke-free. Complimentary Wireless Connectivity. Wine
and book signing events. 800-321-6304 or 503-436-9085. Hemlock At
Surfcrest, Cannon Beach, Oregon. www.atcannonbeach.com.
Ocean Lodge. There will not be another property built
like this in Cannon Beach in our lifetimes. Rare, premiere ocean
front location; handsome, dramatic architecture and tasteful, fun
(nostalgic) beach interiors. Overlooks Haystack Rock. 100 percent
smoke free. Imaginative special occasion packages. Massive wood
burning lobby fireplace. Library w/ fireplace, stocked with impressive
book collection. Pet and family friendly. Lavish continental buffet
breakfast. In-room fireplaces, mini-kitchens. Jacuzzi tubs in select
rooms. DVD players, complimentary movies. Morning paper. Warm cookies.
888-777-4047. 503-436-2241. 2864 Pacific Street. Cannon Beach, Oregon.
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