Nestled in the foothills of Oregon’s Cascade and Siskiyou Mountains, Ashland was recently named one of Fodor’s best small towns in America. Small it may be, but there are many gems just waiting to be discovered in Ashland, including delicious culinary experiences showcasing the amazing bounty of Oregon. From fine dining to local eats, here is a look at some of the best cuisines in the charming town of Ashland.
Located in the heart of downtown, Amuse is an elegant restaurant serving Northwest and French cuisine. Established by Erik Brown and Jamie North, this stylish venue features delectable fare made with the best organic and seasonal ingredients available. Mouth watering dishes diners can expect from the menu include pickled local eggplant with grilled zucchini, roasted beech mushroom, and miso soup and the truffle roasted game hen served with roasted fingerling potatoes, Italian kale, truffle butter, and hen jus. Wines from Oregon and California plus tempting desserts are also offered. Serving lunch and dinner, their hours of operation vary from season to season and reservations are recommended.
Morning Glory Restaurant is a popular café specialising in breakfast and lunch fare. Located in a renovated 1929 house, this restaurant is loved by locals and tourists alike. In a colourful and lively atmosphere, you can dine on tasty dishes, such as an Alaskan red crab omelette with artichokes, parmesan, scallions, and smoked garlic cream; a bacon Belgian waffle served with lemon butter; and grilled tomato, basil, and fontina on rustic sourdough bread. With several vegetarian options plus delicious drinks, this delightful spot is sure to please anyone.
The Historic Pinehurst Inn at Jenny Creek was initially built as a ‘motorised stop’ for travellers; today it is a bed and breakfast establishment owned by Donnie and Denise Rowlett. Part of the inn, The Open Range Dinner House is a restaurant serving dinner to guests of the inn and anyone else who would like to visit. Located approximately 45 minutes outside of Ashland in the beautiful Cascade Mountains, the restaurant features an American menu, which changes each week. Mouth-watering slow-roasted prime rib, organic spinach and cheese ravioli, and English muffin custard are often featured on the menu. Hours of operation vary during different times of the year, and reservations are highly recommended, as quantities are limited.
The brainchild of Chef Chandra Corwin and Melissa McMillan, Sammich is a restaurant specialising in Chicago and Italian-style sandwiches. Not like the regular sandwiches often found at chain restaurants, these delicious sandwiches are made with the freshest local and organic ingredients available and everything is made from scratch either in house or at other local businesses. Enticing options from the menu include the pastrami served on rye bread with Swiss cheese, slaw, and a choice of mustard or Russian dressing, and the melanzane wrap with oven-roasted eggplant, red peppers, onion, arugula, and feta basil garlic spread. With daily specials and gluten-free options, there is something to delight everyone’s palate.
Tot Restaurant, Ashland | Courtesy of Tot Restaurant
Located in downtown, Tot is a delicious casual restaurant serving Southeast Asian BBQ. Inspired by Vietnamese and Thai street food, Chef Andrew Will opened this restaurant with Sean Simpson in 2012. In the modern interior designed with reclaimed materials, diners can enjoy food made from scratch with local and organic ingredients when possible. Highlights include the BBQ tri-tip with tamarind BBQ sauce, rice, and pickled vegetables; the bàhn mísandwich with sliced pork; and the summer chowder made with summer vegetables, coconut milk, and Thai basil. They also offer vegetarian options and many gluten-free choices, which will appeal to many tastes.
For 22 years patrons have been frequenting Wiley’s World Pasta Shoppe & Eatery for delicious homemade pasta and ravioli dishes. Only the best ingredients go into their food, including NW organic wheat for the pasta and organic vegetables, which are locally sourced. In a cosy and friendly atmosphere, pasta lovers can dine on dishes, such as basil walnut pesto on a choice of noodles; vegan pasta with organic vegetables, roasted olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic over eggless pasta; and smoked salmon ravioli topped with basil cream sauce. Daily specials are also available along with homemade organic Italian bread and numerous local wines and beers.
Inspired by the bounty of Oregon, Larks Home Kitchen Cuisine, part of the Ashland Springs Hotel, creates delicious fare that features the products of this Pacific Northwest state. Using only the freshest locally sourced ingredients, Chef Damon Jones delights guests with his inventive seasonal cuisine. Open for lunch and dinner daily plus a weekend brunch, diners can feast upon succulent meats, fresh seafood and fish, plus refreshing vegetarian options in a relaxing environment. Dinner highlights include meatloaf with summer pepper ketchup, buttermilk mashed potatoes, and sautéed squash and eggplant stuffed with fennel aioli, feta, wild mushrooms, peppers, onions, potatoes, and lentils. As with the menus, the handcrafted cocktails infused with herbs are seasonal as well, including the innovative rosemary-kumquat margarita.
Agave is a small affordable eatery that specialises in creative spins on Mexican cuisine. Diners can choose amongst a variety of gourmet tacos and tamales. With everything made from scratch, including the tortillas, both meat lovers and vegans will be pleased with the selection of delicious food offered. A typical meal may start off with freshly made chips and salsa or guacamole followed by lobster tacos or a vegan tamale made with winter squash and portobello mushrooms. Salads and soups, including a vegetarian pozole, are also offered plus tantalising desserts, such as the pineapple and currant sweet tamale topped with Mexican crema.
Martolli‘s is a lively pizza joint with two locations in Ashland. Opened by two friends, this restaurant offers a selection of traditional and creative hand-tossed pizzas plus sandwiches and salads. All sauces, salad dressings, and dough are made from scratch, and cheese is grated daily, plus locally sourced organic ingredients are used when available thus resulting in some of the freshest tasting pizza around. One option is the vegetarian Othello with tomato sauce, spinach, mozzarella, wild mushrooms, roasted bell peppers, roasted garlic, and chevre cheese. With many other vegetarian and meat-lover options plus an available gluten-free crust, these are pizzas anyone can savour.
Featuring the award winning ales and lagers of Caldera Brewing Company, Caldera Tap House is a friendly place downtown serving great beers and good food. Beer lovers can order sample trays of various beers or a pint, or they may even bring in their own jar and pay by the ounce. American bar fare made with the best quality ingredients, which includes organic when possible, is featured on the menu; tasty choices include Cajun tater tots, a blue cheese burger, and the stinky hippy sandwich, which is made up of grilled zucchini, caramelised onions, Tillamook cheddar and roasted garlic on sourdough. Having the largest outdoor space in Ashland plus live music, it’s a great place for fun gatherings.