HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >

Discussion

Staying in Cloverdale, need some help and advice!

  • 30
  • Share

Hello everyone!

New to the board here and my soon-to-be-wife and I will be visiting the region for the very first time as part of our honeymoon in about a week and a half (so close!). Anyway, we are staying up in Cloverdale and were hoping to visit some great wineries and have some good meals. I searched the site and people gave many good recommendations for places South of where we will be--are there some places closer to Cloverdale that people would recommend. Both for food and drink?

We are staying at the Old Crocker Inn, it was recommended to us by some friends, but after that we are pretty much open to anyone that can help us!

Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. You'll definitely want to head west on 128 to Boonville and Anderson Valley. I don't have specific recommendations beyond the Navaro winery, which offers a range of excellent wines. The Boonville Hotel serves dinners, but looking at their site, it appears they may not be serving during the winter.

    1. Cloverdale's in Sonoma County, but Anderson Valley is over the hill in Mendocino County, so is discussed on the California board.

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/316871
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/758736
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/705605
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/523345

      http://www.chow.com/search?query=nava...

      1. Valdez Family Winery has just opened a tasting room in town. I haven't been yet but I am a fan of the wines, such as the Zinfandels.

        For a food and wine experience, Piacere would be your one choice in town. It's been a few years since my last visit but I understand it continues to be a solid choice for Italian.

        Two landmarks in Cloverdale are the Hamburger Ranch & Pasta Farm and Pick's Drive-In. The Hamburger Ranch has a fine selection of beers on draft and usually has a small, but well selected list of medium-priced wines to accompany its casual cuisine. It is the place to get breakfast, grab a burger especially if it's warm enough to sit outside when there will usually be lot of motorbikers too, or give the pastas and salads a try. Pick's is the place to get a burger and milkshake made with local Clover ice cream.

        My go-to places for Mexican in town are Los Girasoles for plates, wonderful aguas frescas, tacos ($1 on friday and saturday night outside), tamales, and Mexican breakfast; and Los Pinos for the great chicharrones by the pound, smoky red salsa that you can buy in bulk, and a quick taco.

        if you're craving Italian-American spaghetti and meatballs, check out Mary's Pizza Shack. ONE giant meatball on that plate of pasta and it's a good one.

        Ruth McGowan's Brewpub had served up some excellent American fare in the past, but it's been a while since I've been there either. The daily specials are posted on a blackboard outside so you can browse before going in. I've often seen prime rib or a rib eye steak on the weekends posted.

        Underground Cafe & Coffee bakes its own breakfast pastries and makes some good sandwiches. It would be a good place to grab something for lunch to-go on one of your wine touring days. And stop at the Ray's Food Place for other picnic deli items, soft drinks, etc. I noticed that there's a new, small market in town near the firehouse but i haven't had a chance to check it out yet.

        I've also included a link for Cafe Nitro. It's new in town and I've not had a chance to try it yet. But maybe you will and can let us know how it is.

        Rather than heading north to Boonville, I would send you south to Geyserville and Healdsburg. They're an easy drive from where you're staying. While it may look far on the map, remember that there's no traffic delays out in the country or on that northern stretch of Hwy 101 so the miles pass quickly. From the Crocker Inn, you can be in the Healdsburg plaza in 25 minutes, even in the winter time when you need to drive north and through downtown Cloverdale. In the summer when the Asti bridge is in, the drive is only 15 mins. The road to Boonville is not nearly as speedy.

        In Geyserville, check out Diavola and Catelli's restaurants. The tasting room at Mercury Wine is fun, and there are a few more tasting rooms along the main drag in Geyserville. From your Inn into downtown Cloverdale is 9-12 minutes, and in another 10 minutes on the freeway, you can be in Geyserville.

        In the past year, i've posted about meals at Zini's Diner and Clovers Sports Bar & Grill. Click on the blue links to bring them up. And you'll find more info about each of the places mentioned by checking their link.

        -----
        Ruth McGowan's Brewpub
        131 E 1st St, Cloverdale, CA

        Piacere
        504 N Cloverdale Blvd, Cloverdale, CA 95425

        Mary's Pizza Shack
        1143 S Cloverdale Blvd, Cloverdale, CA 95425

        Pick's Drive-In
        117 S Cloverdale Blvd, Cloverdale, CA 95425

        Ray's Food Place
        1139 S Cloverdale Blvd, Cloverdale, CA

        Los Girasoles
        512 N Cloverdale Blvd, Cloverdale, CA 95425

        Hamburger Ranch & Pasta Farm
        31195 N Redwood Hwy, Cloverdale, CA 95425

        Underground Coffee & Cafe
        124 S Cloverdale Blvd, Cloverdale, CA 95425

        Los Pinos Deli & Market
        3 Tarman Dr, Cloverdale, CA

        Diavola
        21021 Geyserville Ave, Geyserville, CA 95441

        Clovers Sport Bar & Grill
        236 S Cloverdale Blvd, Cloverdale, CA 95425

        Mercury Wine
        21015 Geyserville Ave, Geyserville, CA 95441

        Zini's Diner
        796 S Cloverdale Blvd, Cloverdale, CA 95425

        Valdez Family Winery
        595 Santana Dr, Cloverdale, CA 95425

        Cafe Nitro
        116 E 1st St, Cloverdale, CA 95425

        12 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          WOW! Thanks for the reply... lots of options! Yeah, I have a co-worker that suggested that we head down to Healdsburg. It did look like a jaunt on Google maps, but if it is as easy as you say, that would be great.

