Searching for lunch in Newport is not easy. Wharfy places are packed with tourists and screaming meemies. Other restaurants are boring chains or overly ambitious. So we relied on the hubby's (20-year memory) of an "eclectic" bookstore and cafe. Score!
If you wander through this rather rambling building, watch out. No floor is level. Steps are creaky and tilted. But it is a REAL bookstore with knowledgeable staff. They have survived the e-book crisis by increasing their tchotchke stock and making one side a "club" with dinner and music on Friday nights. I'd go. It's funky and fun.
Wend your way to the left from the entrance of the bookstore, past the restrooms, up a ramp and past the (again) funky bar area and turn left into what feels like the back entrance to the cafe by the kitchen. Don't be scared. It doesn't smell like the back of the kitchen.
Other reviews note a lack of speed and/or competency in service. We had a great experience. Attentive service without hovering, friendly wait staff without being overly chatty. Food was unambitious, but extremely fresh and well-prepared.
We started with the Oregon bay shrimp cocktail. A veritable plethora of shrimp was tossed with a minimum of chopped celery and piled high on top of acceptably piquant cocktail sauce. Truly, a bargain at $7. I had fish 'n chips: fish was shockingly lightly battered and perfectly cooked, fries were only adequate. Everything was underseasoned, but lemon wedges, salt, malt vinegar and a very good tartar sauce helped. The hubby had a HUGE Greek salad (note to self: if you order something with fresh tomatoes in the depths of winter, you deserve what you get) with so much feta he couldn't eat it all, perfectly dressed. We should have had the clam chowder and/or the onion soup, as I read they are both delicious.
Definitely worth another trip, at least for the soups.
Do NOT miss the chance to prowl through the book store.
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