Sharks Seafood Bar alone would be worth a trip to Newport, Oregon, even if the town has many other virtues. The interior doesn’t have a very big space, with only a few tables and a sitting bar toward the back. Their cioppino is justifiably famous, named by Sunset Magazine in 2003 as having the best version in the West. It is the best version I have ever had, bar none. It’s chockfull of fresh rockfish, Dungeness crab, and two kinds of shrimp. In season, they’ll use locally caught shrimp. The broth is thick, tomato-ey and sweet. Sharks uses an interesting contraption for making it, which uses a steaming process; you’ll have to see it for yourself, preferably by sitting at the bar and yukking it up with the chef. Don’t even think about taking a picture of it; you’ll be asked politely to point the camera away. Try to get the chef to tell you what’s in the sauce. You’ll just get a polite smile. The recipe is top secret. Luckily, anyone can order the cioppino sauce online.
A bottle of Amity Pinot Blanc (Oregon), which is on the wine menu and very reasonably priced, goes great with the stew.
Very good friends of ours also swear by the marinara linguini, which they proclaim is perhaps as good as the cioppino. Oh, and that huckleberry ice cream!
The restaurant is hard to find off the main highway (US 101). It’s located in the Bayfront area.
|Sharks Seafood Bar and Steamer Company
852 SW Bay Blvd.
Newport, Oregon 97365
One of the most spectacular areas along the Oregon Coast is the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area. It also is the highest viewpoint of the ocean accessible by car in the state. Over 2,500 acres, the highlights include a geologic blowhole (Spouting Horn), a long, narrow crack cleaved in the coastal basalt (Devil’s Churn) and a stunning headland that juts far out to sea. One of Cape Perpetua’s prized possessions is a 600-year-old giant Sitka spruce that stands over 185-ft tall and sports a 40-ft circumference at the base, designated by the state of Oregon as a “heritage tree.”
Incoming and outgoing waves can dramatically collide as they make their way through the Devil’s Churn, an elongated and narrow fissure along the basalt embankment, producing titanic plumes of water and foam.
Devil’s Churn from an overlook
We took the 1.5-mile St. Perpetua Trail over the headland, gaining 600ft in elevation to the end, where there was a magnificent view of the ocean. Along the way, we passed a beautiful forest of old growth spruce, Douglas fir and western hemlock.
Off the trail, a steep stairway provided access to the rocky shore. Scrambling over the jagged volcanic rock requires a sure foot, but from here you can see the power of the swirling waves and currents.
The waves and currents are treacherous, sometimes creating vortices in the water
Fried clams plate
Once in a while, you get surprised by a meal that you didn’t expect much from.
We stopped in Bandon to stretch our legs and get a little lunch before resuming our road trip. First, we visited a confectionery, Cranberry Sweets & More, where all things cranberry are made into candies, and then walked around town a bit, before eating at Minute Café. The menu is basically diner food. We decided to have the fried clam plate, which came with fries and cole slaw, plus two halves of buttered toast. All I can say is that the fried clams were extraordinarily good. Though the pieces were larger than we’ve come to expect, they were tender and had a great clam flavor and the batter was light and crispy. Oftentimes, such clams emerge from a kitchen like fried rubber bands in texture, but not these! I was almost tempted to say that they were razors, but the waitress assured us they weren’t. Great, just the same.
145 2nd St SE