          Coming in for basically a Monday, Tuesday, and half of a Wednesday, so hopefully things won't be too busy. Any need for reservations at any of the places you mentioned? Also, I've heard that it is wise to hire a driver to get from place to place in certain parts if you are going to wineries and have some tastes. How would one do that and any recommendations or tips on the best way to navigate the area.

          I really appreciate all the responses Topo, Robert and Melanie! Awesome info.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Clovers is closed. Ruth McGowan's has great house made microbrews and food quality/menu options have improved. Had biscuits/gravy and fresh strawberries crepes at Zini's Diner last week, real tasty and good coffee too. Tian Yuan is fine for Vietnamese/Thai food.
            Not much goes on in Boonville unless heading for the coast.
            Pick's Drive in hamburger stand seems to be always packed and just reopened for the season.

            -----
            Zini's Diner
            796 S Cloverdale Blvd, Cloverdale, CA 95425

            1. re: ambercontegssa

              Yikes, sorry to hear about Clovers, just marked it as closed in the database.

              Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing Co was the brewmaster at Ruth McGowan's before he had his own place. The food was very good when it first opened, then the star chef left and things went downhill. Then the menu was simplified and they got it together again. I'm glad to hear it's in a good place again.

              I thought the B & G at Zini's Diner were pretty good, but the star for me are the Swedish pancakes from an old family recipe. I'll try the crepes next.

              I did not have good luck at Tian Yuen: complimentary salad, soup, and the bbq pork noodles were uniformly poor. To top it off, I had asked some very specific questions before ordering to find out how the dishes were prepared and what they included, and my food was nothing like what was promised, including lack of various vegetables that were supposed to be there and the kind of noodles. Sonoma County has some really good Thai and Vietnamese options that can be sampled on the way up or back home that would be much better.

              -----
              Tian Yuen
              421 S Cloverdale Blvd, Cloverdale, CA 95425

              Zini's Diner
              796 S Cloverdale Blvd, Cloverdale, CA 95425

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Too bad Clovers is closed... we would definitely be up for a little Sports Bar on Tuesday night to watch some basketball games. Thanks for all the tips and any other ideas on how to make the most out our stay would be much appreciated!

            2. re: Melanie Wong

              It may be easier to get to the places Melanie recommends, and you'll certainly find more gourmet destinations along 101 than in Anderson Valley, but I guarantee you'll be charmed by Anderson Valley. Personally, I'd rather take a drive on a curvy, scenic two-lane blacktop than a freeway.

              1. re: TopoTail

                No question that the scenic route is best when one has the time. The OP can take the curvy country routes that parallel the freeway (e.g., Asti road, River Rd, Dry Creek Valley Rd, Dutcher Canyon Rd) along the winery trails as alternates. Yet, the question was for places that are closer to Cloverdale. Boonville is ~30 miles, outside the SF Bay Area, and an hour's drive from the Old Crocker Inn. One can take the slow road for a 30 minute drive into Geyserville and enjoy the beauty of Alexander Valley from end to end. And since the OP is concerned about driving to wine tasting, one can call a taxi from any winery in Sonoma County for a pick-up, not sure what the situation in Boonville would be cab service.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  You know far better than I do inasmuch I am only up there for a week in late summer, but I have seen wine tour limos at Little River Inn...don't know if they are only for guests there or not but certainly there must be other group offerings?

                  1. re: hazelhurst

                    But what's the spur-of-the-moment taxi situation if one needs a lift after driving some where and feeling not safe to drive back?

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      I suppose I was thinking that ne gets back to the coast and drinks coffee. I have never seen anyone stumbling out of the limos but you are certainly right about not trying any road, let alone 128, if not up to it.

                      1. re: hazelhurst

                        I've heard about the wine tours and group outings, but I am not sure how convenient that would be for us. And I would definitely love to do some more scenic driving too, so maybe that would be an option for one of the days.
                        So, I propose this, with us staying in Cloverdale, if we could only see/eat/do five things in the 2 days we are there, what would you all say we should not miss?
                        Is it possible to hire a driver/cab service for two people for one afternoon? How much would that cost? I appreciate all the feedback!

                        1. re: billykellogg

                          Haven't used it, but just learned of this car service.
                          http://www.onesizeride.com/

                          Many boutique wineries will not accommodate stretch limos, tour vans or buses. You'd miss the best spots if you went that route, so small car option looked good.

