Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Dining, Wine and Brews in Scenic Gig Harbor, Washington


The food scene is expanding in delicious ways in the picturesque waterfront city of Gig Harbor, Washington. A dynamic restaurant scene, walk-around food festivals, wine events, an award winning distillery, craft breweries, and a seasonal waterfront farmers market make it an easy choice for food lovers looking for a sweet and savory escape.
  
For breakfast and lunch, deck seating on a sunny day is only topped by the aroma of bacon cinnamon rolls hot from the oven at Netshed No. 9. The Maritime Pier is a great platform for photos before a weekend breakfast or a fish-and-chips lunch inside or out at Puget Sound landmark Tides Tavern. At the foot of the harbor, Devoted Kiss, with panoramic harbor views and a handful of tables on the deck, serves up classic and healthy options. With indoor and deck seating, Susanne’s Bakery is another neighborhood favorite, offering gluten-free morning glory (and other) muffins, pastries, sandwiches, fresh baked breads, espresso, and more.

Putting the finishing touches on their wood-fired ovens, Millville Pizza Co. is slated to open soon. It will be located on the corner of Harborview Drive and Dorotich Street, next to Susanne’s and adjacent to Ship to Shore’s new buildings at Arabella’s Landing. Millville Pizza will offer a simple menu of naturally leavened artisan pizza with fresh, seasonal and local toppings, salads and an appetizer or two, as well as distinctive Washington wines and brews.

Casual dinner options on the water include The Tides, a convivial hub for the over 21 crowd, and the seasonal, new JW @ The Boatyard Food Trolley with picnic-table seating adjacent to a working boatyard.  Harbor General Store offers a gourmet market, a cafe and gift boutique all in one space. The new outdoor patio at Anthony’s at Gig Harbor offers a spectacular view of the bay.

For intimate dining on or near the water look to at Brix 25° for Northwest-influenced hearty, flavorful, American cuisine, savor creative comfort cuisine at JW’s, enjoy classic, wild and organic fare at The Green Turtle, experience authentic Italian fare at Il Lucano Ristorante Italiano, and sample contemporary fusion fare at Morso. All offer extensive wine lists, many featuring Washington wines; some create and serve inspired, craft cocktails.

No food scene would be complete without a local brewery. Gig Harbor has two – 7 Seas Brewing and adjacent taproom and Wet Coast Brewing Co. The harbor also has a nationally recognized craft distillery, Heritage Distilling. With an inviting downtown tasting room as well as distillery tours and tastings uptown, Heritage is notable for 20-plus naturally flavored vodkas, “My Batch” distilling classes and the introduction of spirits growlers.

Olalla Vineyard & Winery, seven miles from the harbor, has energetic new owners who orchestrate winemaker dinners in the vineyard and welcome visitors on Thursday through Sunday afternoons to their tasting room or to purchase a bottle and pre-ordered picnic basket to enjoy on the idyllic grounds. Beyond the warm hospitality, notable are the expertise and artistry of winemaker, Matthew Loso, the use of handcrafted Italian amphorae in the wine making process and the Golubok grapes, one of the less-common red varietals grown.

Cutter’s Point Coffee originated in Gig Harbor and has a convivial new flagship coffee shop at the top of Soundview. Further up the road, MarKee opened next to Harbor Greens, with barista-made specialties as well as food and wine options. Java & Clay, a delightful coffee and pottery making shop, occupies an enviable downtown location.
  
Annual food events spotlight local talent and provide an entertaining introduction as well. Top choices include the Gig Harbor Wine & Food Festival (July), twice annual Sip and Stroll, Food Truck Feast and special events at restaurants.