Somewhat unsurprisingly—island time, as it were—many Friday Harbor restaurants don’t open until 11 a.m. Fret not, dear reader! We’ve broken this article into sections intended to lead you down the path of easy eating: dine-in, coffee shop, grab-and-go, drive-thru, and a bonus section we threw in because we were having so much fun thinking about breakfast foods. Bookmark this page and slot them all in as it makes sense for your San Juan Island outings.
Best Dine-In Breakfasts in Friday Harbor
Whether it’s your first visit or your fiftieth, giving yourself permission to sit down in a place where salt water smells waft in and out of the room is a gift while on San Juan Island. The Restaurant at Friday Harbor House allows you to start your day with a morning coffee or cocktail while enjoying panoramic views of the Salish Sea. They also offer hearty staples like benedicts and avocado toast.
If you’re looking for something a little more casual and frequented by locals—think a place the late Anthony Bourdain would have visited on a San Juan Island episode of No Reservations—head to Tinas’ Place. Choose from tortillas loaded with bacon and hashbrowns or pancake stacks not housed in tortillas. On Sundays, breakfast is served all day!
Cynthia’s Bistro is the perfect in-between fancy and super-casual. It has a full espresso bar; fresh, local food and drinks; and is housed close to the ferry landing in a renovated 1920s home. Enjoy a mimosa with Swedish pancakes. Sip a cappuccino while you plan your adventures. Sunday brunch is offered all day.
At Rocky Bay Cafe, you’ll come for the breakfast fare that starts at 7 a.m. and you’ll stay for the fast, friendly service and large portions. While the restaurant now specializes in American breakfasts, it started as a donut shop and still makes fresh donuts daily.
Best Coffee Shop Breakfasts in Friday Harbor
Espresso and a pastry more your speed? Need something quickly while you nervously pace prior to boarding the ferry? We’ve been there. Riptide Cafe is a wonderful boon for the anxiety-ridden among us. With its soothing water views right by the ferry, the only waterfront cafe in Friday Harbor also offers fresh-baked pastries and smoothies. This is where you’ll want to go right before embarking on a wildlife tour or upon return to refuel.
Salty Fox Coffee, perched right above the ferry landing in a historic home lush with flower boxes and a walk-up window, is staffed by coffee lovers who understand the lives and needs of ferry commuters. Looking for an acai bowl with an optional side of bacon? No judgment here!
Get your organic, fair trade lavender latte with a warm slice of broccoli quiche at The Bean Cafe on 1st. They have a large pastry case, ample seating, the ferry comings-and-goings on a mounted TV, and ample windows.
Best Grab-And-Go Breakfasts in Friday Harbor
Okay, so what’s in between coffee shop and drive thru? Grab-and-go! Bakery San Juan, right by the Friday Harbor Airport, offers a wide array of pastries, breads, pizzas, pies, and cakes. Come in for a drip and a croissant, take it to the deck, and watch the planes come and go. You will not be disappointed with any of it. And, since you’ll probably be enjoying yourself so much, you might as well stay for lunch and try one of their sourdough pizzas, salads, or sandwiches with a cookie for dessert.
Don’t underestimate the to-go options at King’s Market, a San Juan Islands staple since 1929. Fresh, local, and gourmet foods to go are right at your fingertips here, along with an array of artisanal drinks and sides.
If you’re a later riser (hey, we get our extra zzzs on vacation, too), pop into The Market Chef for a curated selection of gourmet eats, drinks, and delights. Try one of their sandwiches or salads, or grab what calls to you from the shelves. Don’t forget to ask them about their daily special, too.
Best Drive-Thru Breakfast in Friday Harbor
If your planned activities or imminent departure have you in a hurry, get in the vehicle line at Friday Harbor Espresso. From a fresh-made “Farmer’s Sandwich” (meat, egg, and cheese on an English muffin with black pepper) to fun daily specials and lots of drink options, this quick stop is sure to provide ample sustenance.
BONUS: Best Breakfasts Beyond Friday Harbor
We couldn’t send you off to explore the breakfast scene on San Juan Island without mentioning one spot a little off the beaten path, especially if you’re planning to explore the whole island. Lime Kiln Cafe, in Roche Harbor, makes fresh donuts daily.
Eat your fill of a classic breakfast, add a donut to-go, stroll the docks, mosey to the Sculpture Park, or play some bocce. Whatever you end up doing with your day, one thing is for sure: You’ll hear nary a tummy grumble or an “I’m hungry!” gripe.
So, which breakfast stop will you make first?
Thanks to Lisette Wolter-McKinley for the top photo.