Eating out in Healdsburg
We'll be visiting California from London in September. I've got my San Francisco eating agenda sorted (Nopa, State Bird, Zuni Cafe, etc), but we'll then be moving on to Healdsburg for a couple of nights. Looks like there's a lot of places to eat in the area, but are there any must-do's? As you can see from our SF list, we like informal places where a buzzy atmosphere and good food are priorities. Not particularly fussed about ethnicity of the food - Asian is as welcome as Mediterranean, American or anywhere else. A good wine list is a bonus (particularly as I hope to be celebrating my graduation as a Master of Wine while in Sonoma). Don't want anywhere really formal or pretentious.
Looking forward to reading your suggestions.
Neither of my suggestions are in Healdsburg proper, but maybe they'll appeal to you anyway...
I know you said wine, but if you are at all interested in beer, you have to check out Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa. Totally unique beers and a really fun casual atmosphere.
Our favorite fancier meal in the area was at Applewood in Guerneville. If you're planning on going to Louis Armstrong Park to see the redwoods, this would be convenient for you. There are posts on this board about Applewood if you do a search.
Mateo's does have an interesting menu, a departure from what you might usually think of as Mexican food.
Tapas Bravas has the usual things you might expect on a tapas menu. They have a great outdoor patio and also great happy hour deals (if you want a light snack/early dinner).
Barndiva is a more upscale and refined experience, but completely representative of the local, seasonal Northern California.
If you don't mind driving a little bit north of downtown Healdsburg, in the tiny town of Geyerserville there is a pizza restaurant, they also make their own charcuterie and have other items on the menu. It is called Diavola.
There are very few places in Sonoma County that are formal or pretentious. But the service is friendly and professional and you will find great food. Most restaurants also have good wine lists (although not necessarily extensive) featuring local producers. Some are also very liberal about corkage, if you find something while you are out tasting that you would like to drink with dinner. Congratulations and Enjoy!
My recommendation for a must do? The "Food and Wine Pairing" at Arista Winery. Several course lunch, each paired to an Arista wine plus a tour of the garden. We really enjoyed our visit last fall.
Another rec is Scopa, especially if you can hit Winemaker Wednesday.
Spoonbar/Healdsburg, in the H2 Hotel. We've eaten at 51 different restaurants in Sonoma Cty over the last four years in our travels there, and Louis Maldonado's food has been the best of all so far. Spoonbar just won inclusion into Wine Enthusiast's list of 2014 Best 100 Wine Restaurants, as well.