Getaway time? We have an idea for you. Head three hours north of the city to the seaside hamlet of Mendocino. It looks like someone basically picked up ¼ of Nantucket and dropped it on the California coast.
We have some of our favorites picked out for food and drink en route, plus some spots in the quaint town of Mendocino. For a tiny little village, the place has some seriously good food.
ON THE WAY
Right off the main “highway” (it’s a two lane road), Anderson Valley Brewing in Boonville is always worth a pit stop. They have a big tasting room, an outdoor area with tons of picnic tables, and a food truck serving great Mexican food to keep your stomach full for the rest of the drive.
One of the best general stores you will ever encounter. Do they sell small pieces of $25 cheese? Sure. But they also have awesome sandwiches, snacks, sides (we’re pretty taken with the curry chicken salad) and everything you need for a winery picnic. Obviously the saddles turned into bar stools are a big draw too.
Excellent al pastor and carnitas tacos are the name of the game at Libby’s. It’s pretty close to several wineries, so it can get a bit crowded. Try heading there on the earlier side for lunch or make a reservation.
Wild Fish is very easy to miss. Mainly because it’s tucked behind a post office and dumpy general store on the highway. Small but mighty, Wild Fish is the best restaurant in the area, hands down, with prices to match. You definitely need a reservation for dinner - and it’s definitely worth the planning for the views and ridiculously fresh seafood. If you’d rather go with the flow, popping in with a small group for lunch can work.
Always filled with locals, Goodlife makes excellent breakfast burritos, quiche, and granola and has very solid coffee as well. The outdoor patio on a sunny morning is where you want to be.
Trillium is one of the many restaurants in Mendocino housed in an old, converted house. It’s a pretty cool experience, and it doesn’t hurt that the decadent food (lots of butter) is very good as well.
This pub is located in an old, slightly divey, looking house on one of Mendocino’s main streets. The beer list is great and the nachos are straight-up incredible (the chips are made in-house). You went on a hike earlier, so no regrets.
Bed and breakfasts apparently comprise 90% of the Mendocino economy. We’re not complaining. They’re adorable and generally great. MacCallum House is one of the nicer ones in town, and their breakfast is tops - get the eggs benedict or breakfast burrito. The dinner situation is fancy and also worth checking out.
Cafe Beaujolais is in another restored house and serves rich, delicious food - sensing a theme? This corner spot offers French food, really nice service and white tablecloths for a slightly upscale vibe. The sturgeon and duck are strong choices, and definitely save room for dessert. You want that coconut cream pie.
Outdoor patios are a very important part of Mendocino, and the one at this cafe is a great spot for lunch, especially on a sunny day. The curry mussels and salads are good, and if you’re really hungry, the fish or crab cake sandwiches are where it’s at.
Definitely on the fancier end, Goldeneye has high-end wines and an extremely pleasant outdoor area with Adirondack chairs and A+ vineyard views.
Some of the better Pinot Noir around can be found at Toulouse. The family-owned vineyard also has incredible views, a friendly vibe, and is very pro-pet.
Roederer has sparkling wine, rosé, and a rustic, chill vibe that’s a nice contrast to drinking bubbly. ROSE ALL DAY. Or maybe just half the day since you’re probably driving.
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