The Birds Cafe in Bodega Bay
The newest fish shack on Bodega Bay, The Birds Café, opened four months ago. It has the finest scenery of the casual eateries, complete with a patio overlooking the harbor, accessible via an ADA ramp. While warm and still when we visited, on most days one would need to bundle up to eat here, as there’s no indoor seating.
The menu has shifted a bit from what I’d read about on opening. No more burger or fried pies. Here’s what the menu looked like yesterday,
Artichoke fritters were a standout. Frilly, deep brown yet delicately crisp and non-greasy light batter clinging to quartered artichoke hearts were served up with a ranch dressing dipping sauce.
Clam chowder was, umm, “problematic”. Brought to our outdoor table with a cover on, I was taken aback by the caramel color when the soup was unmasked. Not much in the way of clams, the chowder had carrots and firm pieces of skin-on red potatoes. It also had some mealy bits of potato and a burnt note. The broken up pieces of carrot and potatoes and the stewy, tired flavors seemed like part of this batch had been reheated and stirred too often, as well as burning.
Folks at another table seemed happy with their fish and chips, made with Lagunitas IPA beer batter. The family that runs the place is lovely. But next time, I’d ask for a sample of the chowder before ordering.
The Birds Cafe
1407 Highway One
Bodega Bay, CA
Yes, it was a fantastic day chow and weather-wise! From now until April would be my favorite time to be out there. During the summer it's often foggy on the coast when the temps are warmer inland. During the winter, it will be clear and sunny, as well as warmer than inland on the coast.
We started from Larkfield/Santa Rosa, so took River Road west through Guerneville, then drove south on Highway 1. The views were stunning on the coast route and even though I've seen them many times, I never tire of the scenery. Then we came back through Sebastopol to complete the loop.
Let me mention that The Birds Cafe is located on the water side across the highway from Pelican Plaza, since it doesn't show on google maps yet. We missed it when we were driving south because we'd turned onto Eastshore (where Terrapin is) to get down to the marina and Spud Point, and then took the one-way Bay Flat Rd extension back up to the highway. The Birds is on the small stretch of Hwy 1 in between those two intersections.
The Birds has a good size, level parking lot with a marked disabled parking space. Didn't take a look at the restrooms, but the menu says "ADA Accessible". So, this is a good choice for anyone with mobility issues.