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Jul 25, 2006 12:41 AM

Farmhouse Inn or Seaweed Cafe?

I'll be camping out at the Sonoma Coast State Park this weekend with my husband, and we'd like to have at least one great meal while we're up there, on Saturday night. My thoughts immediately turned to the Farmhouse Inn in Forestville, which we're been meaning to try, and I made reservations. However, searching the board reminded me of the Seaweed Cafe in Bodega Bay, which also seems to be well regarded, and would be a much shorter drive from the park, on a less windy road. (We thought about brunch there, so we could hit both, but it starts too late.)

So my question is, for those of you who have tried one or both: should we do the expedient thing and eat at the Seaweed Cafe for dinner instead, or is the food at the Farmhouse Inn so spectacular that it's worth the extra drive? I've seen great posts on both and can't make up my mind! Oh, in case it makes a difference, we eat fish but not meat.

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  1. We have been to both. If you are going strictly on quality of food and service Farmhouse is very good. I found the food at Seaweed to be mediocre and we had to wait forever for our meal. It is more casual and the service is friendly, but the kitchen quickly falls behind. They are two very different experiences. I would go back to Farmhouse, but not to Seaweed.

    1. Were you at Seaweed in the last year, that is, since the dining room was expanded and more service and kitchen staff were added?

      I like both very much, but certainly Farmhouse Inn gets the nod for both polished cuisine and service. However, Seaweed has very original cooking geared to the coast, but not everything works. I'll be staying out at the coast again later this summer and we'll go back for dinner but not for brunch.

      Dinner at Seaweed Cafe -

      Monday night at the Farmhouse Inn -

      1. Emily, there's another choice in Bodega Bay, Blue Water Bistro. I haven't tried it, but I did like Chef Mark Dierkhising's cooking at All Seasons in Calistoga and Equus in Santa Rosa.

        Here's Jeff Cox's review, which is generally positive and that I would take as a sign that it doesn't suck.

        Has anyone tried it?

        1. The good news is that you do not have to weigh off convenience against quality, because Seaweed cafe is actually one of the most interesting, personal, high-quality dining establishments in the bay area. If it were a little closer I would eat there all the time. Very welcoming, very unpretensious, and supremely delicious. Very deft touch with a broad range of vegetables and local foods. Interesting, well-priced wine list with lots of by the glass options. Can;t recommend it highly enough.

          1. Yep, this is a tough call.
            I had a dinner at Seaweed a few weeks ago and swooned. It was really that tasty. In the last year I have had also a couple of brunches which were pleasant, but I left feeling so happy. The thing of the Seaweed is it is so small and personal I just have to like it - you walk in and gotta be charmed. The wine list is only west of 101 but the selections are terrific. They have a small but thoughtful cheese list. One partner runs the kitchen and the other the front. It isn't a fast paced place either.
            The Farmhouse is more sophisticated, but I don't know that the cooking is better. The wine list longer, then again I never struggled at SW.
            Maybe for me it is a routing for an underdog that gets me with Seaweed?
            Either way bon appetit