Brunch at Friday Harbor House, San Juan Island

I love brunch. I like the rare chance to sleep in, ease into the day with coffee and the paper, and then jump headlong into things with a late morning cocktail and meal. Brunch at Friday Harbor House was a wonderful way to complete an enjoyable weekend on San Juan Island.

Location: Friday Harbor House (the restaurant) is located at the Friday Harbor House (hotel), 130 West St, Friday Harbor, on Washington State’s San Juan Island. The restaurant is a part of the hotel of the same name.

Menu: The menu changes frequently as Executive Chef Jason Aldous includes seasonal ingredients in his creative repertoire. You’ll find the traditional brunch items like bacon and eggs and Eggs Benedict, but you’ll also find unexpected items like Bibimbap (Korean fried rice, slow-cooked egg, sliced beef, house kimchi), Breakfast Poutine (fries, duck confit, cheese curd, slow-cooked egg, brown butter hollandaise), and Chilaquiles.

An assortment of sides, juices, specialty drinks, and brunch cocktails complete the menu.

Thoughts: Brunch is one of those confusing meals. Done right, it’s a special meal unto itself, with its own menu of food and drink. Done poorly, it’s just a lazy person’s late breakfast. Friday Harbor House gets it right – and serves brunch daily, so it doesn’t have to be just a weekend event.

We started our brunch off with cocktails – a Bloody Mary and a Smoked Bourbon Coffee. The Bloody Mary uses a house-made mix that is nicely spicy without being overpowering. The Smoked Bourbon Coffee is quite mellow and soothing, without any of the sharp edges that often accompany bourbon. We sipped and chatted while enjoying the panoramic views of San Juan Channel and the ferry landing and marina, along with browsing the menu.

Tony opted for traditional sausage and eggs, boring in my book, but he said they were correctly prepared and delicious. Apparently, eggs over easy are much more difficult than I realized. I had Chilaquiles, a delicious melange of tortilla chips, eggs, cheese, and a slightly spicy sauce. This version was served over roasted Yukon Gold potatoes.

Service was gracious, yet casual and paced on our own terms. Our waiter knew that we were in no hurry, preferring to linger and enjoy the morning. He took his cue from us and created a nice pace for our meal.

A new patio and deck were under construction during our visit. It’s nearing completion and this will require a short closure of the restaurant. It’s set to re-open any day now and will increase seating capacity during the nice weather.

While for us, brunch at Friday Harbor House was part of a getaway weekend to San Juan Island, many of the guests on our visit were locals. It’s also an easy day trip from Anacortes, you can catch an early ferry, enjoy brunch, then spend the day exploring Friday Harbor before heading back to the mainland.

Price range: Entrees run $11-16, with steel cut oatmeal at the low end and the brunch burger and the high end; sides are $2-4. Specialty cocktails are $7-10.

Disclosure: A portion of the brunch was complimentary to the author to facilitate this review.

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Mary Jo Manzanares

Traveler, travel blogger, podcaster at Leeward Media
Mary Jo Manzanares is a traveler, travel blogger, and podcaster. In addition to her blog, Traveling with MJ, she hosts the Where Else to Go podcast,  is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, and is on a wine quest at Seattle Bits and Bites. Her travel ethos is value luxury - luxury for real people - and her goal is to help travelers know when to splurge and when to save. Mary Jo has been a speaker at various industry events around the world.

When she’s not traveling, Mary Jo lives in Seattle where she enjoys lingering over a cup of coffee, wandering in a museum, sipping wine at a cafe, and sharing it all with friends and readers. Her most recent travels were to Israel, a Baltic cruise, and Universal Orlando Resort.
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