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  • The Herbfarm Restaurant (Woodinville; tel. 425/485-5300): This restaurant northeast of Seattle is adjacent to several wineries. Once little more than a roadside farmstand specializing in herbs, over the years it has become the most highly acclaimed (and most expensive) restaurant in the state.

  • The Chef's Kitchen Restaurant (Langley; tel. 360/221-3033): Set in a quintessentially Northwestern inn on Whidbey Island, this is one of the state's most memorable restaurants. It serves some of the best (and most expensive) multi-course gourmet dinners in Washington.

  • Backdoor Kitchen (San Juan Island; tel. 360/378-9540): This back-street gem is the sort of place people dream of discovering in their travels -- a locals' secret in an unlikely location. With an eclectic menu that will keep you coming back for more, the Backdoor is the door to choose in Friday Harbor.

  • Bay Cafe (Lopez Island; tel. 360/468-3700): Classy and casual, the Bay Cafe epitomizes the Lopez Island experience -- quiet, comfortable, and unpretentious. Even if you aren't staying on Lopez, meals are so good that it's worth catching the ferry to dine here.

  • Molly Ward Gardens (Poulsbo; tel. 360/779-4471): Housed in an old barn in a small rural valley outside the Scandinavian theme town of Poulsbo, this restaurant sums up Northwest lifestyles with its country gardens, eclectic decor, and creative cuisine.

  • The Ajax Cafe (Port Hadlock; tel. 360/385-3450): With excellent food, live old-time music on the weekends, and silly hats hanging from the ceiling (and frequently worn by dinner guests), this hidden gem of a restaurant is south of Port Townsend. Housed in an old wooden waterfront building, it's a favorite for those with something to celebrate.

  • The Dining Room at Sun Mountain Lodge (Winthrop; tel. 800/572-0493 or 509/996-4707): If you get vertigo easily, you may want to forego meals at this precipitously perched dining room overlooking the Methow Valley. However, if you relish creative cooking accompanied by dizzying mountain views, this restaurant should not be missed.

  • 26brix (Walla Walla; tel. 509/526-4075): The menu at this memorable wine-country restaurant is deceptively simple, but the preparations by chef Mike Davis certainly are not. An absolute must on a visit to Walla Walla.

  • Whitehouse-Crawford Restaurant (Walla Walla; tel. 509/525-2222): In downtown Walla Walla, at the heart of Washington's fastest-growing wine region, this restaurant in a former mill building shares space with a winery. The scene and menu have a decidedly Seattle feel.

  • Whoopemup Hollow Cafe (Waitsburg; tel. 509/337-9000): Talk about an unlikely location. This casual, hip bistro in a rural farming community 20 minutes east of Walla Walla serves genuine New Orleans-style meals and is well worth the drive.

  • Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.