Where there is world-class wine, excellent restaurants will follow, and the city of Healdsburg is a perfect example. This small town in the heart of Sonoma County, California is full of great restaurants, including several that have been awarded Michelin stars. This won’t be a budget dining destination, but it will be unforgettable.
My husband Jason and I have had the opportunity to visit Healdsburg three times in the last two years and we have eaten at the city’s most well known restaurants along with a few hidden gems. After much exploration, here are the best restaurants that we recommend.
Part of my trip was hosted by the Heldsburg Tourism Improvement District, but all opinions are my own.
Immediately after Barndiva earned a Michelin star in 2021 I tried to get a reservation and was unsuccessful. A year later we finally had reservations but were concerned that we would have to cancel due to epic rainstorms in Northern California. Luckily we made it safely to Healdsburg and finally got the chance to have dinner at the Barndiva.
Prepare for a decadent, seasonal four-course tasting menu featuring sustainably grown vegetables and locally sourced meats and fish. After a small bite of amuse bouche, we enjoyed our first course, Crudo of Mount Lassen trout. The next round brought us smoky potato soup and egg yolk dumplings. For the third course, I ordered the Maine lobster and Jason had the rotisserie chicken. To top it off, we ended with a Paris Brest dessert, a round puff pastry filled with hazelnut cream. This was a meal I will remember for a long time.
What you can order from Barndiva
The menu at Barndiva is constantly changing. Each course has two choices on the menu. If you’re dining with a partner, I suggest choosing one at a time so you can sample everything that’s on offer. And if you like cocktails, I recommend the Weller Manhattan, made with 12-year-old bourbon, vermouth, and Tahitian vanilla.
Pro Tip: Reservations are required at the Barndiva as walk-ins are not permitted. If you are visiting on a weekend you will need to book a few weeks in advance.
2. The Matheson Roof 106
I’m a fan of rooftop restaurants and bars, so despite the cold and rainy weather during our recent trip to Healdsburg, I knew we had to try The Matheson’s Roof 106. This might be the best designed rooftop restaurant I have ever seen. A generous number of ceiling fans and heaters are mounted on the patio cover to moderate the temperature for guest comfort. But none of that would matter if the food wasn’t good – and it was really good.
It’s not entirely Italian, but wood-fired pizzas are the star of the show here. Many have unique combinations of ingredients, but appetizers are also available for heartier appetites; although a full meal is not required. Stop by for a cocktail or glass of wine with a snack and just enjoy the view of Healdsburg Plaza.
What to order at The Matheson’s Roof 106
We recommend starting with the Delicata Pumpkin Fries, moving on to the Not So “Hawaiian” Pizza, and then ordering the whole roasted branzino for an appetizer. If you’ve got room – we had – cap off the evening with a warm chocolate and potato chip cookie served with a shot of espresso martini.
Pro Tip: Roof 106 is only part of this building. Below is the Michelin recommended restaurant The Matheson along with the wine bar and the wall serving 88 wines on tap.
3. Asahi Sushi & Kitchen
Asahi Sushi & Kitchen is currently a hidden Japanese gem on Healdsburg Avenue, but I don’t think it will stay that way for long. Opened as a take-out only restaurant during the pandemic, Asahi is now a full-service dining room and sushi bar that locals return to regularly.
Chef and owner, Nobuyuki Asahi, serves traditional sushi using quality fish, often sourced from Japan. While you can order sushi rolls, this restaurant is known for nigiri and sashimi. Sit at the sushi bar and watch a true master at work.
What you can order at Asahi Sushi & Kitchen
Be bold and let Chef Nobu choose your dinner. Known as omakase, this is always the way to go at an exceptional sushi restaurant. And be sure to pair your meal with a bottle of Harris Gallery’s Chenin Blanc.
Pro Tip: Before dinner, take a moment to browse the Harris Gallery across the street. The paintings of the father-son team MC and A3L3XZAND3R are very good.
