HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Do you create unique foods? Get great advice
TELL US

Healdsburg recommendations

m
mvasudeva Jan 10, 2007 03:52 PM

My husband and I will be in Healdsburg for a weekend without kids in Feb. We've gotten recommendations for Cyrus and made a reservation there. But we are looking for something for the second night for dinner. Also, can anyone comment on Cyrus?

For the second night, I would like to find something that isn't the whole fancy/california/french prix fix thing (don't know if there is a better one word way to describe this cuisine?). While we have certainly enjoyed it, I am getting tired of eating off a similar menu every where I go (something with foie gras, something with duck, etc.). Does anyone have any recommendations for not upscale but good food places in this area? Would love to be able to walk to the restaurant from downtown.

Thanks!

  1. m
    mvasudeva Feb 22, 2007 11:27 AM

    We're back from Healdsburg and I am going to post reviews of where we ate.
    For lunch on Saturday, we ate at Bovolo, per the suggestion above. We really enjoyed it. It's casual and yummy, and it's located in a great market where we got to taste Schaffenberger chocolate and several wines (Tandem winery was there and several others). Lunch included the special of the day which was a pulled pork sandwiche with a soy bbq sauce on a homemade bun that soaked up the sauce beautifully and a sausage burger. We enjoyed both. The pork was served with coleslaw with a light vinegar/mayo dressing that was a bit tangy. And both dishes were served with a variety of yummy olives. Before lunch, because we were starving, we had our gelato which is made at Bovolo. We had lavendar, ginger and peanut butter and liked all three. The lavendar did not taste like lavendar but it was still good. The peanut butter tasted like fresh, natural peanut butter.
    The setting is kind of minimalist warehousey. The inside eating area is small, and I imagine when full it would be loud. There is also an outside eating are, but believe it or not, it was too sunny to sit out there when we were there. I did notice umbrellas outside but they weren't put up.

    Dinner was Cyrus. We arrived early for our 9pm reservation to sample martinis in the bar. I had the house special, the waverly, and my husband had a margarita version. I did not care for either. The waverly was heavy on citrus with lemongrass, lemon, lime, and mandarin oranges that gave it this overpowering citrus flavor that I swear I'm still tasting today. I don't like margaritas so my judgment of the margarita is probably flawed. It had this foam on top that was so salty and just weird. My husband liked both drinks but I doubt he'd order either again.
    For dinner we ordered the three and four course tastings (the options were, 3 course ($68), 4 course $80, 5 course $92, chef's tasting 7 courses $110). We considered the chef's tasting but the waiter explained the whole table must order it and we didn't want to both order the same dishes.
    First course was a chef's offering of ceviche and something else that I can't remember, sorry. But both were excellent. I am just going to describe the rest of the courses below:
    cold lobster salad with an unbelievably intense cilantro dressing that was both of our favorites courses over the night
    hamachi with a soy dressing and sesame seed seared--I thought this was okay. My husband liked it better. It was basically raw and I thought it had an off, kind of dry texture.
    gnocchi with escargot and persillade was okay00sounds more interesting then it was
    Hoison squab with black bean rice cake--this dish seemed to be cooked to perfection. The squab was quite tender but I did not care for the soy sauce on top--it was too soy saucy.
    Steak frites with porcni mushrooms ($25 supplement). This was Wagyu (not sure how to spell it) beef so that's why the supplement. To me it tasted like a filet mignon with no flavor. My husband agreed. We weren't too thrilled with the steak and the frites was literally like a mcdonald's hash brown, kind of mushy and greasy (it was not "frites" like french fries)
    Cheese course--they push a cheese cart to the table and select three cheese from it for you. These are served with some poached pear and panforte and nuts. It was excellent. My second favorite part of the meal
    Three other little courses were given that weren't on the menu: an amuse bouche of a baby shrimp which was quite flavorful, a "lollipop" of fruit gelato that was excellent and I wish I'd have seven of them and a plate of small candies at the end of the meal (that we could have done without).
    My husband had the three course wine tasting with his meal and this included a sake, a chablis and a red. None of them were distinct. (I forgot to mention the champagne he ordered off the champagne caviar cart that comes around the minute you sit down--the champagne was not distinctive). I asked for two wine suggestions for my food and was given the same chablis as my husband (which disappointed us because we wanted to try different things!) and a red that I can't remember!
    Overall experience was fine but nothing spectacular. I felt kind of like I was a participant in a well-orchestrated play rather then someone at a spontaneous passionate food fest (which I must prefer . . . ). The total bill was about $330.

    I'll have to post our other meals later!

    1. z
      zinfanatic Jan 12, 2007 02:43 AM

      How about Sake-O sp? It is located in a samll shopping center where Manzanita use to be-505 Healdsburg Ave. It is listed in the above headlsburg menu link. It is Japanese with some fusion twists. They have a shrimp dish that is served in a Martini glass that has a spicy aioli. Good fresh fish.Yum

      1 Reply
      1. re: zinfanatic
        w
        weluvitslow_in_sf Jan 12, 2007 03:35 PM

        I haven't been to Sake-O. Sounds great. You mentioned Manzanita - that's a great place, too...love the pizza.

