Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Holiday highlights: Brookings, OR

Wispy clouds

After spending a few days in Ashland, we headed off to the Oregon Caves and Redwood National Park (more on those later), and stopped for the night in Brookings, OR. This is a cute little coastal town just north of the California border on highway 101. The weather is so good here that the area has been dubbed the Banana Belt. Brookings even has an eponymous weather effect.

We stayed in a great B&B, the South Coast Inn. We stayed in the Sea View apartment, which was totally private and really comfy - it included a kitchen and small lounge leading onto a great balcony with view of the bay. We didn't use the kitchen this time, but if you want a place with the option of cooking in, I recommend this place. The hosts were really friendly too, which is good!

Beach outside Brookings

A lowlight of our stay was dinner at the local Italian restaurant, Bella Italia. Our hosts at the B&B recommended it, but the food was very disappointing, and the staff seemed to not care much about us. We had heard from our B&B hosts that the owners of Bella Italia had just opened a new steak/seafood restaurant in town, so I thought that perhaps they were stretched too thin, and their old place had slid... Now with some Googling, I see Bella Italia is for sale, so perhaps that explains things :)

After dinner, we headed out to a nearby beach park to watch the sun set. As you can see from the pics, the light and sky were amazing, and we also got to enjoy some weird jumpy shrimp pinging across our feet!

Jumpy shrimp

We definitely need to come back again!


Anonymous said...

Hey there,

I happened to be wandering around on the internet and came by this site. I read through your comments, including your view on the restaurant Bella Italia. I am from Portland and have family in Brookings, so we travel quite frequently. However, our view on Bella is significantly different. We have attended the restaurant on countless occasions and the food was wonderful! Our service was outstanding, they were more than satisfactory. It was a very busy evening and the staff was stretched a bit running around. But what are you to do when you're busy eh? So we had a little wait for our food but I'll tell you it's well worth the wait. Bella Italia is by far the best restaurant within miles of the area. Perhaps you happened to have come on a bad night, whatever the reason is that you seem to have this faulty opinion you should try again next time you travel the coast.


ps. I have it on VERY good authority that Bella is not being sold due to their being "stretched thin" through the opening of their second restaurant (which is also very good) but they sold it. The owners are just ready to move on.

Mark said...

Thanks for the comment Hannah!
I know restaurants sometimes have off nights, but there several things that went badly when we ate at Bella Italia that indicated this was not a "passing thing".

I might be inclined to try them again when I next visit Brookings, but only if there is nowhere else that looks appealing. I think this is an important lesson for restaurants to learn - sometimes they only get one shot and a bad first impression might mean they lose a customer forever.