A series of fortunate (or un- depending on your perspective) events in our quest for places to eat in Newport, Oregon this evening led us to a quirky, healthy, and wonderful surprise in the form of dinner at Cafe Mundo. And, as a result, it became my must-stop restaurant in town!
We wanted to go to this other restaurant in Newport that is advertised as the best food, and all the locals go there… blah, blah, blah. Problem? For the second day in a row, we arrived at that place during the google travel-site advertised open hours, only to find the sign in the window that they are closed. I’m not sure what kind of secret signalling device is used to notify locals that this super-secret place to eat in Newport is actually open for business, but clearly they’re not letting visitors in on it!
So, we all looked at each other, whipped out the phones and googled, again, where we should eat. Newport, Oregon isn’t a big town, I didn’t think this would be such a challenge! There was another fairly well-rated place to eat not far away. We get ourselves turned around, double back, and pull up in front of this second choice, get out of the car, and find that it is ALSO closed. At this point, we’re being to think a global event has taken place, and we JUST STINKIN’ WANT FOOD!! (Seriously, don’t mess with our family when hunger sets in!)
The Place to Eat in Newport Because It’s Open and Literally Inviting!!
So, instead of getting in the car, we walk down the street – clearly Google is not up to this task, and our own eight (combined) eyeballs are needed to find any place to stop to eat.
That’s when we came around the corner and found this:
See that? It says Yes, We’re OPEN and REALLY GOOD FOOD right there! I mean, it’s like they knew what we were looking for. Spooky. So… we all stopped and read the signs, looked at each other and shrugged, and it was unanimous.
The Place to Eat in Newport for Funky Outdoor Seating
First, we came to the outdoor area, It isn’t often that the outdoor seating area of a restaurant stops all of us and get the kids exclaiming. But Katie decided this is what she wants her yard to look like one day. Outdoor, partially sheltered, rustic seating. Random oddities spread throughout the yard. I, of course, started taking pictures, and the family had to nudge (ok, maybe it was the sighing and ‘I’m hungry!’) me inside.
The Place to Eat in Newport for Quirky Decor
But that yard was only the start. Stepping into the Café Mundo, is a feast for the senses. The restaurant is decorated in an eclectic collection of quirky art that kept us pointing, exclaiming and laughing throughout our meal.
Each table was an individually painted in different styles, and different skill levels:
The items on the walls were, all together, a colorful backdrop. But, you really have examine them more closely to get the full impact. Like this Hotel California themed project:
And this picture, take a minute until you get what’s going on here:
As we watched more of the goings on in the restaurant, we also realized the unique ordering and food delivery system. The kitchen is in open view on the first floor, but most patrons are seated upstairs where the servers have a bar and cash register. However, once we placed our food order, our server went over behind the upstairs bar, opened the top of a PVC pipe, and recited our order into the pipe where, I assume, someone in the kitchen was listening! Then, when our order was ready, a large dumb waiter was used to crank our meals up from the kitchen. When I exclaimed over this oddity, I discovered my daughters had never even heard of a “dumb waiter” and were absolutely aghast at my rudeness.
The Place to Eat in Newport for Responsible Sourcing
Here we are, paragraphs and paragraphs into my happiness with Café Mundo, and I still haven’t mentioned the food! So, let me assure you, it gets better.
Café Mundo strives “to cook for our community and visitors in a manner which is local, seasonal, and sustainable.” Everything was fresh, much was organic, even my diet soda was Stevia sweetened – which our server made sure I knew before he brought it to me, in case that was a problem (it wasn’t!).
The Place to Eat in Newport for Delicious Variety
Then menu (and website) also boasts “World Beat Cuisine” and features a variety of food styles from Mexican to Greek to Asian. We did all of the above at our table, including the Chicken Mole Quesadilla:
Greek Chicken Pita and Clam Chowder:
And, for the girl who, I think, has set the goal of eating a Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad in every state and every country:
All of it was delicious. We sampled each other’s foods, husband and I ordered adult beverages from the well-stocked bar, and spent an entirely enjoyable evening there. The kids still remember it fondly, bringing up weird decorations and the conversations they sparked (What’s Hotel California?).
If you find yourself in Newport, Oregon, and have a hankering for locally sourced, sustainable, and really delicious food – with a side of quirky and entertaining surroundings – I highly recommend Cafe Mundo.