The city of Jacksonville, in which most Britt concerts take place, is home to some of the region’s best restaurants. Within a few blocks of each other you find the Jacksonville Inn, McCully House, Bella Union and Gogi’s.
But, again this year, you may also want to consider Central Point’s dining scene, since at least one of the concerts will be at the Lithia Motors Amphitheater at the Jackson County Expo Park.
While the weekly dining column I wrote for the Mail Tribune for more than 30 years concluded when I retired in 2002, I continue to dine out just about every week – and keep notes.
Some Jacksonville dining highlights during the past year:
-Jackonville Inn. This place is consistently favored by readers in Mail Tribune polls. The wine list is the region's most extensive. The fine dining tradition continued on our most recent visit. Our two entrees were filet mignon with portabella mushrooms for $32.95 and filet of sole for $23.95. The sole has been a favorite of mine for lunch, but this was the first time I'd ordered it for dinner. Each entree was superb, served with asparagus, potatoes or rice. Each plate had some extra touches. The sole came with beets and chip-like potato slices, while the beef was accompanied by a broiled tomato slice and sauteed green pepper. Prices included the usual excellent salad.
-Gogi's. This continues to be one of the best dinnerhouses in the Rogue Valley. Chef-owner Bill Prahl turns out high-class, yet affordable fare. My dinner of morel and asparagus appetizer, salad and then an entrée of coriander lime glazed halibut with Asian vegetables was a great meal. Two-course dinner cost just under $21, the appetizer another $8.95. Entrees include a house salad, but for a small extra charge you can get a one-of-a-kind salad, grilled heart of romaine. The lettuce is topped with cheese and other ingredients, then grilled briefly.
-Bella Union. Another outstanding meal - great salads with creamy Italian and blue cheese house dressing, romaine, pear tomato, salami slice, and warm bread with herb butter. Our entrees were pesto chicken and New York steak, $16 and $22 respectively, both first rate.
-McCully House Inn. I ordered the evening's entree special, halibut kabobs with red pepper, mushrooms and onions. Wonderful. Price was $21. Salad with spicy creamy peppercorn dressing was grand. On earlier visits I’ve enjoyed superior salmon and steak dishes.
-La Fiesta. This has become my favorite Mexican restaurant in the Rogue Valley, with good food, a menu with more interesting choices than others, plus comfortable historic decor. It also has a wine list heavy on locals. I had pollo asada ymas for $11.25. The ymas means you can add one other item, like a cheese enchilada. Our other choice was arroz con camarones for $12.95. Both were excellent. First course was multi-colored chips with some of the best salsa around.
-Las Palmas. Another Mexican restaurant, also very good. I had No. 19, a combo with a cheese enchilada and tostada. The tostada was giant and very good. The combo plate cost just under $10. My wife had arroz con camarones, the same dish she tried a year earlier, again first rate.
If you are into barbecue, try the Back Porch, also known for excellent chili.
And now for Central Point:
The city has lost two of its more interesting restaurants – Mon Desir and FaMa – but still has several good choices.
-Rostel's. With this place, upscale dining has come to downtown Central Point. The building was beautifully restored - lots of brick. The menu was a bit limited when the restaurant first opened but has since expanded, with at least 10 entrees plus daily specials. On a recent revisit the two of us enjoyed salmon and hanger steak, served with rice or potatoes, elegant grilled vegetables and nicely-tossed salads. Most two-course dinners run $16-$19. The wine list exceeds 60 choices and is well balanced and affordable.
Central Point has two Mexican restaurants, Mazatlan Grill and El Albanil. The Grill has better atmosphere but I prefer the food at El Albanil.
For Italian there’s Antonio’s. For Asian fare, look up Bai Po, Ma’s or Sun China Boat.
Another Britt season dining opportunity is the Britt box. A number of restaurants and delis will pack you a gourmet dinner. Take it with you to the Britt Pavilion and enjoy a pre-concert picnic.