Story & photos by Patrick Alexander
Oregon Coast TODAY
Here’s a tall order — a restaurant that combines unmatched views of the Pacific Ocean with gourmet breakfasts, lunches and dinners, all served up by professional staff who make the place feel like home.
Welcome to Fathoms Penthouse Restaurant and Bar, perched on the 10th floor of the Inn at Spanish Head, where tall orders come naturally.
Built in 1969, the inn is an engineering masterpiece, rising up from the sands to buttress the cliff with some 7,000 cubic yards of concrete and 400 tons of steel. Guests enter on the ninth floor, from a courtyard accessible via another engineering oddity — a tunnel running beneath Highway 101. For those who don’t fancy the tunnel, valet parking is available, with drop off at the door.
Fathoms Manager Lisa White said the fact that only two of the inn’s stories are visible from the highway makes guests feel like they have discovered a hidden gem when they see the views on offer from the bar and restaurant.
“We get comment cards from guests saying they’ve always loved it and from new guests saying ‘we are so glad we’ve found you,’” she said. “We want the secret out.”
And winter means ever-changing scenery for Fathoms guests, whether gazing at the ocean from the bar or looking out toward the Salishan Spit from the restaurant.
“You are able to take it in,” White said, “and if that clearing comes, you are able to get out on the beach in a heartbeat.”
But Fathoms offers far more than just a world-class view. One of just three restaurants in Lincoln City to have earned the coveted three-diamond rating from AAA, it boasts a menu packed with fresh seafood, perfectly cooked meats and mouthwatering vegetarian dishes, all crafted with skill by the talented and much-appreciated veteran culinary team working alongside of Chef Ken Martin.
White said winter sees guests opting for comfort food options like Seafood Cannelloni and Pesto Primavera Pasta as well as seafood favorites like Grilled Wild Pacific Salmon and the Fathoms halibut, encrusted with crab and shrimp and stuffed with Piquillo peppers, cream cheese and parmesan.
More casual options, available at lunch in the restaurant include the Prime Rib Dip Sandwich, served with caramelized onions and Swiss cheese on a French baguette with au jus and horseradish; and the Grilled Salmon Burger, served on a Kaiser roll with lemon cilantro mayonnaise.
Bar patrons can also try out the new Portabello Mushroom Fries, served with harissa aioli and ranch dipping sauces; and a new macaroni cheese combining cheddar, Boursin, parmesan, cream cheese and bleu cheese crumbles and available with an optional topping of applewood smoked bacon. Prime Rib Dip, Steamer Clams and Ling Cod Fish & Chips remain most popular dining options in the bar.
Meanwhile, back in the restaurant, the combo Seafood Louis is a longstanding lunch and dinner favorite, combining Dungeness crab and shrimp with shredded romaine, black olives, tomatoes, cucumber and hard-boiled egg — all tossed in Fathoms’ own house Louis dressing.
Winter offers a special treat for diners taking advantage of the restaurant’s early bird special. Orders are due by 5:30 pm, giving guests a front-row seat for the season’s early sunsets.
Another good time for quiet reflection is during breakfast, served from 8 to 11 am every day and until noon on Sundays, offering guests the perfect chance to plan their day or catch up with a friend.
To see the restaurant at its most vibrant, drop by for brunch, served from 9 am to 1 pm every Sunday from July 3 through Sept. 11, preceded by special Champagne Brunches for Easter, March 27; Mothers Day, May 8 and Fathers Day, June 19.
Reservations are strongly recommended for the popular brunches, which serve up a feast of everything from made-to-order omelets and waffles to salmon, cod cakes, prime rib and house-smoked fish.
“You definitely have to prioritize to get through it all,” White said.
Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, guests can expect friendly and professional service amid elegant décor, recently enhanced by the addition of handcrafted candle centerpieces by Lincoln City glass artist Kelly Howard.
And while Fathoms might seem like it has it all, White is always looking for ways to make each visit even more memorable.
This summer and fall will see installation of new shades in the bar and restaurant and a remodel of one of Fathoms’ most famous features — the women’s restroom. An unexpected delight for every new visitor, the restroom presents guests with a stunning ocean view through a west wall made entirely from glass.
“People think it’s fantastic now,” White said. “By the time the designer is done, it will be quite the showpiece.”
Fathoms Penthouse Restaurant and Bar is located at the Inn at Spanish Head, 4009 SW Hwy. 101 in Lincoln City and is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For details and reservations, call 541-994-1601 or 800-452-8127. To book lodging reservations or learn more about the hotel, go to www.spanishhead.com.