The Columbia River Gorge is known for more than just beautiful scenery. It’s also a hub for great food. With so much fresh, local produce, restaurants near Hood River in the Columbia River Gorge are full of Pacific Northwest flavor. There is quite a variety of fare available so dining out is easy for even the hardest-to-please family members.
Not sure where to go? Check out this list that highlights some of the best restaurants in the Columbia River Gorge.
Solstice Wood Fire Café & Bar
Pair wood-fired pizzas with a stunning view on the waterfront in Hood River and you have the perfect recipe for a delicious meal at Solstice Wood Fire Café & Bar. Owners Suzanne and Aaron Baumhackl imported an Italian pizza oven to create their pizza masterpieces, which are crafted to reflect the bounty of the Gorge. Dough is made from scratch daily. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options are available, including dairy-free cheese and vegan sausage. Their country girl cherry pizza is award winning, and definitely worth a try if you’re up for something a little unusual and delicious. The Solstice Wood Fire Café & Bar wine list is comprised of local wines to the Columbia River Gorge and Yakima Valley. The restaurant has a heated outdoor patio and a children’s play area near the family seating area indoors. For more information, visit the Solstice Wood Fire Café & Bar website.
501 Portway Avenue, Hood River
Delicious food with a side of history is served up daily at Baldwin Saloon. The original bar was opened in 1876 by brothers James and John Baldwin. From then until 1991, the building had a range of businesses coming and going, including having a brothel behind it at one point and being used as a coffin storage site later on. But in 1991, the current owners reopened the building as a saloon once again, complete with the original fir floors and brick walls showing. Baldwin Saloon is full of history pieces from around the area, making it just as enjoyable to look around as it is a great place to eat. When it comes to the food, they do not skip on quality. Everything is made from scratch, even the pasta and ice cream. Stuffed mushrooms and tacos with house-made tortillas are popular. They also have gluten free options. The restaurant uses local ingredients and serve Pacific Northwest wines, and has an extensive menu including 13 salads and 12 dessert choices. For more information, visit the Baldwin Saloon website.
205 Court Street, The Dalles
Big Man’s Rotisserie
Craving some unusual barbecue? Head to Big Man’s Rotisserie food truck on the Washington side of the Gorge for a unique experience. They cook whole, local free-range chickens on a wood fire grill. South African flavors, including cumin, cayenne, cinnamon and ginger, are infused into the typically American dishes. You’ll also find chapati here – an unleavened flat bread made fresh to order and wrapped around delicious meats and vegetables. All ingredients are gluten free except for the chapatis. Be sure to call ahead, as this food truck is not always open. But if it is, it’s worth the drive. For more information, visit the Big Man’s Rotisserie Facebook page.
740 East Steuben, Bignen
Celilo Restaurant & Bar
If you are looking for an elegant evening, perhaps a date night or anniversary, Celilo Restaurant & Bar is the place for you. Hailed internationally as an excellent place to get fresh, local food expertly prepared by chef and managing partner Benn Stenn, Celilo’s menu changes constantly depending on what’s available locally. This includes beef, seafood, produce and – of course – wines and beers. The restaurant buys naturally raised and organic whenever possible as well. They actually list the names of the places they get their ingredients from on their website, so you truly know where your food is coming from at this restaurant. While the menu does change with availability, you will usually find Italian entrees such as pasta and ravioli, as well as seafood dishes and steak. The wine list is extensive with over 150 to choose from, with many local wineries represented. For more information, visit the Celilo Restaurant & Bar website.
16 Oak Street, Hood River
Family-owned Lake Taco serves up authentic, home-style Mexican food using fresh local ingredients – and they even make their own corn tortillas. Their giant burritos and tacos are among customer favorites. Unlike chain Mexican restaurants, the food here is the real deal and you can get things not usually found, including torta pambazo and guarache. The chorizo is even made right at the restaurant! They have a toppings bar full of salsas, cilantro and peppers, and have tons of options when it comes to add-ins for your tacos, including sour cream and refried beans. For more information, visit the Lake Taco Facebook page.
1213 June Street, Hood River