Eating Adventurously in Coos Bay, North Bend and Charleston
A guide to great eats on Oregon’s South Coast.
May 5, 2022
Coastal cuisine often means steaming bowls of clam chowder and baskets of perfectly golden fish and chips. Those are tried-and-true classics for good reason, but there’s more to Oregon’s Adventure Coast than traditional fare (though there’s plenty of that, too).
The region encompassing Coos Bay, North Bend and Charleston is also home to an increasingly creative and distinctive dining scene that’s expanding the definition of what seashore dining means in Oregon. Visitors to Oregon’s Adventure Coast will find plenty of options for expanding their culinary horizons, from waterfront restaurants where the food rivals the glorious view to perfectly fresh seafood sold right on the docks.
Oregon Seafood And Local Brews
If you want to sample Oregon seafood while on the Coast, Shark Bites Cafe is a sure bet. Try a signature taco featuring local pink shrimp topped with shredded cabbage, jack cheese and chipotle mayo; a house-made Dungeness crab burger; or a basket of grilled Coos Bay oysters served with fresh coleslaw and fries.
If local brews are more your style, 7 Devils Brewing Co. is a downtown Coos Bay staple for handcrafted ales. It’s worth stopping into the taproom and trying a hoppy IPA or a smooth blonde ale, especially since they only distribute within a 100-mile radius. The brewery recently launched a new venture, 7 Devils Waterfront Alehouse, with big picture windows that provide a stunning view of the bay and a creative menu featuring seafood, meat and produce from local purveyors.
A cooperative spirit on the South Coast has resulted in delicious local collaborations. For example, North Bend-based bakery and caterer Wildflour uses 7 Devils’ spent grain to make their own bread, as well as turning it into pretzels and bagels (served with beet cream cheese) for the Waterfront Alehouse, a clever way to get the most out of every kernel.
Follow Virginia Avenue about a mile to the Back Alley Pub & Grill, a casual restaurant with a large, heated, covered patio, next to a bowling alley. After playing a few frames, fuel up with a pepperoni pizza or branch out with a Philly-cheesesteak pizza, or even a Thai pizza pie. Similar to the partnership between Wildflour and 7 Devils Waterfront Alehouse, Back Alley uses flatbread from nearby Empire Bakery as a base for its pizzas.
Global Flavors and Plant-Based Meals
Not everyone eats seafood, meat or dairy, and that’s where vegan restaurant The Tin Thistle Cafe in downtown North Bend comes in. You’ll have your pick of hearty bowls filled with legumes, brown rice, avocados and Daiya cheese, livened up with Mexican- and Indian-influenced spices and sauces, as well as satisfying house-made veggie burgers and a selection of smoothies and savory pasties.
Visitors craving international flavors have multiple choices, including Coos Bay’s Himalayan Restaurant serving Indian, Nepali and Tibetan dishes like curries and momos, a filled dumpling. Or pick up freshly made tamales by the dozen at Maria’s Authentic Mexican Restaurant in North Bend. On taco Tuesdays, try the asada or al pastor tacos.
For something more upscale, Restaurant O, in Coos Bay, is a fine-dining choice where Chef Eoghain O’Neill showcases global flavors based on his Irish and Trinidadian roots. That translates to appetizers like wild-caught prawn tempura with Trinidadian chili and tamarind sauce, and tasting menus featuring fantastical dishes like herb-crusted seared halibut with lemon air, asparagus black-venere risotto, green tea and tom yum bouillabaisse.
DIY Cooking With Local Ingredients
If you’re thinking about doing your own fishing, crabbing or clamming and then preparing your own meal, you’re in luck, because you can do it all on Oregon’s Adventure Coast. Before you head out, check with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for information about how to get licensed, find out what’s in season, and learn how to dig, cast and forage.
Visitors who want a taste of the local bounty without all of the dirty work still have options. Head to D-Dock in Charleston’s scenic boat basin to buy seafood right on the docks. Look for boats with signs out in the early to mid-morning. Or head to family-owned Chuck’s Seafood to pick up a few cans of albacore tuna, a dozen freshly shucked Coos Bay oysters or a takeout container filled with shrimp cocktail.
To round out your spread, visit the Coos Bay Farmers Market, which is held on Wednesdays from May to October, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., in downtown Coos Bay. Pick up fresh-from-the-ground salad fixings and pints of just-picked berries from one of the many farmstands to complement your catch of the day. Vendors also sell prepared food like homemade salsas and hummus (and even dog treats), alongside the ever-changing roster of food trucks like ElkHorn BBQ and Papa’s Doggs.
Whether you’re in the mood for casual pub grub, candlelit ambience with a view, or catching your own seafood and preparing a meal to remember, Oregon’s Adventure Coast: Coos Bay, North Bend and Charleston has countless options for visitors in search of a unique taste of the region.