Vegan dining in Friday Harbor

San Juan Island is one of my favorite places to be in the world, mostly because of the stunning scenery and wildlife: windswept ocean vistas, rocky black-sand beaches, bald eagles, red foxes…the list goes on and on.

Almost as glorious as all the beauty and wildlife was to find a restaurant and wine bar that epitomizes all that San Juan Island is about. Mike’s Cafe & Wine Bar is not only lovely and delicious but its all-vegan menu and Northwest wines show that this local business is serious about its appreciation of the environment it calls home.

Let’s get to the wine first. Owner Mike Sharadin is also owner and winemaker of Northwest Totem Cellars, a small, family-owned winery producing hand-crafted wines in Woodinville, Washington. The wine list at the cafe features a variety of local wines, available by the bottle, glass, or flight — but Mike had me at the Northwest Totem’s Sangiovese, which was delicious and happened to pair very well with the pizzas I was having. Beer lovers: there are lots of local beers on the menu as well.

As for the menu — I only wish I’d been able to try everything on it (already looking forward to my next visit). If you stop in for a beer or a glass of wine, you might try the spiced bar nuts, pretzels with savory mustards, or truffle oil popcorn. Small plates include bruschetta, hummus, spanikopita, and a vegan charcuterie platter with mushroom pate, herbed tofu cheese, olives, and French country bread.

The larger plates include the most delicious vegan pizzas I’ve had. I tried the pesto and the supreme, both amazing: crisp, cheesy, wonderfully spiced, and somehow light and filling at the same time — in other words, just perfect. Other larger plates include a pesto “chicken” sandwich, pasta of the day, and a Szechwan Sizzle.

All this, and vegan cheesecake, too.

Next time you’re in Friday Harbor, don’t miss Mike’s Cafe & Wine Bar. It’s right in the center of town, at 135 Second Street), and a wonderful place to visit, whether you’re in the mood for a drink and a nibble or a meal and a bottle of good wine.

Even better, Mike’s is one of those few amazing places that actually walks the walk — a restaurant that reflects the beauty of its surroundings in its philosophy of food and wine.