Campo Fina in Healdsburg: Lunch + Bocce
Campo Fina opened last month, off the plaza and around the corner from its sibling, Scopa. Only open for dinner initially, on Friday lunch service was initiated. Yesterday I stopped in after shopping at the Saturday morning farmers market.
Like Scopa, the dark interior space is long and narrow with two rows of tables hugging the side walls and a bar at the back. But the payoff is the expansive dining patio outside.
Culinary herb plants line the walkway leading to the massive outdoor bar.
At the heart of the patio, a wood-burning pizza oven and an ample shack filled with dough proofing boxes and workspace for pizza prep. Liza Shaw, ex-A16, consulted on the pizza menu. Pizza is only served at dinner so I’ll have to return. The oven was first lit for the day during lunch, as shown here.
The back alley way has been transformed into a bocce court complete with benches for observers.
I picked a tall two-top with bar stools at a corner next to the court. Having spotted ex-Cyrus barkeep, Erika Frey, in the front bar arranging her many jewel-toned seasonal infusions, ordering a cocktail was a must. Bevini are wine or beer-based, here’s the beverage menu,
My server asked if I preferred fruity sweeter drinks vs. refreshing drier concoctions. In the latter category, she recommended Freschezza or my ultimate choice, Portofino, made with Sanbitter, Prosecco, lemon juice and rhubarb with an orange peel twist. Though the intense orange-red hue of the bubbly Portofino would seem to signal otherwise, this was refreshingly tart with a touch of bitters as promised.
Campo Fina’s Il Pranzo (lunch) menu is mostly sandwiches, as shown here,
The Tutti al Giorno (all day) menu had what I wanted, Cichetti (little bites), for sampling,
Tuna stuffed sweet n spicy peppers, $3, one of the cichetti included five meaty cherry peppers over-filled with lightly dressed tuna salad and garnished with a handful of arugula. Indeed spicy hot yet held in check by the candy-sweetness, and quite a deal at this price.
For my second plate, Burrata, grilled bread, eggplant, caramelized figs, calabrian chili, smoked olive oil, $12.50, from the Bella Mangiata section of the all day menu. The burrata was very fresh and tender, and the taste, richer than the familiar Gioia, so I asked about the source. While Scopa uses Gioia burrata, Campo Fina serves Di Stefano burrata delivered by FedEx from Southern California. Di Stefano ( http://www.distefanocheese.com/ ) encases imported Italian panna in the core of its burrata. Truly blissful to pair this burrata drizzled with DCV olive oil with Larry Pacini’s housemade ciabatta bread (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/599906 ). And while it might not look like much, another kitchen score with the sweet-smoky-spicy eggplant and fig marriage. Similar in color, texture and seeded-ness, casual observation alone would not pick apart the fig component from the eggplant. Only the occasional random discovery of sweeter flesh across the palate teased out the fig versus the savory taste of the look-alike eggplant, creating a Cartesian riddle in the mouth.
While I did not order dessert, I took a look at the dolce menu,
and La Cena (dinner) menu,
My server said the menus change every day. So far, they’re not posted to the website or facebook page.
As a side note, Chef/owner Ari Rosen was celebrating the 92nd birthday of his grandfather.
I congratulated Grandpa Bruno on his anniversary and he shared his birthday cake from Jasmine Rae bakery in San Francisco, a giant chocolate Buddha.
Campo Fina’s easy casualness and roomy outdoor space make it a wonderful venue for family celebrations of this kind. The patio was full of locals, including farmers from the market, on its second day of lunch service through word of mouth alone. With continuous service from lunch through close, delicious libations and a menu featuring lighter, vegetable-based choices for every day eating, this will be one of Healdsburg’s most popular gathering places.
330 Healdsburg Ave
All day menu 11:30-10:00
When we were up that way last weekend, we were told by a Healdsburg resident that it stayed open until 1a for drinks and bocce but this didn't match with posted hours. More specifically, we were told to go through the "unmarked wooden door", but its door isn't wooden! But maybe that's the place two doors down? In any case, it's worth checking out if you're in town and need something to do late night.