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“Difficult place to review as someone that searches out great places to eat”

Willows Inn Restaurant
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Description: One seating at 6:30pm each night features a preset tasting menu that is entirely fished, foraged, and farmed from or around Lummi Island.
Reviewed 9 September 2017

We originally planned a drive from Moses Lake to Lummi Island just to eat at this restaurant, but there are many better places in downtown Seattle. Now the wait staff is spectacular, and the view is wonderful. The effort they put into he food is herculean. But where it falls short is that there were way too many dishes, 22 dishes in all. Hidden in those 22 dishes are some real gems, e.g., a kind of a taco filled with greens and flowers; beautiful and tasty. But it was just too many dishes, many of which were fine, but not great. There was not a dish that we did not like, but for the price of the meal, the time and costs of traveling there, I really believe the place is overrated.

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2  Thank lovegolfsailing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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7 - 11 of 166 reviews

Reviewed 1 September 2017 via mobile

We thought we'd start our day out to the mainland with a sturdy breakfast at the Willows Inn on Lummi! We were seated in the front dining area with a table overlooking the Rosario Straits. All foraged and local produce, yogurt, buckwheat crepes, apricot butter, honey in comb, blueberries, granola with toasted pumpkin seeds, blueberry jam, soft boiled duck egg, thick rashers of pork belly, cured salmon, pancetta, cream cheese and soft matured cheese, creme fraîche, crispy toasted kale leaves in grape seed oil, turnip crudités, apple cider, coffee! The first cup of coffee was delightful and had a distinct chicory hue however the second cup was weak and lacked color and taste! So the neat part of this breakfast is that you could lay out the crepes and add your various ingredients such as cheese, pork belly, and kale and make your own custom crepe wraps! Not bad for what gourmets hail as one of the top restaurant in the US! We wandered around the garden and checked out the huge smoker that uses somewhat green alder wood to smoke fish, shellfish, meats and a few other delights! Sadly when we got to the ferry there was a two hour wait so just as well we had such a delightful and hearty breakfast!

1  Thank northernneckinn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 August 2017

The dinner price for the Willows Inn was a bit daunting for us, but we decided to try it for a late lunch, and were extremely happy with our decision. There is limited seating, so guests should be prepared to sit outdoors (it was cool, but we had heatlamps and blankets, and were very comfortable). While the small plate options are limited, they were all excellent-- locally sourced and fresh. The service was attentive but not intrusive, and we loved the casual, relaxed atmosphere.

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1  Thank Pollyanna70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 August 2017 via mobile

Perhaps the best restaurant experience of my life. Tasting menu only, and open mindedness required. You'll be surprised and delighted with wonderfully fresh and creative dishes,served by kind, knowledgeable, and efficient staff. We also anted up for the wine pairing, which was perfect. Bring your appetite and your wallet. An extraordinary experience. You'll also want to visit for breakfast. Guarantee you've never had anything like it.

1  Thank nymark2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 July 2017

Average in this case means "good" -- there is no "good" category. Before I continue we would have to say we only stopped at this famous eatery for lunch, so we'll go back another time for the main event, dinner, but we do have a few notes. We live in the northwest but are also experienced travelers, so we both appreciate the unusualness of having "Willows" in this neighborhood, but at the same time, if we measure it against famous meals around the world, then "best meal of my life!" and so on -- might be going too far.
We stopped here with a friend the other day and had -- in addition to the wonderful views to the north, and let's face it, that is part of the dining experience -- the preserved albacore, herb-cured smelt with radishes, and the assorted charcuterie, local cheeses and pickles. Clearly, the chefs here know their stuff. Starting with the last first, one member of our group complained that any one of us could have put together such a selection, but I respectfully disagree. It's the selection that is the thing; the chefs have examined the cheeses produced in the county and come up with items they view as superior, and to my mind they didn't choose wrong; that creamy "glacier blue" cheese for example, and the comb-honey had a very rich taste -- you might almost say it had several different tastes. The prosciutto and fioco stood out. Another cheese called calypso was firm and delicate. I was curious about the herb-cured smelts and what arrived was similar to some of the "gaffelbitters" (think Nyhaven) the Danish do, a smelt with a piquant aftertaste. I enjoyed it (I don't think it needed the butter served with it; but let the chef have his way). The preserved albacore was disparaged by one member of our group, but I thought it was interesting, and good. Somehow, the creamy ricotta served with it gave the albacore another dimension of taste. Similarly, on the other plate, the local honey added something to the cheeses -- but it was a combination I would never have thought of.
As we were dining, one of the chefs came out and was picking herbs in the garden, another noteworthy small detail.
The place is expensive, let's face it. But if your budget permits, give it a try.
We have heard from others that the actual inn is nothing special (as others have observed, it is one of only two choices on the island) -- so just concentrate on the restaurant then.
The island is worth driving around and if you have time (and are in good shape) ascend the trail at the "Baker Preserve", 3.3 miles up and down, but be forewarned it is steep at the beginning. Excellent views at the end of the trail. Hiking sticks might be helpful if you have them.
Bon appetit!

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3  Thank Kenpasha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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