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Jan 17, 2008 10:40 AM

Valentines Dinner near Mendocino?

My boyfriend and I have the luxury of taking a week off and spending it in a cabin just south of Mendocino. We'll be up there for Valentine's day and are looking for a place to have a romantic and yummy dinner. Pricewise we would like to get out of there for at or below $150 total with wine, and we are open to any cuisine. I'm also interested in hearing of any local bakeries, sandwich places, farmers markets, etc. to explore the week we are there! Thanks in advance for your help.

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  1. I would recomend the Cliff House in Fort Bragg. It is not associated with the Cliff House in San Francisco. It's been a few years since I have dined there. The view is wonderful. You are on the river harbor entrance with a view of the ocean. THey may have couple's specials for the Valentine's weekend. Ask for a window seat when you call to make reservations, I am sure it will be busy.

    Cliff House of Fort Bragg
    Tel: 707.961.0255
    1011 South Main Street
    Fort Bragg, CA 95437

    Fort Bragg is about 12 miles north of Mendocino and the road is nice and wide from Mendo to FB.

    1 Reply
    1. re: KrisSal

      Not for your special dinner but the North Coast Brewery in Fort Bragg has great food and the best beers brewed anywhere in the world. Old Rasputin Imperial Stout is the creamiest beer! Brother Theloniuos is the best belgian style ale I have ever had. rated the best micro brewery in the US by Beer Advocate magazine and Michael Jackson (the beer critic not the freak).

    2. The Mendo Bistro does terrific food and the service is very good too. I don't know as I'd classify it as romantic but it is dimly lit and if you specify some privacy you'd probably get it.

      1. If you're going to be south of Mendocino, try the Albion River Inn for dinner. It’s likely to be right within your price-range. Another good restaurant in Albion is the Ledford House. They’re not always open so you’d need to check beforehand.

        In Mendocino, Café Beaujolais and The Moosse Café are both good.

        If you’re going up to Fort Bragg, the best restaurant I can recommend is The Restaurant, which is on North Main St. Skip The Cliff House (no offense to the other person who replied). I grew up in FB, and the last time I was there, a few months ago, TCH had gone very downhill. It’s a shame because the view is, indeed, very nice.

        It looks like the Farmer’s Market is closed down for now (winter). In Mendo, go to Mendosa’s to stock up on food. I visited recently and they’ve done quite a bit of work with the store. It feels more upscale and they have a great selection and a decent prepared food section.

        Have fun :-)

        1. I love The Mendocino Cafe in Mendocino (right in town). They have an emphasis on organic food. The setting is simple and down-home. Probably not what you are looking for with regards to a Valentine's Dinner, but any other meal there will be great. We often eat there multiple times when visiting Mendocino.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Enorah

            Thanks to everyone for all of these excellenet suggestions! I will research them all more thoroughly before we leave and make a final decision. One more thing though - I just looked at the map and we are actually going to be in Manchester, so 25 miles south of Mendocino. I think we plan on heading to Mendocino for V-day, but does anyone have any other suggestions for places in Point Arena, Manchester, Elk, or the vicinity? Not just special occasion restaurants, but bars, grocery stores, coffee shops, farmers markets, etc. Thanks!

            1. re: teresalynne

              St. Orre's in Gualala, a little south of Manchester.

              1. re: teresalynne

                Queenie's in Elk for breakfast or lunch.

                But phone first, as they close in the winter for a few weeks

                1. re: teresalynne

                  keep in mind that if you are 25 miles south, it could easily take you forty five minutes to an hour to drive to Mendocino (curvy roads, steep drop-offs etc) Personally, there is NO way I'd do that for a Valentine's Day dinner: you wouldn't be able to drink before you come back, you'd be tired and stressed from the drive, and given that VDay can be a disappointing day to dine, it doesn't seem worth it. Steaks or pasta in front of the fire in your cabin would be much, much more romantic.

                  Everything I've heard about Albion River Inn hints that dining there is about the view, not the food. I'd call about their menu, as they are the type of place that will do a more expensive pre-fixe for V-Day, and if you do go, go early (before sunset, as there won't be any view after dark)

              2. Since you're staying down in Manchester, I agree with a previous poster that you don't really want to drive all the way up the coast for a romantic meal, and back again. It's windy, it's slow, and there are deer after dark. I'd consider going to either the St Orres in Gualala or to Pangaea, also in Gualala. Much closer to where you'll be staying. I've celebrated several anniversaries at the St Orres, and it's a lovely, intimate setting with great food.

                There's a big store, oddly enough the Manchester Country Store or similar, that has most of the necessities: food, hardware, videos, etc. Gualala has a big grocery store, and there must be something in Pt Arena. Pt Arena even has a theatre where they show first-run movies. And if you're ging out to the lighthouse at Pt Arena, take a hike out to the waterfall at the new Stornetta Preserve -- you can read about it on my blog at An easy 1-mile hike out to a waterfall dropping into the ocean, with the lighthouse in the distance.

                If you're determined to make it up to Mendocino, some of my favorites for romantic dining would be Cafe Beaujolais in Mendocino, or maybe the little upstairs room at 955 Ukiah, or maybe next to a fireplace at the MacCallum House Restaurant. All of those are in Mendocino. In Ft Bragg, I'd agree that The Restaurant is good and quiet, more of a local's place than the upscale places -- but excellent. The place is filled with the paintings of Olaf Palm, so it has a decidedly different atmosphere. I also like Rendezvous, and Mendo Bistro is good but a bit noisy unless you request something in the back.

                One side note: someone mentioned Queenie's in Elk. It's a great breakfast spot -- my favorite on the coast. They're closed right now for their winter break, but they open up I believe on Feb 15th. Breakfast or lunch till 3pm, and a nice mix of locals, visitors, and passing-through folks.