Traveler’s tip: new restaurants, hotel, and bars in Healdsburg and Geyserville

by on July 28, 2010

Looking for the latest openings on the Northern Sonoma wine trail?

The town of Healdsburg serves as the nucleus for three key—and very diverse—Sonoma County wine regions: Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley and Russian River Valley. Once tucked in the shadow of Sonoma and St. Helena, our quaint wine country town has been getting a lot of publicity the past 5-7 years for its coming of age as an epicurean destination, including this recent Los Angeles Times travel article. A walk around the Healdsburg square on Thursday night with my colleague Ben Weinberg, a wine journalist from Boulder, Colo., opened my eyes to yet another wave of new destinations for wine travelers.

So let’s talk about what’s new. (Established restaurants and hotels, such as Cyrus, Ravenous, Willi’s Seafood, Sake ‘O, Dry Creek Kitchen, Zin, Barndiva, Bistro Ralph, Hotel Healdsburg and Les Mars to name a few, should not be overlooked, of course.)

This post was created to offer those traveling to the Healdsburg area a quick list of recent openings. As a local business, we strive to support as many local establishments as possible, so this information is offered purely as news to our readers. I’ve included a list of new spots in downtown Healdsburg, as well as openings in nearby Geyserville. Jordan is located half-way between Healdsburg and Geyserville, so we patron restaurants in both towns. If you’re planning to visit Northern Sonoma wine country and have other questions, please feel free to contact us or visit our Concierge Corner on the home page.

GEYSERVILLE

Restaurants:

Though the winery is reportedly still under renovation, Francis Ford Coppola Winery (formerly Bianco and Rosso, formerly Chateau Souverain) boasts a new restaurant, RUSTIC, Francis’ Favorites, which was scheduled to open yesterday.

A local favorite for decades, Catelli’s The Rex has been resurrected as Catelli’s Restaurant in the historic, brick-walled building owned by the Catelli family and formerly occupied by Santi Restaurant. Santi relocated to Santa Rosa in the spring, and the Catelli family took the move as an opportunity to bring their popular, classic Italian cooking back to Northern Sonoma.

HEALDSBURG

Lodging:

Northern Sonoma County’s newest hotel, h2hotel, is chic, airy and sustainably designed. It’s the sister property to Hotel Healdsburg and sits about a block off Healdsburg Square.

Restaurants:

Located on the street level of h2hotel, Spoonbar (pictured above, courtesy of h2hotel) is downtown Healdsburg’s newest dining hotspot. The open-air bar and restaurant (think West Elm meets Limn with a West Coast vibe) is fantastic for great food, drink and people watching. The menu is considered Mediterranean, a few main courses are served in Moroccan tagines, and every appetizer, small plate and main course our party had was delicious. In a tiny city with many dining choices, Spoonbar has found a niche with its eclectic menu choices and open-front design.

Jordan’s former director of hospitality has opened an Italian restaurant in the former Manzanita space a half-block off Healdsburg square: Baci Cafe & Wine Bar.

Wine Bars:

The owners of Medlock Ames Winery have restored the historic Alexander Valley Store, a century-old building on the corner of 128 Highway and Alexander Valley Road, just down the road from Jordan estate, near the famous Jimtown Store. It now houses Medlock Ames Tasting Room and Alexander Valley Bar and features food pairings and organic gardens.

Jean-Charles Boisset has reinvented the former Gallo of Sonoma tasting room into Boisset: Taste of Terroir.  He is married to Gina Gallo, which will likely ensure a smooth transition for the small but centrally located space on a corner of the Healdsburg square.

A Healdsburg square tasting room on Center Street once occupied by a corporate wine tasting portfolio years ago (Fosters, if I’m not mistaken) is now home to Vintage Wine Estates.

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