You Can Skip McMillin’s


At the risk of sounding like a professional social media troll, do not eat at McMillin’s in Roche Harbor on San Juan Island. It is expensive and mediocre at best. Our waitress made a big deal out of explaining small plate dining. That is because the faux tapas menu is really an up-selling vehicle. She virtually insisted that one must order a starter, a salad, and two “small plates” that were priced as much as normal entrees elsewhere on the island. When we did not go for the gouge, she became far less attentive for the entire meal.

McMillin’s at Roche Harbor

Address: 248 Reuben Memorial Dr, Friday Harbor WA 98250— Get directions
Telephone: (360) 378-5757
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Rostra rating: 2

The oysters on the half shell were old and just on the edge of going off. This is oyster country so there is no excuse other than greed for serving specimens this old. The covered up version of these horrible oysters is termed “kissed by a mermaid” on the menu. I would opine that no respectable mermaid would get those oysters anywhere near her lips. The same old and increasingly dangerous shell fish were served topped with salmon caviar and crème fresh. They were better than the half shell versions if only because you cannot taste the oysters. Be careful about kissing any mermaids that have kissed McMillin’s oysters (definitely a no tongue situation if there ever was one).

Brussels sprouts salad

Brussels sprouts were conspicuous by their virtual absence from an eponymous salad. Otherwise it was a decent approach with a nice, slightly sweet dressing and crispy fried parsnip strips.

Fried calamari with orzo

Fried calamari had decent breading and was competently cooked, but served with orzo?

Dungeness crab avocado dip

Dungeness crab avocado dip was creamy and rich. Not bad once Tabasco and Sriracha were applied, but the wait for these condiments was significant due to our ostracism for being small plate apostates.

Gulf shrimp stuffed with crab

Gulf shrimp (meaning certainly frozen and probably farmed) stuffed with crab was overcooked and the stuffing was bland. The accompanying risotto was gluey and clearly not made with Arborio rice.

Bottom line: If you want to go to Roche Harbor (and Mago Guide does not recommend this crowded and spendy mini-resort and condo cluster on San Juan Island), eat at the downstairs Madrona Bar and Grill, which serves much better, simpler, and cheaper food. The wait staff is much nicer and more attentive there as well.

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Morgan Hart was launched in 2011 as a website and virtual storefront to showcase Patti's software and Morgan's content. Dedicated to slow travel, culinary excess, and ripping good yarns, MagoGuide is the digital scriptoria for the Mago Scrolls, Morgan's historical fiction series about the Punic Wars in general and one Mago of Syracuse in particular. Although Morgan has written a great deal of non-fiction over the years in the form of specialized journal articles, book reviews, op-ed pieces, and (his personal favorite) the most unpopular coffee table book in the history of the planet, he always viewed himself as a happily frustrated novelist. Get more information about Morgan's novel and travel writing at our Products page.

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