Food, glorious food! The main street of Old Town Florence is lined with shops, art and eateries. A few of my favorite things!
Colorful and creative art galleries lead you to the quaint path through Gazebo Park to the river, a small little park along the Siuslaw River. Baskets of bright red and pink geraniums hang from the eaves of shops up and down the street. Adding to the old town feeling are ornamental streetlights and benches made for relaxing and people watching. A clever drinking fountain at the opening to the park is designed for people of all sizes, even the four legged friends!
Art is everywhere you look. Even a mural painted on the side of a restaurant wall.
Dancing with Sea Lions! When we saw the 1st one it was cool. Then we started to spot others and noticed the plaques at the bottom of each sea lion. There are 20 sea lions within a 75 mile radius between Newport, Florence and Reedsport. If you’d like to see how beautiful each artists sea lions are check out Dancing with Sea Lions. There is an interactive map to make it easier to find these amazing works of art. Follow the path. Who knows what else you will discover!
I know I’ve kept you long enough! Here’s the food we have had the pleasure of eating and this is just on Bay Street. We are pretty much eating our way through town.
Bridgewater Fish House and Zebra Bar
Ask the locals and you will find the best! It was rainy, chilly and chowder sounded like just the lunch we needed to warm us up. And we had to find out what a Zebra Bar was!
Bridgewater’s dining room is decorated with wild animal prints. They still have the original wood floors and there are crabs and lobsters hanging on the walls. The restaurant comes with history and pedigree. It was once the 1901 William Kyle & Sons Building at the corner of Bay and Laurel streets. Considered to be a classic example of the two-story, false-fronted general stores that were built during the early pioneering days of the West Coast. It served as a mercantile until 1961 and remains virtually the same on the outside as when it was built in 1901. Very fun decor inside with historic design outside!
We stuck with our plan and went for the soup and chowder. Ocean Food Soup with a deep rich broth is loaded with seafood! It comes with grilled sour dough bread and garlic butter.
Ocean Food Chowder is not low fat but it’s worth it! Rich, creamy and loaded with big pieces of shrimp, tender clams and salmon! And BACON!! If you pair it with a crisp, green salad you can cut your guilt in half. Either soup or chowder is a must have! We liked them so much we went back a few days later and ordered the exact same thing for lunch. Just as good the second time!
Our friends Mike and Donna recommended Waterfront Depot to us when they heard we were planning a trip to Florence. They said during the tour season you will definitely need to make reservations well in advance of when you want to dine. Now we know why. It is a tiny 10 table restaurant with very good food!
The view from the back of the dining room isn’t so bad either. If you can get one of the 3 tables by the window you are very lucky! The windows look out onto the Port of Siuslaw and the gorgeous bridge over the river.
If you look around at the pictures on the wall, you will recognize the people in them, when they were much younger. This one happens to be Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole. There is also a picture on one of my favorite singers, Elvis! These are not just any photos but the work of Milton H. Greene, an American fashion and celebrity photographer and film and television producer. He is best known for the photo shoots with Marilyn Monroe. Mr Green’s son lives in Florence has all the originals of his father’s work. Pretty cool little tidbit!
We dined “From the Sea” – My Crab Encrusted Alaskan Halibut entrée was served Bistro style where entrée and Caesar salad share the same plate. The two pieces of halibut were thick and very fresh. Lightly “crusted” with bread crumbs and bits of crab then draped in a sweet chili cream sauce.
And “From the Land” – David’s Flat Iron Steak was grilled and topped with a gorgonzola blue cheese and brandy cream sauce with Yukon gold mashed potato. It was also served Bistro style with a house salad tossed in an Asian sesame dressing. The gorgonzola brandy cream sauce was to die for! Yes, I do eat off his plate too! Our server Desiree offered us an “audio” tasting of the dessert menu because we were too full for dessert! She gave such a fine performance, we almost order some….almost 🙂
Cute bistro with Seafood and Pacific Northwest Fusion Cuisine.
Tobacco Steak, a blackened center-cut sirloin sitting on a bed of jalapeno raisin barbeque sauce. The sauce was really good! The raisins add a rich, deep flavor, the barbeque sauce is tangy, not sweet and the jalapenos add an undercurrent of heat. Looks like this sauce will have to be added to the summer barbeque hit parade! All in all a very tasty trip down Bay Street in Old Town Florence!