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May 28, 2007 01:38 PM

Healdsburg help, please

Have visited Healdsburg about 4 years ago and after beginning to research dining options in preparation for a summer journey back to Sonoma wine country, I'm noticing that restaurants have changed. Cyrus is the new big thing and I can't find a thing about Ravenous Cafe. We have three nights to spend wining & dining in the area. I've booked one evening at Dry Creek in Healdsburg and one at Taverna Santi in Geyserville (ate there last time & had a transcendent meal!)...any suggestions for a not-completely-over-the-top Friday night dinner in & around the area?

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  1. Years ago I took my son to the Madrona Manor. I enjoyed my meal but you could use an updated review. My boy asked to order from the prie fixe menu and I acquiesced on the condition that he, being veggie averse, eat everything even if it was red, green or purple. The first course was white asparagus apparently not covered in the oral agreement.
    They substituted carpaccio.

    3 Replies
    1. re: wolverine61

      If you don't mind driving a bit north I would recommend Mirepoix in Windsor - very small, cozy bistro. The sweetbreads with frittes is an indulgent slice of heaven! Reservations are a must.

      1. re: brokergal

        I've heard good things about Mirepoix, but just a quick note, Windsor is south of Healdsburg, not north.

        1. re: Kathleen M

          I echo this sentiment exactly.

          Farm House Inn for intimate, elegant setting.
          Zazu for rustic 'lets you know you're in Sonoma' casual setting

      Zin, 344 Center St
      Ravenette: 117 North St (707) 431-1770
      Ravenous Café 420 Center Street
      Bistro Ralph 109 Plaza St.

      For casual breakfasts: the Downtown Bakery and Cafe— I recommend the truffled poached eggs and croissant; and, scrambled eggs with biscuit (a lovely melange of snow peas and diced ham in perfectly scrambled eggs has set a new standard for scrambled eggs for my DH) or, a stop at Bovolo for their bacon baklava...filo layered with bacon cooked with dates and maple syrup! The first taste of this sent my tastebuds into shock, but I recovered and by the third bite I was hooked. - 25k -

      6 Replies
      1. re: Cynsa

        For something different, but yummy, if you like Japanese. Sake-O in Healdsburg. It is a "Californized" Japenese- check website I am not enamored of Ravenous Cafe or Zin. Hopefully Dry Creek has come abck from its slump.There are better options in Northern Sonoma.

        1. re: zinfanatic

          I have heard SO many mixed things about Dry Creek Kitchen as of late...I'm a NYer and haven't yet been to Aureole but have heard more consistent raves...I had eaten at Ravenous and remember really liking something about it - the food? ambiance? not sure. Am curious also about the Farmhouse Inn (though wasn't wowed by the seemed similar to Blue Hill in NYC but with a less stellar menu) and Zazu. Have a rezzie at Cyrus at this point to check out the hype, but unsure if I'll keep it...

          1. re: nycreba

            Dry Creek was my favorite restaurant when it first opened, but it consistently got a little worse each time until I stopped going. My parents went a few months ago and said that it hadn't gotten any better. I also mentioned it to Mateo at the Santa Rosa Farmer's Market, who I believe was once Chef de Cuisine there. He said the same thing about quality declining as the restaurant focused more on making money and less on the quality of the food. I'd love to be surprised about it, though.

            1. re: LikeFrogButOOOH

              Mateo Granados was the former exec chef at Dry Creek Kitchen. Please do grace us with a post on what you've tried from him. I'm a big fan.

            2. re: nycreba

              Farm House Inn is a great, intimate, not fancy, but not ripped jeans restaurant.

              Zazu is, to me, the quintessential Sonoma restaurant. It is really very good. But you wouldn't be wrong if you called it a roadhouse... diner? Seriously, people go in shorts, jeans, whatever. It is just off the road in a glorified barn. But the food is this great combination of New American and Northern Italian. For example, one of their best dishes is a pork shoulder braised in Balsamic vinegar which was served with something along the lines of onion rings, iirc. But it is truly great food, not super expensive, the wine list is excellent, and I really like the service there -- I eat there almost every time I'm in Sonoma because after a day of wine tasting I always want just really good food and a casual vibe that continues to remind me where I am. Strongly reccomended, especially for what it is.

            3. re: zinfanatic

              I'll give you a me too on Sake-O. It's fun and shouldn't be too expensive. Madrona Manor is great but I think it's better for brunch, particularly this time of year.

          2. I ate at Ravenous Cafe last summer and was very impressed. I was with a fairly large group and the waitress handled us very well, efficient and also warm. I had last eaten there a few years ago and hadn't been impressed at all, so hadn't been back. But the group wanted to go there, and now I'm really glad they did, because it seemed to me that it had improved. To tell the truth, I don't remember what I had (I'm pretty sure I posted a review shortly afterward, though) but I do remember thinking that everything was very good and tasted very fresh. Taverna Santi has always been one of my favorites, too.

            I haven't been to Manzanita in a few years, but was very impressed when we went. As we tasted each other's food and shared appetizers, I had a chance to taste a lot of different things. I remember that the flatbread appetizer was delicious. (One of my dining companions had had it previously and insisted we order it. It was much better than the menu description sounded.) The oysters were super fresh and good. Everything that I sampled that had come out of the woodfire oven was fantastic. There was a creme fraiche ice cream that was dreamy. I'd love to hear a more recent report.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Kathleen M

              Manzanita just recently changed chefs (and I think owners as well), so their menu has seen a change. The local review says it's not good, but it's Jeff Cox, so who knows.

              Also, I'm a fan of Farmhouse. I've been meaning to go back for a while.

            2. Willie's Seafood and Raw Bar mmmmmmmmmm yummy

              1 Reply
              1. re: fyoulady

                Thanks for the suggestions. We're actually staying in Windsor so Mirepoix might be just right. After that I think its between Willie's (Willis?) and Zazu and Zazu might be a welcome evening since we're capping off with Cyrus two nights later...