Fine Dining, Roche Harbor and Friday Harbor

Divide your time between Roche Harbor and Friday Harbor and you’ll be split for choice finding some of the best ‘eateries’ in the region. Whatever your culinary tastes, there’s something for everyone. Forget ‘breakfast at Tiffanys’, Roche Harbor’s Lime Kiln Café has built quite a following with visitors and locals alike, who make regular pilgrimages for classics like the Harbor Breakfast Special and world famous, freshly-made doughnuts.

Cheeseburgers, caesar salads, clam chowder, sandwiches and fish & chips round out a lunch menu where variety and decision are key words. Open for breakfast from 8am-11pm and lunch 11am-3pm you’ll find Lime Kiln Café at the end of Roche Harbor’s historic wharf. Dine under the umbrellas in summer and watch the boats and cabin cruisers come and go. The café is a firm family favourite with a wide selection of hearty meals.


The Madrona Bar & Grill, is a superb waterfront restaurant with deck which overlooks Roche Harbor’s marina. Dine here and not only will you enjoy great views of the harbor and marina activities, but also a wide and varied menu. Focusing on coastal casual cuisine and great cocktails, it offers diners the only island sunset view over the marina’s tranquil water. Serving up fresh salads, its famous BBQ ribs and creative grill sandwiches, it opens daily from 11am. For more information call (800)-451-8910.

The historic McMillin’s Dining Room is part of what was the former home of John S. McMillin, founder of Roche Harbor’s Lime & Cement Company. An Island Certified restaurant, book a window table an hour before sunset and you’re guaranteed a memorable dining experience. Their speciality is salt cured prime rib and this, like the rest of their menu, is locally sourced. The wine list is ‘Wine Spectator’ award-winning and specializes in an impressive Northwest selection. Open 5pm-10pm daily, reservations are recommended. Call (360)-378-5757 for more information.

Located under a beautiful copper beach, the seasonal Emporium Beechtree Espresso Bar overlooks Roche Harbor’s formal gardens. Open during the summer season, look out for the artist booths where you can browse at your leisure. Featuring Starbucks Coffee – the only Starbucks coffee stand on San Juan Island – enjoy a steaming cappuchino, latte or maybe a mocha, as well as snacks. Also enjoy the Ice Cream Emporium with a tempting selection of flavours. Summer opening hours are 7am-2pm May 9th – June 26th, and 7am-9pm June 27th through Labor Day.


Friday Harbor, like its close neighbour offers visitors plenty of culinary variety. Visit Coho Restaurant for an interesting blend of Island grown ingredients mixed with a touch of the Mediterranean. Sample from an extensive menu voted Best of The San Juans along with a glass or two from its award winning wine list. Just three blocks from the ferry dock, Coho is ideal for a quiet night out. has more information.

For that early morning ferry trip, try The Doctor’s Office, right next to the ferry parking lanes. Wake yourself up with their homemade baked goods and fresh coffee at breakfast, homemade sandwiches & soups along with tempting homemade ice cream. Open all year round, call (360)-378-8865 for more information.

The Place, on Spring Street is an extraordinary and memorable San Juan Island dining experience. The restaurant sits over the water with a fantastic view of the harbor and the ferries. Just a few blocks from the marina, the ambience and the atmosphere is both comfortable and romantic. Surrounded by memorable views across the water, this is one local restaurant guaranteed to leave a lasting impression. Go to or call (360)-378-8707.

The Back Door Kitchen might be tucked away, but once you find it, you’ll not forget it. The Back Door Kitchen offers indoor or outdoor dining from a multi-cultural menu and extensive and impressive wine list. Located at 400 A Street, its comfortable surroundings and friendly staff guarantee a memorable evening. has more details.

To finish up your day, why not visit Herb’s Tavern on First Street. Herb’s has been catering for local beer drinkers since 1938, so it’s well established. A few pool tables and a well stocked jukebox cater for more traditional tastes, and the bar hosts the occasional live music and karaoke nights. Herb’s has a good selection of beer on tap as well as a great bottled variety. And don’t forget Herb’s Taven burgers – arguably the best and definitely the biggest in the district. Sandwiches and fish and chips, are also available. Call (360)-378-7076 for details.

About the author

Nigel Boney

I started writing for in 2010, with 37 articles published. I have strong links with the Pacific Northwest. UK based, I also wrote for Mobbly News Written by You - 73 articles mainly under showbiz & entertainment. Recently I published on MusicVita. I have a Diploma in freelance journalism and I'm currently writing on Blasting News US.

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1 Comment

  • Nice article, Nigel! One minor change – The Doctor’s Office is no more! But take heart! The old house has been transformed into the Far North Cafe, owned by the same owner of The Bean. They do a good job with their coffee, pastries, sandwiches & salads. Bon voyage!