Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

The Willows Inn

2579 W. Shore Dr. (Melcher Rd.) Send to Phone
360-758-2620; 888-294-2620
Modern Pacific Northwest cuisine infused with local ingredients presented in a wooded haven on Lummi Island.

Dinner Thurs.-Sun. 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m.

* Click here for rating key

The Willows Inn, Lummi Island, WA

The Willows Inn Restaurant Review

About the restaurant and décor: Chef Blaine Wetzel, who apprenticed at Copenhagen's Noma, brings Scandinavian elegance and refined, precise technique to a remote outpost on Lummi Island, located two hours north of Seattle. His vision of "food telling a story of the land" breaks new ground in celebratory three-hour dinners. Presented in a charming Craftsman-style structure with a simple dining room with dark tones and tranquil views of Rosario Strait, a meal is like taking a culinary hike through the local landscape.

About the food: Inventive combinations, unconventional flavors, unexpected textures, vivid colors, and out-of-the-box presentations, such as a single smoked mussel on a bed of sea rocks, create innovative repasts. The tasting menu ($195 per person) is seasonal with almost everything locally fished, foraged and farmed. A stark wooden plank holds a piece of alderwood smoked salmon. Another of the more memorable embodiments of the aforementioned ideology is the “herb tostada,” a colorful bouquet of edible plants found around the island. Other striking courses include seared aged venison leg served on a metal skewer, and a Dungeness crab shell containing crab brains to be enjoyed with the accompanying wheat bread. For dessert, perhaps you’ll encounter a bowl of cream and mousse flavored with anise hyssop and lavender.

About the wine: Wine pairings are expertly chosen and well worth $90 (a selection of noteworthy wines is available by the bottle, too). Most guests at the 12-table restaurant also stay at The Willows Inn, although there is a midnight ferry back to the mainland.


GAYOT's Annual Restaurant Awards honor America's best chefs, as well as promising newcomers and a top restaurateur.