This top restaurant located within a charming Victorian estate is noteworthy enough to be placed in the popular selling book, 1000 Places To See Before You Die". We definitely wanted to sample the menu--if only they had been opened for lunch!
Chef Jesse Mallgren was former Chef de Cuisine at Syzygy in Aspen and Executive Sous-Chef at Stars in San Francisco. It's said that he 'brings fresh ideas and new energy to the kitchen at this Victorian Inn'. The cuisine is New Californian. Chef Mallgren uses the finest, freshest ingredients available, some of which are grown in the Manor's organic garden.
Potato Gnocchi--Blewit and Yellow Foot Mushrooms, House-made Ricotta, Toasted Walnuts and Chives ($19)
Santa Cruz Black Cod--Miso Glaze, Bloomsdale Spinach, Braised Daikon, Shiso ($29)
Colorado Lamb--Roasted Loin, Grilled 'Filet Mignon', Green Garlic, Quinoa, Lamb Reduction ($33)
28 Day Dry-Aged Montana 'Legend' Strip Loin--Fingerling Potatoes, Kohlrabi Puree, Comfit Pearl Onions, Braised Beef Cheek ($39).
The 2003 and 2004 Zagat Surveys say the restaurant is "Sonoma County's highest overall rated restaurant." Inside you'll find romantic, candle-lit dinners (6pm-9pm Weds.-Sun.) Oh my...look what we missed!
In addition to the ala carte menu, the Chef conjures up three separate gourmet tasting menus daily. Winemakers' Dinners are offered monthly--sample local wines paired with specially prepared dishes.
In conversation with one of the locals, we asked for a recommendation for lunch. He gave us three suggestions. Since all were close by we checked out each one, finally choosing Healdsburg Bar and Grill.
We were asked to wait in the entry, where an immense wooden bar claimed most of one wall. Studying the menu, we considered the selection while waiting to be seated outdoors at an umbrella table.
Aside from an assortment of delicious salads, these lunch items were included on the menu:
Smoked Turkey Melt ($12)--turkey, cheddar, romaine lettuce, red onion and hickory smoked bacon
BBQ Pork ($12)--sweet pulled pork, romaine lettuce and red onion
Portabella Melt ($11)--eggplant, camazola, red onion, tomato and romaine lettuce
Tasters (a selection):
Beer-battered Potstickers in Chipotle sauce ($9)
Chipotle Fries ($8)
Garlic Fries ($8)
Steams Clams ($15)
In a few minutes, we were conducted to a shady table in the center of the patio. There was friendly chatter all around us, many people seeming to know each other.
My husband and I ordered Chicken Caesar Salads ($15.00 each), which were fresh and flavorful! Our grandson ordered a Cheese Pizza from the KIDS MENU. Other choices were:
Pasta with Butter,
Mini Corn Dog or Cheeseburger--all priced at $7.
The restaurant also has an Oyster Bar.
Live entertainment is presented each weekend by local and national bands for the over 21 crowd. A bocce ball court is on the grounds for those looking for a little recreation. We enjoyed our meal and the pleasant atmosphere.
Favorite Dish: It's where the locals go
Cyrus is an amzing restaurant offer 3, 4 or 5 course dinners. I had the 3 course meal that included Thai Marinated Lobster with Avocado, Mango and Hearts of Palm, Foie Gras with Salt Cured "torchon" and the Truffled Red Wine Risottos with Parmesan Broth, all three courses were amazing. You can also opt to have shaved Black Truffles on your courses for $25/teaspoon.
The service was outstanding, ambiance very nice and just an all-around fantastic dining experience in the wine country.
Favorite Dish: Lobster, Foie Gras, Truffled Red Wine Risotto, Caramel Soup with Kettle Corn, Sorbet and Chocolate Filigree
Stop by Oakville Grocery and put together delicious food for a picnic lunch. Oakville sells just about anything you could want for a picnic lunch, from sandwiches to cheeses to salads to dessert items. The food is most definitely gourmet - somewhat pricey - but very good. You won't have a run of the mill lunch here!
After you've made your purchase, head over to one of the many wineries with tables for use by visitors. Dry Creek, Lambert Bridge and Pezzi-King are three nearby wineries with beatufiul grounds and several tables for picnicking.
A less pricey alternative to Oakville Grocery Store is the Dry Creek General Store located very close to the Dry Creek Winery. Dry Creek GS sells sandwiches, deli items, cheeses, chips, cookies, etc.
One website describes this store as a mecca for Harley fans. Bikers in the wine country? We must be talking about that new breed of white collar Harley riding banker and stock broker types. Anyway, they must have cleared out by the time I stopped there for a bottle of water.
Treat these restaurants as "destinations" when you visit this City
$$$$$ - expensive
$$$ - moderate
$ - inexpensive
Chef Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen $$$$$
* favorites: sand dabs, halibut
* at warm times, sit outside
Bistro Ralph $$$
* Italian, especially romantic at night
* dining room is a work of art
* favorites: whole-leaf Ceasar Salad
* in the Healdsburg Hotel
* casual dining
* favorite (wood-oven baked) pizza: Santa Rosa plums, fontina cheese, & prosciutto
* favoirte dessert: lemon-blueberry trifle or the nectraine cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream
* always crowded cafe, inside Raven movie theater
* orginal location, if you can't get in go to Ravenous (below)
* around the corner from the Ravenette
* go here if you can't get into Ravenette (above)
I've had the pleasure of eating at the Madrona Manor on several occasions. The price fix menu changes daily and the selections usually include some of the regional specialties. As would be expected the Manor has an incredible wine selection. But it also offers an option wine pairing with your meal. This is such a great opportunity to try different wines with different courses, without having to purchase an entire bottle.
As an example of the delights to be found here, on my last visit I had zucchini flowers stuffed with goat cheese and lightly fried for an appetizer, followed by a melt in your mouth sea bass. I don't remember what my dessert selection was but I bet it was chocolate and I bet it was good. I do remember that it included a wonderful Port.
(OK, so it was a wine country weekend... naturally I don't remember it all!)
Incidently, the Mandrona Manor also offers lodging and catering for special events.
Continuation of story and food we ate from Part 1
Favorite Dish: Need to find receipt to remember exactly what we had. Check back tomorrow.
The food is truly excellent here. I had some chicken wings, a burger and some beer. My girlfriend had a salad.
We chose to have the five course meal with wine pairing. The first dish was seafood, I then had some risoto with black trouffles. For a detail menu take a look at their website.
After drinking wine all day it was nice to relax with a cold beer. I built my own burger with brie and caramelized onions.
Favorite Dish: Beer