Friday, May 11, 2012

Mendocino Restaurants

Since there is little lodging in the Anderson Valley and the Mendocino coast is so beautiful, I stay along the coast whenever I go winetasting in this area.  There are some good restaurants in the town of Mendocino and nearby villages.  Recently, I had the opportunity to retry a couple of favorites and to try a restaurant for the first time that's been around for 25 years.

955 Ukiah Street has been welcoming guests in the town of Mendocino since 1987.  It had long been on my list of restaurants to visit.  About three weeks ago, I finally had the opportunity to eat there.  Like most fine restaurants in the area, the meal is not cheap with entrees in the $25 - $35 range.  The setting is casual and the service friendly.  The food was good and both of us enjoyed our dinners but I cannot put 955 Ukiah at the top of my recommendation list for first time visitors.

We returned to two old favorites and were not disappointed.  For the past six years, I think Cafe Beaujolais has had the best food on the Mendocino County coast.  (See my caveat below.)  Ever since David LaMonica bought the restaurant in 2006 and started cooking at Cafe Beaujolais, I believe the food has been a touch above the other good restaurants along the coast.  The prices are similar to 955 Ukiah but the preparation and service are slightly more sophisticated.  If food is your top priority, then this is the place to go when you visit Mendocino.

If you prefer to combine good food with a beautiful ocean view, the Albion River Inn is a terrific choice.  The restaurant (and inn) sit on a bluff overlooking the mouth of the Albion River, about 15 minutes south of the town of Mendocino.  For years, the restaurant has been turning out very good food in a casual setting.  When Mother Nature cooperates, the sunset over the Pacific is beautiful.

My caveat to all of the above is that I only get to the Mendocino County coast about once a year and only get to eat at each restaurant once when I do get there.  Last year I ate at another favorite, Ledford House; another restaurant that combines good food with a stunning view.  For years, I thought it was the equal of Albion River Inn, but last year I thought Albion River Inn had slightly better food and much better service.  The Moosse Cafe is another good restaurant in the town of Mendocino but it would not be my first choice for an excellent meal.  The Restaurant at Stevenswood, south of the town of Mendocino, consistently gets good reviews, but we were disappointed when we dined there about five years ago.  We'll need to try it again.  McCallum House Restaurant also is well reviewed, We dined there long before the current chef took over the kitchen so we'll have to give this restaurant a try next time we visit.

As you can see, there are a number of good dining options when you visit Mendocino.  You won't go wrong at any of the above.

If you would like to take a two-day, one night tour of the Anderson Valley, the town of Mendocino, and the Northern California coast, contact Blue Heron Custom Tours at (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or Rick@BlueHeronTours.com.

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