Where To Eat & Drink On Bainbridge IslandHere are some restaurants and bars that are a lot more exciting than a 25-minute ferry ride.
Seattle is a terrific city to live in. But sometimes you get a little stir-crazy and want to go somewhere different, and Renton isn’t going to cut it unless an afternoon testing mattresses at IKEA is your ideal escape. We have a better idea—hop the ferry to Bainbridge Island. Whether you’re spending your time here wine tasting, boutique shopping, or pretending to admire nature, these are the best spots on the island no matter the situation.
You already know Bruciato. But for the best Italian food on the island, drive 10 minutes north of Winslow to a little neighborhood called Rolling Bay. Via Rosa 11 is where to go to feel taken care of, and by that we mean it’s a comforting place to be fed pasta and pizza by people who pronounce “marinara” with D’s instead of R’s. Order at the counter, and then eat this excellent food inside or outside at a picnic table. While you can mix and match any pasta shape with any sauce, the best combination is fusilli with vodka sauce, and if they have the special burrata pizza with speck, you’ll want that, too.
This Vietnamese spot on Winslow is our (second) favorite place to sneak away for a day-off lunch on Bainbridge Island. While the menu is stacked with great bún, phở, and bánh mì, we would come here solely for their puffy salt and pepper tempura prawns with chili oil-slicked egg noodles, or order of truffled pork wontons and crackly taro-stuffed egg rolls. Enjoy it all in their dining room complete with mellow golden wood and a giant painting of a catfish, or out on their covered patio.
In order to do it all during a day trip to Bainbridge, you’ll need a detailed itinerary and a type-A friend to enforce it. But this poke bar located at a former gas station is where to hand that friend a highball and slow down. With stellar miso black cod, tuna poke in a thick sesame sauce, and Suntory Toki whiskey caramel-topped soft serve, it's all worth going a little rogue on your tight schedule.
There are quite a few boutique bakeshops on the island, but the first one you need to know about is Blackbird. This is where to go for a solid breakfast or snack to go with a latte. Even if the person in front of you sends you into a hot rage by claiming the last two slices of almond butter layer cake, there are many other delicious things to be had here—mainly Helen’s French Roll, which is the minimalist-chic cousin to coffee cake and one of the best pastries in the Puget Sound area. The lemon-glazed blueberry scone is also a non-negotiable.
This spot was formerly known as Nosh, a phenomenal food truck that served British-style pub food. The best thing about Proper Fish, though, is how enormous these entire filets of fried fish are—they’re around a foot long, with a puffy beer-battered crackle better than any state fair could achieve. That, plus tasty minted peas, thick-cut fries, and delicious tartar sauce, and there are plenty of reasons why we’d hop on a huge watercraft to get to these fish and chips.
On busy weekends, you can always count on Bruciato to make Winslow Way smell like perfectly charred pizza crust. This pizzeria is from the same team behind Hitchcock, so you can expect a nicely-designed space that’s conducive to relaxing with Aperol spritzes and eating an abundance of buffalo mozzarella. Try it after an exhausting day of artisanal salt shopping on the main strip.
This small Vietnamese counter spot serves dry-fried chicken wings that are garlicky, buttery, and single-handedly worth the $50 round-trip ferry ticket. But the hits at Green Pot don’t stop there, with beef dumplings in chili sauce and bánh mì loaded with thick, caramelized BBQ pork. Take lunch (wings and all) to enjoy in the grass at the Winslow Green nearby, or save it for the upper deck of the overpriced boat ride back to Seattle.
Jake’s Pickup is a grab-and-go takeout operation hidden behind racks of Doritos and gummy bears at a Chevron station where you’ll find some of the best snacks in Washington state. Everything is made fresh in the back, and if you think that pulled pork and bbq sauce doesn’t belong with egg and cheese on a breakfast sandwich, Jake’s will prove you wrong. Don’t forget some chocolate chip sconuts (a revolutionary scone-donut hybrid) for the road.
Even though the near-constant line out the door is a big time-suck on a hot day, the ice cream at Mora is great. The texture is eerily similar to gelato, and there are a ton of flavors that range from cheesecake brownie to blackberry. Better yet—get both of those scooped into the same cone.
For pastries, iced coffee, and a vibe that channels your inner coastal grandmother, Coquette Bake Shop should be one of your first stops. This brick-covered bakery serves great French treats, sandwiches, and fresh bread—and is the perfect place to pretend you own a farmhouse-style vacation home. Don't leave without the “Zest For Life,“ a bundle of croissant dough strips dusted with orange cardamom sugar that tastes like a french toast pull-apart bun. There’s plenty of indoor seating, but make yourself comfortable outside with a ham and brie baguette to continue the linen-filled Diane Keaton fantasy.
Congratulations—you screwed up and thought the Seattle to Bainbridge ferry schedule was the Bainbridge to Seattle schedule, and the next boat back to the mainland isn’t for another hour. This is a perfect excuse to drink some wine, so walk back up to Winslow and have a flight at Fletcher Bay. The grapes are grown on the island, and there’s something for everyone, from a lime zest-forward Albariño to some strawberry wine that doesn’t taste like Crystal Light. The whole interior looks like a beach summer home, so naturally you might bump into a bachelorette party or three.
If you missed your ferry but aren’t a wine fan, have some beer at Bainbridge Brewing. They serve a few different types of house-made beers as well as guest taps from Seattle places like Urban Family. We like the grapefruit IPA, especially while sitting on a couch and playing board games. If you are, in fact, good at reading boat schedules and just want some beer, this is perfect for that, too.
Right across the street from Via Rosa 11 is a little coffee shop that doubles as a flower garden and serves excellent espresso drinks in any flavor combination you could ever want. Just make sure you drink it on the patio if it’s warm out.
Emmy’s Vedge House is a solid Vietnamese takeout operation. Their menu happens to be vegan and has noodles, rice, and stir fry. Some things are better than others here, but we’re fans of anything with tofu and crispy golden rolls. It’s perfect for when you’re craving something salty but are also feeling salty about the long wait time at Bruciato.
If a spontaneous weekday off brings you to Bainbridge and you want to take a leisurely patio lunch, Restaurant Marche is a good way to go. It’s a classic French spot with good champagne, croque monsieurs, and fries with aioli. Service is on the slower side, but as long as you’re all for soaking in the island air while sipping something sparkling, you’ll have a good time.
Upon entering Rolling Bay Winery, you’ll be greeted by Alphonse, the friendly winemaker who will shake your hand and encourage you to drink wine immediately. He’s our kind of guy. Enjoy the wines here in a lawn chair on their grassy patio before bringing a bottle home. But not before snacking on the free cheeses and meats available inside. The 8-year-old we saw running with flatbread crackers screaming “I can’t stop eating these” is all of us. Avoid the unbearable crowds on Winslow at Eleven Winery and just do a tasting here instead.