New restaurants and a food-cart pod on the Central Coast create a buzz.

When visitors and residents aren’t hunting for locally crafted glass floats in Lincoln City, they’re feasting on local seafood, enjoying scenic brunches and trying diverse cuisines from adventurous newcomers — including global offerings in a new food-cart pod. Check out these options for this coastal dining destination.

Fresh and Tasty Restaurant Newcomers

During the pandemic, the entrepreneurial spirit of young restaurateurs rose in Lincoln City. Prioritizing fresh and local sourcing, vegan and gluten-free options, and ethnic diversity in cuisine, several new spots complement the classic dining options in town. 

Bargain hunters at the Lincoln City Outlets can take a break at Salt, a trendy yet cozy cafe for craft coffee, wine, cocktails, and fast-casual brunch that also sells thoughtfully curated clothing and gifts. 

Zest Creperie & Boutique provides a similar outlet for retail therapy, filling its shelves with local artwork for sale. Up the street from the outlets, vegetarians will find refuge in Zest’s expansive menu of plant-based, sweet and savory crepes, while those who are craving heartier breakfast meats will devour smoked salmon, bacon, and sausage options tucked into the classic thin pancakes. 

Farther down 101, 88 Grains Asian Fusion Bar satisfies Asian-food cravings from Thai to Japanese with plates of hibachi-grilled meats and curries, along with its extensive sake and soju selections. 

New Food-Cart Pod on Historic Grounds

Diners in Lincoln City can dine globally at the largest of the Oregon Coast’s few food-cart pods at The Pines Dine, a food court bringing new life to the historic Pines property in the Historic Taft District. This space has been through it all — from the city’s first-ever upscale resort to  iconic restaurant — and has now been reimagined as a destination for bubble tea, vegan bites, gyros and more as occupants move in. Of the 12 trucks to join the pod, some exciting choices include Puerto Rican soul food at La Wawa; Stoopid Veganz, which crafts extravagant plant-based wraps; and Mo:Mo on the Wheels, bringing a taste of Nepal with their classic momo dumplings. 

Tried & True Classics Prevail

Amid the new options, diners in Lincoln City still love the classic restaurants that make the city a prime location for freshly caught seafood and scenic shoreside meals. 

Brunch enthusiasts will appreciate the crab cake benedict and seafood omelets from Wildflower Grill just off Highway 101, along with the bread that’s baked daily in-house. Also off Highway 101, Blackfish Cafe — a cute little storefront perched on a hill with an eclectic wine list — has dished up fresh fish like local rockfish and troll-caught Chinook salmon for well over 20 years. 

In the Historic Taft District lies another classic spot, Shuckers Oyster Bar, specializing in perfectly shucked oysters. Try them raw, pan-fried or spiced “Buffalo style” — or just opt for burgers with beef sourced from the owners’ family farm. And beloved since 1972 for its nostalgic maritime decor and horseshoe-style bar, Pier 101 is a go-to for old-school fish and chips.

Residents of Lincoln City may recall rainy days bowling at the alley now called Olde Line Lanes & Kitchen, a cornerstone of Lincoln City since the late 1930s. Owned by the same couple who are known for comfort food at the former Hearth & Table, the restaurant and catering outfit now operates inside Olde Line, serving takeaway wood-fired pizzas and spicy Nashville hot chicken, along with small-batch cakes, pies and cookies. 

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Chinook’s Lounge and Seafood Grill

Meals With a View

For some of the best views in town, locals recommend Kyllo’s, perched on an elevated platform right on the ocean, serving up seafood platters and wood-fired pizza with craft cocktails at the full bar. Farther north, you’ll find the Chinook Winds Casino Resort, where your gaming and dining dollars have helped the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians donate more than $3 million to community projects. Among several options at the casino, the casual Chinook’s Lounge and Seafood Grill offers unobstructed ground-level views of crashing waves, and the top-floor Rogue River Steakhouse is a great place to watch the sunset as you dine on panko-crusted razor clams or an elk burger. 

Outdoors DIY Dining

And if you’ve decided you’d like to cook your own locally caught seafood, Lincoln City has you covered there as well. Since 1949 Barnacle Bill’s Seafood Market has brought fresh fish and shellfish to your plate from their spotless white and red open-air shop on Highway 101. 

Siletz Bay provides bountiful family-friendly opportunities to trap your own Dungeness crabs and clams, including varnish clams with bright-violet interiors. Purchase your shellfish harvesting license from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and head out at low tide.

Learn how to crab for free with expert Cameron Rauenhorst of Captain Clameron’s Excursions in one of Lincoln City’s crabbing exploriences, with introductory workshops from April until September. (No reservations are necessary, but you’ll need to buy a license and your own gear.) 

By Katrina Yentch