Walla Walla boasts a diverse and dynamic culinary landscape within its city limits and in nearby small towns. Visitors will find contemporary American fare and a variety of international cuisines all paired perfectly with wines from the area. It is an eclectic mix from winery bistros to upscale resort dining experiences. There is even a French brasserie that dishes up delectable country French comfort food. There’s truly something for everyone.
This is just a glimpse of the many fabulous restaurants in the area. Alas, I only had time to try six of them.
My recent visit to Walla Walla was a press trip and I was hosted for meals at these restaurants. However, all opinions are my own.
1. The Restaurant At Eritage Resort
I love watching the kitchen action, so I dined at the Restaurant at Eritage Resort at the chef’s bar where there are a few seats available. The restaurant also has a lovely al fresco area overlooking Lake Sienna to enjoy the sunset with your meal. The team is led by Executive Chef Arturo Tello, Jr. — a Walla Walla native. Tello is committed to utilizing the freshest, locally sourced ingredients from a variety of farmers and food artisans from around the valley. Inspirations include his Latin ancestry and open-fire cooking techniques. From vibrant vegetables to succulent meats, the menu reflects the seasons. Farm-to-table practices support the local community and sustainable agricultural practices.
This trending starter is the darling of Pinterest. Rich butter is slathered onto a board then drizzled with honey, topped with roasted nuts and cheese, dribbled with a thick balsamic reduction, and served with toasted baguette slices.
Jidori Fried Chicken
Whipped Yukon potatoes, cucumber, blistered tomato confit, and chives are topped with a seasoned fried chicken breast. I loved this dish. The flavors melded perfectly and the vegetables were a nice contrast to the fried chicken.
2. Waterbrook Tasting Room And Restaurant
Wine flights elevate your meal at the Waterbrook Tasting Room and Restaurant, which marries the art of winemaking with exquisite cuisine. Pick your flight and then pair it with the delectable options from the menu. Chef de Cuisine Alex Leeper has a bounty of fresh, seasonal ingredients from the Waterbrook garden or local farms to choose from. Set against a backdrop of lush vineyards and rolling hills, Waterbrook has beautiful outdoor seating under a shaded patio. Or you can venture out onto the grounds for little nooks with seating and picnic tables.
The Chef’s Board features three meats and two cheeses served with crispy French bread and accouterments. This was a very nice board with very generous portions. I like that it is the chef’s choice and changes with what is available. I paired it with a mixed flight, which was four 3-ounce pours.
The yummy, sweet onion and honey mustard cheese curds are served with an adobo aioli. Cheese is often paired with wine. The hot, melty curds were a nice change of pace having a hot versus cold cheese. If you love sauces, order the Sauce Flight, which is four house-made sauces perfect for dipping.
3. Locally Nourished
Just a short distance from Walla Walla is Locally Nourished, a beloved community hangout in Dayton, Washington. Owned by Boe Stevenson and Alicia Walker, this is a special place with truly nourishing food. Everything is scratch-made including the wholesome hoagie roll used for all the sandwiches on the menu. Locally Nourished dishes up breakfast and lunch with locally sourced ingredients from nearby farms. Dayton’s Rey’s Roast is the coffee. There are lots of comfy couches and chairs to hang out and plenty of tables to enjoy a meal. The building was once an antique mall and there are little kiosks around the outside of the building with artisan products. Stevenson is a talented graphic designer and offers items for sale as well.
The menu changes based on what is available. Sandwiches are available on homemade hoagie buns or as a wrap. Both veggie and meat selections are available, anything from Korean barbecue pork to a foraged mushroom trio. It comes with a side of fruit, salad, or soup. During my visit, a beautiful ginger carrot salad was my choice. It was crisp, fresh, and flavorful without swimming in dressing.
Wow! This was one good soup. Served as a meal or a side, it was delicious. The hominy was perfectly cooked, soft but not mushy. Experience tender morsels of pork and a broth that tasted as if it had simmered all day. Soup choices vary each day but they’re all lovingly prepared and slow-simmered.
Pro Tip: Get some pastries or cookies to go if any are left. They sell out most days due to their yumminess.
4. Brasserie Four
Serving up classic French dishes, Brasserie Four is a delight. High ceilings and local art create a beautiful ambiance. The expertly prepared dishes are enhanced with a wide variety of fine wine, craft beers, cocktails, and locally roasted coffee. I started off with a French 75, a refreshing mixture of gin, lemon, and sparkling wine — the perfect cocktail on a hot day. The menu offers a nice variety and many items are perfect for sharing, which is what I opted to do with my guest. We ordered a selection to share and enjoyed everything we tried, but these two really stood out.
Yes, the house French fries served with mayonnaise made my list. They were perfectly prepared, crisp, and not greasy at all. Seasoned with a hint of salt and some other herbs, the fries were served golden brown with a crispy exterior that gave way to a fluffy, flavorful interior. Simple perfection!
Fresh Tomato Salad
This dish was the special on the night I dined here. It was so simple yet so amazingly delicious. A variety of local heirloom tomatoes were dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar then garnished with fresh basil and shaved parmesan. A visual delight that tasted as good as it looked, there is just something about a local tomato that is so flavorful.
5. Yellowhawk Resort And Sparkling House
The Yellowhawk Resort and Sparkling House offers a tasting room menu with shareable farm-inspired dishes that complement the sparkling wines it is known for. Dining is available in the tasting room or out on the patio with views of the vineyard. The menu is simple with creative takes on classic options. Everything was so tasty, but then again, everything tastes better with bubbles.
Sweet Onion Dip
This was such an interesting dish. It arrived at the table with the chicharrons hot and still crackling. The cold caramelized sweet onions and cream cheese dip was the perfect foil for the chicharrons. It was a unique change from the usual potato chip. I will say the dish is very beige and not visually appealing, but the taste more than made up for it.
The Yellowhawk Burger is more than enough to share. The potato bun was dressed with a garlic serrano aioli, tomatoes, onion, and farm greens. The high-quality beef patty, bacon, and cheddar definitely elevated this lowly dish to something worthy of being paired with a sparkling wine.
Pro Tip: Call ahead to schedule a disgorging of a bottle of sparkling wine. This is the process that removes impurities from the bottle and is a lot of fun. Take home whatever you manage to have left in your bottle.
6. Showroom On Colville
The Showroom on Colville is a foodie lover’s heaven. Built in the 1930s as an automobile showroom, it has been lovingly restored and reimagined as a local meeting place. Enjoy the shopping, tasting rooms, and food at this unique destination. Food lovers will enjoy TMACs Restaurant and Epicurean Kitchen. Dine in or shop for gourmet treats and kitchen goods. They also provide food boards for some of the tasting rooms. Marguerite is the newest shop and it’s filled with French and Italian foods, cookbooks, and other culinary needs. The wall of pasta is a wonder to behold.
Pro Tip: In the alley behind the showroom are steps leading to an unmarked door. I like to describe it as a speakeasy for foodies. Foodscape has a mission to foster cultural associations and community connection through honoring the food of the valley from its production through consumption phases. I promised the owner I wouldn’t show photos so as not to ruin the surprise of discovering this unique place. It is amazing and worth a stop.