As the capital of Washington, Olympia is a beautiful city with a growing culinary scene. Like other Pacific Northwest communities, this area has an abundance of fresh ingredients, which talented chefs put to fantastic use. From Latin and Asian dishes to French cuisine, we put together a list of some of the delectable finds in Olympia.
Arepa Latin Street Food has earned quite the following due to the delicious Venezuela-inspired fare they serve seven days a week. A food truck located downtown, Arepa offers a menu featuring a variety of its namesake arepas (patties made from ground corn cooked in various ways and stuffed with deliciousness). Notable highlights include the reina arepa stuffed with avocado chicken salad; the vegetariano patacon (deep-fried green plantains topped with black beans, cabbage, avocado, tomatoes, aged cheese and pink sauce) and steak served with chimichurri sauce and seasoned fries.
Basilico Ristorante is a downtown fine-dining establishment specializing in authentic Italian cuisine. Featuring dishes from the Emilia-Romagna and Liguria regions, the restaurant’s culinary team procures the best ingredients available, including imported Italian flour for the hand-made and hand-cut fresh pasta. Within a cozy and elegant environment, discerning diners can feast upon a host of delectable dishes from appetizers and pasta to entrées, plus many vegetarian and gluten-free options. Notable plates include hand-made lamb ravioli with a garlic and herb tomato sauce and bison short ribs braised in red wine with garlic and herbs accompanied by a potato and grilled peppers. An impressive wine list of the Italian variety is also available at this friendly restaurant.
The Bread Peddler is an artisan bakery and cafe serving breakfast and lunch seven days a week. Located downtown, everything is made-from-scratch using the best ingredients available, including organics, premium butter and produce sourced from local purveyors. From the bakery, guests have a delightful assortment of croissants, scones, cookies, cakes, and tarts plus a host of breads. As for the cafe, the menu offers many enticing options with highlights including eggs Benedict with tomato and spinach atop challah bread with poached eggs and hollandaise; or the croque forestiere, potato bread layered with a flavorful combination of chèvre, caramelized onions and mushrooms topped with Mornay sauce and cheese.
Located on the boardwalk in downtown, Dockside Bistro is a lunch and dinner restaurant featuring Northwest fusion cuisine with European and Southeast Asian influences. Owned by Executive Chef Laurie Nguyen, the creative dishes are made with the freshest locally sourced ingredients possible, including all-natural beef and sustainable seafood. Guests can savor succulent highlights, such as seared sea scallops served with a potato cake, watercress and saffron cream; five spice crispy duck breast accompanied by a sticky rice cake, seasonal greens, and honey-bacon soy; and butternut squash ravioli in sage brown butter and topped with candied pecans and Gorgonzola. With a lovely ambiance, it is a great spot for a night out with friends or a romantic meal.
Fish Tale Brew Pub is the oldest brewpub in Olympia. A full-service restaurant that offers Northwest cuisine, they also have 14 taps that feature Fish Tale Organic Ales, Leavenworth Biers and Spire Mountain Ciders, all of which complement the delicious fare. Using quality ingredients sourced from local purveyors, dishes sure to entice guests include oyster shooters served with cocktail sauce; fish and chips (cod fish fried in a Leavenworth Pilsner batter served with fries) and the brewer’s 8 oz grilled sirloin served with pub fries and seasonal vegetables. The menu also includes many vegetarian and gluten-free dishes making this casual pub a great place for everybody.
Gardner’s Restaurant is a family-owned restaurant open Tuesday to Saturday for dinner. Nestled inside a cozy historic building complete with hardwood floors, exposed beams and a beautiful stained glass window, the restaurant also features candlelit tables adding to an already enchanting ambiance. Focusing on locally sourced and seasonal ingredients, the culinary team, headed by Executive Chef Leon Longan, creates delectable dishes, including seafood fettuccini with scallops, crab, shrimp, clams and mushrooms tossed in a lobster cream sauce and a 10 oz. tenderloin steak with sautéed mushrooms, onions and a Madeira wine sauce. A great selection of adult beverages, including classic and signature cocktails, wine and beer are also available.
Describing itself as ‘The Best Diner in the Galaxy’ King Solomon’s Reef is a diner and lounge popular with locals and tourists alike. Open every day from 8am and closing at 3am, early or late-risers will love this venue as it serves breakfast all day and night. Within the lively retro-inspired interior, diners can sample a host of breakfast, lunch and dinner comfort classics, including vegan options, with highlights being fresh biscuits smothered with country sausage gravy and pressure-fried chicken served with mashed potatoes, brown or sausage gravy, salad and a biscuit. Delightful desserts, including pies and milkshakes, are also offered for those seeking to satisfy their sweet tooth.
Owned by Chef Justin Wells and his wife, Zoe, La Petite Maison gives guests a taste of France in the capital of Washington. A fine-dining establishment housed in a historic 1903 home, the culinary team seeks out the finest seasonal ingredients for its exquisite cuisine and changes the menu daily to reflect those items. Some of the top picks on the menu include magret de canard (seared dry-aged Muscovy duck breast served with potato mousseline, cherries and sauce bordelaise) and châteaubriand for two, accompanied by butter poached lobster tail, sauce béarnaise, roasted fingerling potatoes and roman greens. With impeccable service and an impressive wine cellar, this place is a true gem.
Narai Asian Cuisine, named after King Narai of Thailand, specializes in authentic Thai cuisine representing all regions of the country. Owned by Chef Kunlaboot and her husband, this establishment offers a warm and inviting environment to those seeking flavorful fare. A typical meal might begin with vegetable pot stickers served with vinegar sauce, followed by roasted duck in red curry or pumpkin red curry with tofu accompanied by Siam fried rice with garlic sauce, egg, tomato, bok choy, white and green onions and broccoli. With so many enticing choices, everyone is sure to find something to satisfy their cravings.
A mobile pizza truck, Stone Creek Wood Fired Pizza serves up delicious handcrafted pizza that will satisfy even the most discerning diner. Passionate about their business, the owners use a family recipe for the dough, which takes 2-3 days to make, plus they designed and built the oven in which the pizzas bake. The menu offers pizza lovers many tasty options, or if they prefer, guests may choose to create their own pizza. Delicious combinations to try include the Italian cowboy, which contains red sauce, shredded mozzarella, bacon and BBQ sauce and the Martha topped with alfredo sauce, shredded mozzarella, garlic, mushrooms, spinach, and fresh tomato. For those with a sweet tooth, their famous wood-fired cinnamon rolls complete with cream cheese frosting are an absolute must-try. The Culture Trip showcases the best of art, food, culture and travel for every country in the world. Have a look at our Washington or North America sections to find out more or become involved.