4. Guiso Latin Fusion
When we first visited, Guiso Latin Fusion was also a hidden gem among restaurants in Healdsburg, but that has since changed. Chef Carlos’ Salvadoran and Caribbean-inspired cuisine has become well known in the region, and with good reason. The focal point of this tiny restaurant is the open kitchen, where everyone can watch the chef at work.
What you can order at Guiso Latin Fusion
The Paella Caribena is very popular and Jason and I both enjoyed it. In our opinion, however, the best dish on the menu was the pescado en salsa de coco – a crispy-skinned fish of the day garnished with papaya coconut emulsion, lime foam and Thai basil. We also ordered a bottle of Santiago Ruiz Rias Baixas.
Pro tip: There is a small outdoor seating area at Guiso’s, but ask to sit inside to enjoy the open kitchen experience and watch the chef cook.
5. Brava’s Bar De Tapas
In Healdsburg you can eat your way around the world, and if you’re craving Spanish cuisine, Bravas Bar De Tapas on Center Street is the place to be. As a matter of fact, Travel + Leisure named it one of the top 20 tapas restaurants in the United States. And no matter what type of small plate you enjoy — hot or cold — it’s on this menu. If you like it stronger, order the paella for two or four people. There are some local wines on the wine list but I really appreciated the selection of Spanish wine pairings.
What to order at Bravas Bar De Tapas
We went with the really traditional tapas dishes like boquerones, patatas bravas, sardines picante, marinated olives and pan tomato and all were good.
Pro tip: Just a few doors down from Brava’s Tapas you’ll find both SingleThread Farms and Journeymen Meat Co. for authentic and local dining experiences.
6. French Bakery Costeaux
All mornings would be good if they started in a French bakery. Luckily, Jason and I did just that one morning while having breakfast at the Costeaux French Bakery. This acclaimed family business sells a wide variety of cakes, breads and pastries, both in Healdsburg and throughout Sonoma County. In addition to breakfast, the cafe serves lunch and Sunday brunch daily.
What to order at Costeaux French Bakery
If you’re looking for a healthy but seriously delicious breakfast, get the avocado toast with pickled red onions and smoked salmon. And be sure to order one of their coffee drinks, served with a small piece of their sweet and crunchy Rugelach.
Pro tip: If you’re visiting Healdsburg on vacation, be sure to stop by Costeaux on Healdsburg Ave to see the massive Nutcracker exhibit. Hundreds of nutcrackers of all shapes, sizes and colors adorn the walls.
7. Spoon bar
We were very fortunate to stay at the h2hotel in downtown Healdsburg during our recent trip to Healdsburg, so it was easy to enjoy breakfast at their stylish on-site restaurant Spoonbar. Whether you choose to eat breakfast or dinner here, you’ll find delicious, seasonal California cuisine.
What you can order at Spoonbar
Be sure to order the chilaquiles with two soft poached eggs, queso fresco, cilantro, and guajillo salsa roja. We’ve been told this has long been a guest favorite and now we know why.
Pro tip: Be sure to admire the sculpture before or after dining in the Spoonbar Spoon by Ned Khan, which is located at the entrance of the hotel. Hundreds of espresso spoons were used to create this peaceful sculpture and water feature.
8. Black Oak Coffee
Everywhere I travel I seek out independent coffee shops and Black Oak Coffee Roasters fit the bill perfectly. Its location in the town square makes it easy to find and within walking distance of many Healdsburg hotels. And considering how many people greeted each other as they walked in, Black Oak is a local favorite, too.
The roastery has been around since 2012 and prides itself on ethically sourcing beans and giving back to the community. Their coffee blends include a range of roast levels and multiple organic options.
What you can order at Black Oak Coffee
If you’re hungry, grab the breakfast burrito; they are tasty and cheap. Jason enjoyed the bacon version while I opted for the vegetarian option. Whatever coffee drink you prefer, it’s done well here.
Pro tip: After enjoying your coffee, head outside into the small alleyway next to Black Oak to see a mural from The Monarch Project. If only all streets looked like this.
Less than an hour and a half from San Francisco and Napa Valley wine country, see everything there is to do outside of Healdsburg: