The opening of the small cedar box that had been used, with small pebbles at the bottom, to steam and smoke a plumb Pacific Mussel was just perfect! When you drive up and see the smoke house and the open fire one knows Willows Inn is serious about cooking. There were so many little tastings that we almost couldn't keep track. And there was enough of each tasting to really taste. The small phyllo pillow filled with salmon roe melted in your mouth - no wonder the bears seek the roe in the salmon as they go upstream to spawn this time of year. One thing we were really pleased was how quiet the restaurant was even with the number of tables. The servers kept coming out of nowhere and you knew they all had been trained properly and delighted with each presentation. We love good wine but we aren't wine experts and the sampling from the recommended flights to the bottle were all excellent. We stayed at the Inn and thankfully they took pets because we were driving down to California from our second home in Canada and we had a dog and cat. The Inn even found a "child minder" to sit with them while we dined. With a beautiful sunny evening the animals got an evening on the beach before dark set in. I can't imagine getting into the restaurant without a reservation. We were there late enough in the year but still planned 3 weeks in advance and it was a Thursday night, not a weekend. None of the courses disappointed from the halibut skin to the duck. I just wish we could easily go back for another round.
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