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            That is good to know...the wine runs I have seen at Little River Inn have all been either stretch limo or a SUV sort of thing. Their wine guy, John, is very helpful. I've never seen one of those things unload without a riotous superfluity of cases and bottles...never done it though

            3. Santi in Geyserville is a VERY good restaurant and not to far from where you are. One winery I would definitely recommend is Yoakim Bridge. Very small production. Run by a husband and wife. Virginia (the wife) runs the tasting room and is an absolute hoot. They specialize in Zinfandel.

              -----
              Santi
              2097 Stagecoach Road, Suite 100, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

              10 Replies
              1. re: SPICESupperClub

                Santi moved to Santa Rosa a year ago and had a chef change at the start of this year. I agree it has been a very good restaurant. But no longer as close by.

                -----
                Santi
                2097 Stagecoach Road, Suite 100, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  Damn. I didn't know that. What a bummer.

                  1. re: SPICESupperClub

                    Santi has changed chefs successfully a few times in recent years with no bumps. I will agree that it's always a little scary though to hear about. Here's my report on Liza Hinman's cooking, she being the latest chef emeritus.
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/756168
                    Haven't had a chance to return to try out the new toque.

                    -----
                    Santi
                    2097 Stagecoach Road, Suite 100, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      Dang... Santi sounded like it would be pretty cool... definitely try to check out the Yoakim Bridge winery. Any other suggestions? Some people from work suggested Chateau Felice and Clois de Bois (sp?) as possibilities as well... and Geyser Peak? Any information on those would be great! And is there any need to get "reservations" for some of the wineries, or can you just walk in at any time for tastes and bites?

                      One last thing, is Guy Fieri's restaurant Johnny Garlic's worth going to even if it is just to say we went there? Or, is there another place we should make a point to get to?

                      Thanks again everyone!

                      -----
                      Santi
                      2097 Stagecoach Road, Suite 100, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

                      Johnny Garlic's
                      8988 Brooks Rd S, Windsor, CA 95492

                      1. re: billykellogg

                        Geyser Peak and Clois de Bois are giant production houses. I wouldn't recommend going there at all. Here's a google map of a bunch of the wineries I enjoy.

                        http://tiny.cc/NcUGs

                        1. re: SPICESupperClub

                          If you miss the old Santi, it's not hard to revisit the cooking. Chef Dino owns/operates Diavola in Geyserville which was recommended above. Chef Ari owns/operates Scopa in Healdsburg. Both are still traditionalists, serving up food that Italians would recognize. Chef Rudy is at Healdsburg's Spoonbar, but has taken his cooking in another direction. Chef Franco is making sausage and selling them at local farmers markets.

                          One other place that Billy might want to check out is Rustic. I haven't been there yet myself to offer a personal rec. At the previous locations at this venue, I've enjoyed the views of Alexander Valley. Rustic honors owner Francis Ford Coppola's family cooking . . . according the press releases.

                          -----
                          Diavola
                          21021 Geyserville Ave, Geyserville, CA 95441

                          Scopa
                          109 Plaza St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

                          Rustic Francis's Favorites
                          300 Via Archimedes, Geyserville, CA

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            To clarify, the chefs named in the above post are all alums of Santi, or as Santi refers ti them chefs emeriti, and doing great things nearby in their new gigs.

                            -----
                            Santi
                            2097 Stagecoach Road, Suite 100, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

                        2. re: billykellogg

                          To recommend wineries to you, it helps to know what grape varieties and wine styles you prefer. Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir or?

                          If you like Johnny Garlic's, then the other advice you've rec'd in this thread is pointless.

                          -----
                          Johnny Garlic's
                          8988 Brooks Rd S, Windsor, CA 95492

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            So I guess that's a NO on Johnny Garlics. I don't like Johnny Garlic's because I have never been... just had to ask as other people told us about it. We will hit up some of the others that have been mentioned in the the thread.

                            -----
                            Johnny Garlic's
                            8988 Brooks Rd S, Windsor, CA 95492

                  2. re: SPICESupperClub

                    David Coffaro's another one that you won't see in wine shops.

                    -----
                    David Coffaro Vineyard & Winery
                    7485 Dry Creek Rd, Geyserville, CA

                  3. Unti makes great wine, don't miss it.

                    Terra Savia is interesting and rare. http://terrasavia.com

                    -----
                    Unti Vineyards
                    4202 Dry Creek Rd, Healdsburg, CA

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Second the Dry Creek area. It's almost like driving around in France. Lots of small, excellent wineries. If you're interested in a picnic, Preston Vineyards is a great place for one, and their wine is very nice.

                      1. re: TopoTail

                        Great idea. Go to the Dry Creek General store and get some food and then head over to Preston.

                        1. re: SPICESupperClub

                          Sounds great! Thanks for the suggestion, we will definitely see about doing that... Healdsburg and Geyserville seem like good bets to head to on our vacation.