Where to Dine in Walla Walla

 

Last winter, according to a news article in the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, five restaurants went out of business. Of these, 26 Brix was the most prominent. It's biggest problem was generating enough volume to sustain its spacious, nicely-decorated and well-staffed bar and dining areas. It is a real loss, but there are at least five other fine dining places worth eating at.

 

White House Crawford. The spacious dining area, well-prepared dishes, and the knowledgeable and attentive staff make this a memorable dining experience. The wine list is extensive and well thought out.

 

T. Macaronne's. This is one of our favorites for casual dining. Tom Macaronne offers an eclectic Italian-oriented menu. The short wine list is revised frequently and often includes new wineries, some of which I have reviewed after discovering them at T Mac's.

 

Brasserie Four. On Four East Main Street, this is a casual, kid-friendly French bistro-style restaurant that does a fine job. The wine list, unsurprisingly, offers a mix of French and American selections. Other wines by the bottle can be selected from a shelf facing the bar.

 

Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen. The name leaves no doubt as to the genre of this restaurant. It offers tasty, aromatic, well-prepared dishes. The limited, but well-selected, wine list consists of French, Italian, Spanish and American bottlings.

 

Creektown Cafe. South of downtown, this is a favorite of locals. Casual and eclectic "American," it is easy to like. Local fish and game are often offered. The wine list features local and international selections.

 

The Marc. We have not eaten at the Marc, the dining room of the Marcus Whitman Hotel, but we had a well-prepared Walla Walla Winemakers' Fete dinner in one of the banquet rooms.

 

A note about wine corkage charges. All the restaurants we have dined at allow guests to bring their own bottles provided they are not already on their wine lists. However, most do offer reasonably-priced wines by the glass or bottle. Corkages are generally $15-20, so my suggestion is to order a moderately-priced ($25-40) from the list. If you have that special bottle you want to bring, then by all means do so.

 

Wine Buy of the Week

 

In the next issue of the Review of Washington Wines, I will be reporting on "What's New in Woodinville." One of the wines that will be included is the one below. We've served it several times and it has turned out to be a real crowd pleaser. For under $20, it's a fine value, too.

 

2008 William Church Viognier, Columbia Valley ($18)

From the Connor Lee vineyard, this textbook Viognier offers a lovely nose of white peach, and South Pacific flowers. The stone fruits echo on the palate with a pleasing creaminess and the lush semi-tropical flavors glide effortlessly into a grapefruit and pineapple tinged finish along with a twist of orange peel. 18.5/20 points.