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
Dry Creek Kitchen seemed a notch above the casual dining place. We asked to see the menu, but didn't see a thing our grandson would eat. However, for the gourmet...this might just be the place.
According to the literature, Chef Charlie Palmer uses the 'finest fresh seasonal produce, gourmet food purveyors and fine wines to form Dry Creek Kitchen". He is a former owner of Aureole in New York.
The menu offered Ahi Tuna Tartare ($18) or Jumbo Lump Crabcake ($14) as just two of the appetizers.
Mini Wagyu Beef and Foi Gras Burgers with Brioche Buns ($18), Miso Crusted Salmon with Carrot-Ginger Puree ($29) or Ribeye Steak and Eggs ($24) are just a few of the entree samples.
A wine trail luncheon tasting menu was available:
Seven-Tomato Guzpacho with Ambrosia Melon Sorbet and Herb Salad
Ahi Tuna Tartare with Chili Spiced Ponzu and Avocado Relish;
Painted Hills New York Strip Steak, Haricots Verts, Crushed Yukon Potato.
($45 per person, $70 paired with wine) Dessert is served with the selection.
Open daily serving lunch and dinner. See the website below for hours.
The Bear Republic Brewing Company looked like a casual, laid back sort of eatery as we approached.
We learned that this micro-brewery serves up hand crafted beers. Its Master Brewer (Richard Norgrove) received the 2006 Brewer of the Year award, while the brewery received the 2006 Small Brewing Company of the year award. For those who appreciate beer, this would seem a good endorsement!
The lengthy menu included these selections for lunch:
Jamaican Jerk Burger ($9.95)
Rocket Burger-topped with mild green chili, pepper jack cheese and cilantro ($9.95)
A VegiBear Sandwich-tomato, cheddar cheese, cucumber, sliced red onion, roasted red bell pepper and green chili aioli ($8.50)
a choice of wraps ($9.50) and many other specialty sandwiches prepared on homebaked bread.
Here's a special highlight: If you thrive on gathering up little bits of trivia, Monday Night is game night at the brewery!
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.
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.
RESTAURANT IS NOW CLOSED AS OF MAY 20, 2013.
If you've looked at my Healdsburg Hotel page before you came here, you'll know we arrived a little earlier then expected because of the power outage the town had experienced earlier in the evening. We called from the hotel just to make sure they were open. I'm sure that because of the power outage that evening that there were only a few other diners that evening. Some of the other casual places in town had bigger crowds, but again we wanted to have a nice meal on the first night of our vacation.
I had looked at a number of restaurants in the area on the internet and reviewed what other's had to say about each one before deciding that A Devine Affair was the one which suited us. A smaller restaurant with a smaller menu (I much prefer restaurants that have under a dozen choices for dinner as you know everything will be a lot fresher), a cozy looking place and a place where you might get to meet the owner/chef. We did.
Since I have 8 pictures to share I will break this tip into 2 separate ones with the food pictures in the 2nd tip. Please continue to that tip now.
It's easy to get a great glass of wine in a restaurant here in town. And, I guess you have to assume that when it comes to food, as well. I wasn't particularly hungry when we had dinner here so I ordered the beef carpacio. If this was the only meal I could eat, I would be extremely happy. The beef was very tasty, melted in my mouth and obviously very good quality. A small pile of micro sprouts accompanied my dish and a glass of wine was just yummy! My boyfriend had a heartier dish and it was very good.
This restaurant is actually located in Santa Rosa which is only 5-10 minutes south of Healdsburg. Since I have no other photos or tips to post under a Santa Rosa page, I thought I would post this restaurant tip here. To continue, I often use opentable.com to research restaurants and make my reservations. It's a pretty handy site. Anyway, I had a great and bad experience at this restaurant. Great experience was the ambience and wait staff. We were treated with a tiny appetizer which was good. We ordered the salmon/ahi tuna tartar which was really delicious. My boyfriend ordered a goat cheese stuffed roast chicken. I had a bite and it was very tasty. Bad expense was the entree I ordered. The pork loin dish was extremely salty. So salty that I couldn't even drink my wine because wine and salt really don't go together. I was only able to eat about 1/3 of my dish before I gave up. I had lost my appetite. My boyfriend was upset and we told the waiter this was really horrible. He offered to have another dish prepared but I wouldn't have been able to eat it. So, he did not charge me for my entree. Very rarely have I ever complained about food that is served to me. I think had the dish been prepared with much less salt, we would have had a completely enjoyable meal.
For a total of $50 for the two of us we had a bowl of garlic fries (very nice but lucky we weren't after friends in the US with the smell!), rosemary chicken and potatoes, chicken and avocado sandwich and some lemonade. Very delicious to all of the above.
Bear Republic is one of Sonoma County's top microbreweries and it has a nice brewpub in downtown Healdsburg just off the Plaza. This is the primary brewpub north of Santa Rosa. The food is typical for th type of place, but generall very good, service is normally quite good, and it has a nice, varied selection of good beers. These include a number of different styles or interpretations of styles, and while the place has the ubiquitous IPA and super hoppy beers that have become so popular, it also has a good showing in Scotch Ale, ESB, etc. It also makes a very nice, flavourful Imperial Stout that, unlike some, is not overly alcoholic or exceedingly burnt or bitter in taste. Moreover, it sells home-brewed root beer and cream soda.
BarnDiva is a neat, chic, happening place with modern-urban-rustic decor and amibience and some great food, with dining inside or in a secluded, nicely gardened patio with trees, etc. It's a great place to linger over cocktails and small dishes, with different courses and everything we have had is excellent. The menu is very eclectic, with a very California-Wine County approach and great variety, much of it quite delicate. Like the decor, the food theory is a modern urban approach to traditional & country cuisine. It also is known for its nice bar and good emphasis on cocktails, including traditional ones like a Sazerac, and interesting new ones. One key element is that here, in the Wine Country, there is more emphasis on pairing cocktails, rather than wine, with the food, and this is a nice diversion.
Favorite Dish: The menu changes frequently. We have been here a few times and have always been very happy, even though the price tag is hefty for a real meal with several cocktails, dessert, etc. However, in Healdsburg, price tags for the ritzier places generally are rather steep, anyway.
One nice example is a version of Eccles Cake they had one time. This is a traditional English dessert that is almost unheard of here and they made a local twist on the recipe. It was delicious.
This is our favourite Mexican place in Healdsburg and, along with Los Hermanos & Taqueria Santa Rosa, both in Santa Rosa, one of our favourites in Sonoma County. It is a small hole in the wall in a tiny, ugly little shopping centre just south of downtown, but the food is great.
Flying Goat is a great local coffee roasting company and coffeehouse. It has two coffeehouses: one in downtown Healdsburg and one just to the south in downtown Santa Rosa (see my page on Santa Rosa for that one). The coffeehouse in Healdsburg is on Center St just north of the Plaza and Powell's Sweet Shoppe.