      2. w
        weluvitslow_in_sf Jan 11, 2007 09:40 PM

        I agree, Ravenous is fantastic. My husband and I had our rehearsal dinner there - very good stuff, great wine. Also, Zin is a favorite. If you want something a little less casual, The Madrona Manor is a great experience. We got married there and the food, wine and service was superb. The surroundings are gorgeous, too. Willi's is great for ceviche.

        Although we lovelovelove Hotel Healdsburg, we aren't nuts about the Dry Creek Kitchen, I'm sad to say.

        1. c
          Cheese Please Jan 11, 2007 03:15 AM

          My wife and I really enjoyed Cyrus. Here's what I wrote in my post a few months back:

          In Healdsburg, we made the pilgrimage to Cyrus. It was spectacular! I have never eaten at a place full of such pomp and circumstance where I was made to feel so special and welcome and appreciated by every staff member. (My wife and I decidedly being non-VIPs...) And there were A LOT of staff on hand. It seemed that ten different servers helped out at our table at one time or another, and each had as much grace and good spirit as the others. And they all are trained to know about the food. Really impressive. Before we ate we enjoyed drinks at the bar. The bartender is something of a regional legend, and should be. The bar drinks were amazingly creative and full of freshness and flavor, with high quality alcohols and different-themed drinks infused with fresh herbs and fruit and spices. Really a treat.

          We were delighted to see you can either pick and choose dishes from a long list of intriguing items or you can do a tasting menu for the table. We opted to pick five courses of our own. If I am lucky enough to return I will do three courses and see if I have any room left. We were so stuffed by course #4 we were laboring to finish - not exactly how you want to eat at a temple like that. Here is the link to the menu:

          http://www.cyrusrestaurant.com/menu_d...

          The standout items we ordered were the billi-bi with tempura mussel and olive oil potato puree; summer bean cassoulet with squash succotash and chilled zucchini puree; the foie gras (had all three preparations); veal paillard with roasted figs; striploin of beef with fingerling potatoes and shortrib hash. We tasted from the amazing cheese tray instead of having dessert, but we were so stuffed it was hard to get into it. Another reason to order less, and to avoid the awesome bread they continually replenish on your plate.

          We were conservative with wine - split a nice glass of champagne with the caviar and then split a half bottle of charbono (Char-what? Charbono, an obscure red varietal. Very flavorful!) Credit to Cyrus for having MANY half-bottles on the menu.

          Our total bill was $390, everything included. Like I said, we'd probably cut some corners next time, but would not hesitate to return.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Cheese Please
            m
            mvasudeva Jan 11, 2007 01:22 PM

            Thanks for the great suggestions!

          2. b
            bbleu2 Jan 10, 2007 09:42 PM

            My vote would be for Ravenous also. I know people love Dry Creek Kitchen, and maybe it's just my bad luck, but I have had two totally disappointing meals there.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bbleu2
              m
              Maya Jan 10, 2007 10:40 PM

              Me too! I was really disappointed on two meals there. Doesnt live up to the other places in town. Cyrus was mind-blowing, on the other hand.

            2. swag Jan 10, 2007 09:29 PM

              Ravenous is pretty good. Cyrus is pretty good. But my hands-down favorite is the semi-pretentious but always good Dry Creek Kitchen in the Hotel Healdsburg. A Charlie Palmer place, but I wouldn't hold that against it.

              1. j
                j3rdbase Jan 10, 2007 08:28 PM

                I second the recommendation for Ravenous. Also Healdsburg Charcuterie has excellent French "comfort" food-also very low key and quiet inside. We also like Willy's Seafood Bar-mostly small plates, but a very creative and eclectic menu. Both places are very reasonably priced and very close to the square. Also, a very interesting lunch suggestion is the reserve room at Mayo Family Winery, also near the square. They do 7 small tastes of food, matched with 7 of their wines for $20 per person. It was very well done and they were very generous with the wine pours.

                1. i
                  iheartpork Jan 10, 2007 07:30 PM

                  Do check out The Cheese Shop in Healdsburg, for a GREAT selection of yummy cheeses and wine from around the world.

                  Just not on Sunday--the shop is closed.

                  http://www.doraliceimports.com/cheese...

                  1. e
                    ellenm Jan 10, 2007 04:18 PM

                    This is a site that posts menus
                    http://www.healdsburgmenus.com/index....

                    I disgree about Cyrus - it's well worth the money. Bovolo is a cafeteria style restuarant and quite expensive and I don't find it to be as good as their restuarant in Santa Rosa. On the lower end there are some great taquierias and bakeries. Tres Sombreros and the Creamery are two places to check out.

                    1. d
                      DavidT Jan 10, 2007 04:07 PM

                      Be sure to do a search for both Healdsburg and Cyrus. You will find many prior posts here that will provide useful info.

                      1. Pip Jan 10, 2007 04:02 PM

                        I would recommend Ravenous or Ravenette Cafe. Incredible food, very chill and low key - not pretentious at all. I would recommend going to both of these restaurants instead of Cyrus at all, which I think is way overpriced and obnoxious.

                        Also, if you're looking for a great place for breakfast/lunch/brunch, check out Bovolo - located right on the town square. It's owned by the same people that run Zazu.

                        FYI - these 4 spots are all local favorites.

                        Show Hidden Posts