While touring La Conner Country Inn, I had the pleasure of meeting the owners of The Oyster & Thistle Restaurant & Pub – Thomas and Danielle Palmer. As we talked, I discovered the pair had been a dynamic restaurateur duo in the Skagit Valley for over twenty years. Some of the names of their previous restaurants might be familiar, like Palmer’s Restaurant and Bar in Mount Vernon, Plamer’s on the Waterfront in La Conner and The Oyster Creek Inn on Chuckanut Drive. In May 2014, they opened The Oyster & Thistle Restaurant and Pub, and their approach combines regional and scratch ingredients with a classical style.
Tip: Guests of La Conner Channel Lodge and La Conner Country Inn can order off a special Oyster & Thistle room service menu.
The Oyster & Thistle Restaurant & Pub
From the outside, the restaurant looks like a traditional shake shingled Pacific Northwest house with the distinctive arrangement of U.S., Canadian and French flags. The inside offers two different dining experiences. An English style pub on the first floor and a more formal dining room on the second floor. After seeing the restaurant and talking to its owners, I decided to wrap up my La Conner trip with a dinner at The Oyster & Thistle Restaurant & Pub.
They serve lunch, dinner and pub fare. Their menu consists of a range of creations like escargot, clams and a wide selection of oysters, as well as salads, flatbread, housemade pasta, an array of seafood like scallops and prawns, and duck, filets, and pork shank. They also have local beers, cocktails and an extensive wine list with many from Washington, Oregon, and France.
The Oyster & Thistle Restaurant & Pub is a 13-minute walk from La Conner Marina’s north basin and a 5-minute walk from the south basin.
Where: 205 Washington St. La Conner, WA 98257
What: Lunch, Pub, Dinner
Hours: Seven days a week from 11:30 am to 9 p.m.
While we liked the ambiance of the second floor, we decided to dine in the pub. It’s small wood bar with a row of bar stools, cozy nooks, and tables made us feel like we’d traveled across the sea to England or Ireland. In the pub, you can order off the pub and dinner menu. For the most part, they have the same items, except the dinner menu has more choices for small plates, soups & salads, and two additional sections for meat and seafood dishes.
This is what we ordered.
The Oyster & Thistle Restaurant & Pub
Duck Confit Flat Bread
From the pub menu, we started with the Duck Confit Flat Bread ($15) which came with gorgonzola cheese, Shiitake mushrooms, house-made pickled peppers and topped with arugula. The crust was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The pickled peppers brightened the earthy duck and mushroom flavors.
After the flatbread, I wanted something lighter, so I opted for a small plate from the dinner menu. The Amaretto Prawns ($16) were almond encrusted with a cream sauce with shallots and amaretto. The dish was the perfect portion and the almond flavor amazing with the succulent shrimp.
Smoked Duck Fettuccine
My partner opted for the Smoked Duck Fettuccine ($24) on the dinner menu. It had house-made pasta with grape tomatoes, mushrooms, roasted shallots, leeks, fennel, walnuts and on the top was a thick slice of goat cheese. The dish was very light and very flavorful.
Salted Caramel Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse
For dessert, we ordered the Salted Caramel Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse ($9) and split it. I didn’t taste the salted caramel. But, the mousse was light and very chocolatey, and not too sweet or too rich. With several spoonfuls each, it was a great way to wrap up an incredible meal.
All of the dishes I would order again.
On New Year’s Eve, they open a giant bottle of champagne for their guests and everyone gets to sign it.
Lara Dunning is a member of the Waggoner Cruising Guide team and has made one trip up the Inside Passage to Ketchikan, AK. She is enthusiastic about small town living, and you can read more about her discoveries at Small Town Washington. She has been published in Bainbridge Island Magazine, Northwest Travel & Life Magazine, Wander With Wonder, and Whidbey Life Magazine.