9 Spots to Eat in Oregon's Hood-Gorge Region

Food Lists Oregon
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9 Spots to Eat in Oregon's Hood-Gorge Region

Portland might be the foodie capital of the Pacific Northwest, as evidenced by the hugely popular Feast Portland food festival. But have you ever wondered where the City of Roses gets its locally-sourced, sustainably produced ingredients? The answer is just an hour’s drive east of Portland into the fertile lands of the Mount Hood and Columbia River Gorge region of Oregon. In addition to growing and producing much of the region’s food, this area is also home to restaurants, breweries and fresh markets where you can stop and enjoy fresh eats.

1.Brigham Fish Market

681 Wa Na Pa St
Cascade Locks, Ore. 97014

If you start your journey in Portland, hop on I-84 East and drive for about an hour. You’ll pass by many of the area’s stunning waterfalls including Multnomah Falls before arriving in the small town of Cascade Locks. Swing by the family-owned Brigham Fish Market to pick up fresh caught salmon and seafood to cook at home, or dine in and enjoy some crispy fried fish and chips for lunch. If you’re feeling adventurous, order the sturgeon fish and chips for a unique take on the popular dish. The smoked salmon dip is also worth stockpiling for the rest of your road trip.

2. East Wind Drive-In

395 Wa Na Pa St
Cascade Locks, Ore. 97014

02_Eastwind_Pratt.jpg Photo by Suzi Pratt
Just a few blocks away from Brigham Fish Market is East Wind Drive-In, a retro diner serving reasonably priced greasy comfort food. But their claim to fame is their soft serve ice cream. Available in about 30 different flavors, the ice cream cones are ridiculously tall and are legendary among Oregonians (most come to the diner just to order the ice cream). Seating in the diner is very limited, so this is very much an order-to-go joint, but it’s well worth stopping for dessert and to enjoy the scenery of the nearby Bridge of the Gods.

3.Celilo Restaurant

16 Oak St
Hood River, Ore. 97031

03_Celilo_Pratt.jpg Photo by Suzi Pratt
From Cascade Locks, drive 45 minutes further east along the Columbia River and you’ll arrive at the town of Hood River. Known as the windsurfing capital of the world, this cozy town is a popular base for hikers, mountain bikers and, of course, windsurfers. The most upscale eatery in Hood River is Celilo Restaurant. Located in the heart of downtown, Celilo is dubbed a New American restaurant and is helmed by Chef Ben Stenn. His farm-to-table cuisine is renowned for incorporating much of the seasonal, fresh food produced locally in the nearby Hood River Valley. Even the luxurious wine list is made up mostly of wines from local Oregon vineyards. Reservations at Celilo are highly recommended, so make sure you get a seat.

4. Broder Øst

102 Oak Street #100
Hood River, Ore. 97031

04_Broder-Ost_Pratt.jpg Photo by Suzi Pratt
Stroll down the street from Celilo and you’ll find the trendiest breakfast spot in Hood River. Located at the base of the historic Hood River Hotel, Broder Øst is an extension of the popular Portland-based Broder restaurants. All eateries specialize in Nordic-inspired food. Broder Øst opened in Hood River in the summer of 2016 and has been popular among tourists and locals for its Scandinavian fare including their famous Danish pancakes, or œbleskiver. Stop by Broder Øst to enjoy breakfast or brunch, or sit at the iconic soapstone bar and for a quick caffeine fix of coffee or tea.

5. pFriem Family Brewers

707 Portway Ave, Ste 101
Hood River, Ore. 97031
05_Pfriem_Pratt.jpgPhoto by Suzi Pratt
If you want to get a closer look at the Hood River windsurfers, head down to Waterfront Park where you’ll find a strip of new construction. Among the new retail spaces is pFriem Family Brewers and their artisanal Belgian-style beers. Their modern taproom features indoor and outdoor seating and stunning views of the Columbia and White Salmon rivers where windsurfers congregate on summer afternoons. Head into the taproom and enjoy housemade craft beers and a tasty food menu. If you’re a mac and cheese fan, definitely order the cheesy spaetzle and wash it down with a pint of beer.

6. Kiyokawa Family Orchards

5625 Hutson Dr
Mount Hood, Ore. 97041

06_Kiyokawa_Pratt.jpg Photo by Suzi Pratt
If you head south of Hood River, you’ll end up in the fertile valley where much of the area’s produce is grown. These flat lands are very scenic with stunning views of Mount Hood in the distance, and many farms to visit. One definitely worth stopping at is Kiyokawa Family Orchards. This family-owned orchard grows more than 100 varieties of apples and pears, including 15 varieties of Asian pears. Guided tours are offered on occasion, or you can simply stop by the covered roadside stand to stock up on as many apples and pears as your heart desires. Among the apple varieties, you’ll find some you recognize, and others that look and taste like nothing you’ve ever tried before. While you can’t grab a meal here, you can load up on tons of fresh snacks or ingredients for the best apple pie you’ve ever baked.

7. The Gorge White House

2265 Oregon 35
Hood River, Ore. 97031

07_Cider_Pratt.jpg Photo by Suzi Pratt
Oregon’s wine and beer scene is widely celebrated, but did you know that hard cider is another beverage taking the region by storm? Given the plethora of freshly grown apples, it only makes sense. One of the most notable craft cider makers in the area takes up residence in a charming 1908 Dutch Colonial House. This 100-year-old landmark is known as The Gorge White House. Today, it is a working farm offering award-winning hard ciders of all kinds of flavors including apple pear and blueberry, to name a couple. Stop by and enjoy a tasting flight or purchase a full bottle to take home for later.

8. Freebridge Brewery

710 E 2nd Street
The Dalles, Ore. 97058

08_Freebridge_Pratt.jpg Photo by Suzi Pratt
Heading back along the Columbia River on I-84 East, venture out to The Dalles, where you’ll find another small town with a couple of notable eateries. Freebridge Brewery is located in the heart of The Dalles within a former U.S. Mint Building. Featuring an active production floor and 45-seat tasting room, Freebridge has both a menu with craft beer options and a food menu. While the beer is of course central to the menu, the food is awfully good, especially for a brewpub. The burger and Cuban sandwich are especially notable, as are the spent grain pretzel bites that are made from beer brewing leftovers.

9. Baldwin Saloon

205 Court Street
The Dalles, Ore. 97058

09_Baldwin-Saloon_Pratt.jpg Photo by Suzi Pratt
No trip to The Dalles is complete without a stop at the historic Baldwin Saloon. With a history dating back to 1876, the Baldwin Saloon building has served many purposes over the years. It has been a restaurant, warehouse, state employment office and even a coffin storage site. Ever since 1991, it has stood in its present form as the main fine dining restaurant of The Dalles. Its interior still holds remnants of the past including gorgeous turn-of-the-century oil paintings, original brick walls and an especially notable 18-foot-long mahogany back bar.

Food-wise, Baldwin Saloon is renowned for making everything on its huge menu from scratch. The kitchen is helmed by Chef Tamara Huffman and her culinary highlights include homemade pasta, chevre-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon, scallops provencal and 12 decadent desserts.

Suzi Pratt is an internationally published Seattle event and food photographer. Her photos appear regularly in Eater and Getty Images. She is also a prolific blogger who teaches others how to start a photography business.