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Restaurants & Bars

Bellingham, WA: Pacific Cafe

Hamster | Feb 25, 200511:41 PM

Bellingham’s my local area, but I don’t see many reviews, so as occasion arises a few will get added.

The Pacific Café in downtown Bellingham has a good reputation for a nice place to go for a special occasion. The latest experience there was solidly good but did not break into the very good category. For the experience, setting, and service the bill was a little on the high side. Depending upon personal taste and meal objectives you might do better elsewhere.

Now the details:

Pacific Café has a good reputation with the local’s I’d discussed it with. So finally, a delayed valentines day dinner was scheduled there.

Dinner was on a Wednesday night fairly early at 6:30 PM. The restaurant interior was OK with reasonable fittings and setup. It fits into what I’d call mid-range nice. Far better than a chain but with nothing exceptional.

Service was prompt, professional, and very good. Dirty silverware whisked away automatically: no asking if you’d like to keep it for the next course.

Overall the ingredients were high quality and well prepared but the appetizers in particular lacked any imagination. For this price in this area, they need to do better. The wine list had lots of local stuff and some good buys but seemed expensive overall. More of a list for show rather than what people really are prepared to drink.

Appetizers included crab cakes, fine but very conventional and another one that doesn’t even make enough of an impression to get remembered 10 days latter.

Main courses were duck and calamari in a tomato based sauce. The duck was cooked very well and with an excellent selection of vegetables. The calamari in sauce was very good verging on excellent. Cooked precisely, well seasoned and spiced, and balanced very well with the sauce.

Desert was a fairly conventional selection, well made and presented.

Overall the complaint here was excellent ingredients plus good service and technical preparation skill undermined by lack of verve and imagination in the cooking. For this kind of bill here better is expected and better values are available.

The total bill was a little high for the meal, location, and service: around $115 (including tip) for two.

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