April 27, 2022 / 

Why Rural Dining Is A Superior Experience

This episode highlights the best dining in the Willamette Valley, while pointing out why top notch restaurants and chefs have found their homes in these rural wine country communities.


Hey friends! Today, I’m going to blow your mind. Not really. I just want to share a new way of thinking… Instead of going into the city for fine dining, why not head the opposite direction and dine in the country. Did you know that the Willamette Valley has some award winning restaurants?


You might be thinking, how good can restaurants in a rural area really be? They must pale in comparison to the dining options in the big city. Your thoughts aren’t totally wrong. But consider this for a moment.


OpenTable named Rosemarino Osteria Italiana of Newberg as one of the Top 100 Restaurants in America in 2021. It was the only restaurant mentioned in the state of Oregon. 


Do I have your attention? As the Willamette Valley continues to build a name for itself as a thriving wine country, I believe fine dining will continue to flourish and is here to stay. I’m telling you, I’ve found more posh places to dine at in Yamhill County, then when I lived 10 miles from Portland. The suburbs can have all the big name chain restaurants, we’ll enjoy the incredible mom-and-pop shops that focus on local farming and pair their courses perfectly with the wine that surrounds them.


Here are other restaurants that stack up right next to Rosemarino:

Tina’s in Dundee

Joel Palmer House in Dayton

The Painted Lady in Newberg

Recipe Neighborhood Kitchen in Newberg

Thistle, McMinnville 

Earth and Sea, Carlton


And so many more.


When you dine at one of these places the food is going to be extraordinary. But you should also consider all the other components of the night that make a country dining experience more enjoyable – less traffic, easy parking, and remarkable hospitality. Plus, these restaurants are in the heart of Oregon’s Wine country, so assume the wine selection at these restaurants is going to be local and amazing. 


For the money, you simply can’t beat rural dining.


One data point from the Willamette Valley Visitors Association suggests that in 2018, 6.8 million people stayed overnight in the Willamette Valley. So why wouldn’t a chef want to gain exposure amongst a wine tasting crowd.


I challenge you to book a single wine tasting and reservations at one of these restaurants to follow. You won’t regret it.


One last idea.  Plan to stay in McMinnville for one night on your way to the coast.  It’s off hwy 99 and you’ll have a great excuse to taste in town and enjoy one of the many adorable restaurants this adorable wine community has to offer. If you need help planning your next wine country excursion email concierge@nwwineshuttle.com.


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