E veryone experiences the San Juan Island’s a bit differently. For some they are a romantic hide away , for others the islands are an opportunity for adventure, exploring them by bike or kayak. But, however you spend your time here you will still all have to make the same decision . The most important decision. Where will we eat?
On an island of around 8,000 people and 55 square miles choices may seem limited. With a little insiders knowledge though you will find a few meaningful epicurean hideouts.
Upon landing in Friday Harbor, no matter what you have planned, your first stop should be Market Chef. At this little eatery almost all the needs of the travel weary can be filled. Peer into their deli case filled with today’s offerings. Everything is weighed by the pound so make your own combo, decide whether you want a light snack or something more substantial. Have them heat you up a plate for now and package up more for your ocean or road side excursion later. Some of our meal suggestions from the current seasonal items include; buttermilk chicken tenders, with chive mash and a side of the Moroccan curried squash rings or for more of a kick try the lightly seared Thai marinated steak atop a tangy sesame noodle salad.
While you are salivating over what you can see in the case don’t forget to check the daily specials board (try the pozole!) Get there early though because they sell out quick. Market Chef also offers an extensive soup, salad, and sandwich menu. The my sister’s favorite sandwich is unique and delicious and locals recommend the roast beef sandwich. The most wonderful part of the delicious lunch time fare? It is all focused on local, organic, and seasonal ingredients. This fact is not displayed on every menu or plastered on every wall because, using quality food for Market Chef is not a marketing ploy but park of their ethos.
Now that your hunger is satisfied turn your attention to other important matters, coffee. Market Chef easily serve the best espresso drinks in Friday Harbor and quite possibly the best mocha in the world. Made with rich Belgian chocolate and topped with a dollop of real whip, it is a San Juan Island do not miss attraction.
Market Chef’s atomosphere is not particularly original or upscale. All food is self serve and self clear. That is all part of the charm of course. As you walk up people, and their dogs, greet you while they watch the flow of ferries from the front deck. Upon entering the bustle from the kitchen catches your eye. Watch while Market Chef’s many skilled employees chop, sautee, and pull wonderful things from the oven. The dining roon has an airy brightness enhanced by the large windows. Out back enjoy your food and drink on the tree canopied patio. A few minutes and a few menu items later an it’s easy to see why this small deli/cafe has been a favorite for locals and visitors.