The Sonoma County Wine County town of Healdsburg is a hot spot of great dining experiences, and if there is one cuisine Healdsburg is known for, it’s Italian.
Not spaghetti and meatballs, but rustic, regional Italian celebrating local ingredients and often unexpected, authentic recipes. Here's a quick overview.
A relative newcomer to Healdsburg, Campo Fina finesses the art of distinctive dining, bringing a big city feel to this Wine Country town, with dishes like salsa verde anchovy eggs.
The patio is a destination in itself. The café in front is small and narrow, but packed with chic statement. What used to be a storage lot out back is now an al fresco hot spot, anchored by a freestanding wood-burning pizza oven, bocce court, and a full bar.
You could make a full meal from the bar menu, nibbling on spicy fried chickpeas, burrata smeared on grilled bread with prosciutto, or fingerling potatoes smashed and ried, with mustard aioli and parsley.
But bigger entrees will call your name, perhaps a hearty meatball sandwich on a crusty artisan roll, or a tiny, perfect portion of chicken that had better be ordered as soon as you sit down, because it’s made in limited amounts and “once it’s gone, it’s gone.” Or go for a wood-fired pizza, with options like grilled brocollini or Pizza Bianca (fontina, winter squash, carmalized onions, rosemary, radicchio, and aged balsamic).
Pizzando is also relatively new, and also offers unique taste sensations. It took three chefs — Spoonbar/h2hotel chef Louis Maldonado, chef de cuisine Ben Davies (formerly Petite Syrah in Santa Rosa), and former A16 toque Liza Shaw as consulting chef — to put together this 18-seat eatery, set around an open kitchen accented by a wood oven.
Pizzando is an Italian term for “the art of making pizza,” according to the bistro owners Piazza Hospitality Group, and this is artistic pie, in such combinations as shaved bottarga (salty shaved tuna roe pouch), fennel, aleppo pepper, and garlic oil.
It’s clear the three chefs had a great time putting together the ambitious menu, which is as “basic” as braised pork shoulder tumbled with grilled broccolini, vinegared plum slices, crunchy hazelnuts, and bits of pork fat, or as ambitious as hamachi collar over melon and scallions.
Such inventive recipes call for creative cocktails, and Spoonbar bartender Cappy Sorentino delivers with a signature bottled Negroni, or seasonal Bellinis.
Another new kid on the block, Journeyman Meat Company made the Zagat Guide’s list of “Essential Sonoma County Restaurants” for 2018. In addition to its Old World-style curated butcher counter, it offers a limited menu (including pizzas) from its wood-fired oven, its own handmade salumi and smoked sausages, and seasonal meat and wine pairings.
The menu changes weekly; recent selections included a Bianco Pizza (roasted leeks with bacon and farm egg); a roasted 3 oz. Market Steak served with arugula, parmigano reggiano, and grilled bread; a Bacon Burger; and a Sausage Trio Board featuring family recipes with locally raised pork.
Baci Café & Wine Bar features regional Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, paired with wines from Sonoma, Napa, and Italy. Baci (which means “kisses” in Italian) offers a creative and delicious menu, with sustainable and organic-based cooking methods.
Choose from pizza from the wood burning oven, a wide variety of pasta dishes, the Chef’s Tasting Menu (five to seven courses), large combination platters, or seasonal dishes like Al Forno (pasta rolls filled with fresh Dungeness crab).
Traditional Italian Favorites
For even more possibilities, check our listings of all Sonoma County Restaurants.