Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dining Surprises in Poulsbo, Washington

Beautiful Poulsbo, WA Marina
Poulsbo, a quaint Norwegian-founded village in Washington state is a wonderful place to stroll the galleries, enjoy a festival or even rent a kayak. The village is small, peaceful and just lively enough to keep things interesting.

While we didn't find a Norwegian restaurant, we did encounter some dining surprises.

Having dined at That's a Some Italian Ristorante in downtown Poulsbo a week prior, I thought a return visit would be in order. When dining there previously, my friends raved about the smoked salmon pasta (and it looked very good). I had veal picatta and it was pretty tasty (not the best I had ever had but I cleaned my plate!)

So I arranged to take an out of town guest there for a fun Italian dinner a week later. I anticipated the restaurant to be busy as there was an art fair and street dance happening. Luckily they took reservations. They were, indeed, busy. Service was not prompt but it was friendly and accommodating.  What surprised me was the actual food. It was not what I expected after a pretty good meal on the previous visit.

The bread was great, the Caesar salad was great but when my friend’s Pizza Margherita came, things went downhill fast. The dough was flat (unlike other pizzas being served in the restaurant.) The sauce was “awful” and, quite honestly I was embarrassed for my friend who was a vegetarian and had few options. I have to say that the management handled her disappointment well and took the pizza off our bill. I think I will try another Italian restaurant in Poulsbo next time.

Surprise #2 came later in my friends’ visit. It was a beautiful evening and the boats were quietly drifting in and out of the harbor. The sun was beginning to set. My friend was dying to try the local “deck with a view” eatery despite my concerns. I had heard the place was a dive-bar sort of place… a local hangout for unsavory types who just wanted to down one beer after another and tell tall sea tales. And I warned her.

Throwing caution to the wind,  we went upstairs to The Loft at Latitude Forty Seven Seven. We were seated outdoors to enjoy the view and the sunset. I suggested to my friend that the food might not be the best. But she was looking forward to seafood (she is a pescatarian, it turns out) and ordered salmon cakes. I had guacamole and chips. We ordered from the inexpensive drink list.

While the clouds and the bay turned soft pink and orange with the setting sun, we enjoyed our small meals… both attractively plated. Surprisingly, both dishes were excellent. The salmon cakes were fresh tasting and not overloaded with breading. Seasoning was well done. My guacamole was freshly made before being served, chunky and not overly spicy.

It was a lovely evening and we were surprised by our experience as compared with advice we had received from locals. I’d definitely go back, especially at sunset.

Poulsbo has many small restaurants and coffee shops to check out. While we did not experience consistency in one situation, we did find that the downtown area is a great place to go for a meal and we can’t wait to go explore some more.