Best Restaurant Patios in Healdsburg: Outdoor Dining in Wine Country
The charming storefronts around downtown Healdsburg don’t reveal one of its hidden secrets: backyard patios. Several restaurants offer al fresco dining from spring through fall and some year-round. Here’s a list for your next trip to one of the best small towns in America, located in Northern Sonoma wine country.
Named one of the top 20 tapas restaurants in the country by Travel + Leisure, Bravas Bar de Tapas has what we think is one of the country’s most charming backyard patios for outdoor dining. Open year-round (weather permitting) although it’s mostly enjoyed from March through November, Bravas’s patio is surrounded by lush orange trees, has movable umbrellas to help shade dining tables when necessary and is anchored by a dedicated bar with additional seating. The Stark family’s eclectic menu highlights small bites inspired by traditional and modern Spanish cooking. Unwind with their house-made sangria or one of their seasonal craft cocktails, such as the El Soro (a G&T reinvented with Barr Hill gin, pink peppercorns and citrus) and the Terri-Gone Wild (a spicy, citrusy take on a Dark & Stormy). Snack on tomato gazpacho, figs in bacon and croquetas while Fido relaxes by your feet. This dog-friendly spot even has complimentary water bowls and biscuits for your pet.
Bravas Bar de Tapas
420 Center Street, Healdsburg, CA
The most spacious patio in town, Mateo’s welcomes guests to its airy backyard surrounded by the chef’s herb and vegetable garden. Seasonal tequila cocktails, such as blood red orange and pomegranate margaritas, the Partida Blanco Mojito made with White Crane Ranch Mint or the salsa fresca cocktail, are local favorites. (This week, Dry Creek Peach Farm margaritas are drawing summer-sipper crowds, though the always available paloma, pictured above, should not be missed.) His drinks pair perfectly with a long afternoon on the patio while snacking on addictive tacones, ceviche and the guacamole salsa trio. Situated across from the popular spoonbar, Mateo’s serves some of the most creative, fresh dishes in town, which combine local ingredients with Yucatan flair and European cooking techniques. No tacos here, and don’t overlook the “vegetables and greens” section of the menu. Don’t miss the live music on Wednesday and Thursday nights either.
Mateo’s Cocina Latina
214 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg, CA
Come for the pizza, stay for the bocce. Don’t miss the most secluded patio in town, tucked behind the narrow brick dining room of Ari Rosen’s Italian restaurant. A perennial favorite and always packed, the Campo Fina courtyard has overhead heaters for year-round dining and a spacious bocce ball court just past the wood-fired oven. A sister restaurant to the perpetually packed Scopa around the corner, Campo Fina serves an array of antipasti, salads, sandwiches, pizzas and other fire-roasted creations to pair with its selection of California and Italian wines. Regulars love the fact that Nonna’s Braised Chicken, a wildly popular mainstay at Scopa, is also available for dinner at Campo Fina.
330 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg, CA
Hotel Les Mars owner Bill Foley decided to give his Relais & Chateau property’s pool a major makeover last summer, and drought-conscious epicures can rejoice in its transformation. The former site of the pool is now a secluded, outdoor dining courtyard for his adjoining restaurant, Chalkboard. An Italian-style fountain serves as the patio’s centerpiece, and modern lounge furniture surrounds the wicker dining tables, giving the space a casual feel to complement the small bites, wine-centric restaurant, which sources ingredients from Chalk Hill Estate’s gardens (also owned by Foley). With the patio complete, it’s hard to believe this bustling spot for locals and tourists alike once housed Top Chef Masters Douglas Keane’s opulent, Michelin-starred Cyrus. Order a bottle of bubbly, relax on one of the couches and nibble on hamachi crudo, pork belly sliders and one of the house-made pastas–a specialty of Chef Shane McAnelly.
29 North Street, Healdsburg, CA
Okay, so this backyard patio is not located in Healdsburg, but it’s so charming we have to include it on the list. Located behind the pizzeria’s historic brick building in downtown Geyserville, just 10 minutes north of Healdsburg, Diavola’s patio entrance is reminiscent of a tiny street in Naples, Italy, with its overhead strings of laundry flapping in the wind. Wood-fired oven dishes take center stage, from pizzas and chicken under a brick to roasted vegetables. Our favorite pie is the Kimchi-rich Dictator, which is only served during dinner. Salads, sides and other entrées focus on ingredients sourced from local farms, and the wine list is stocked with bottlings from Sonoma and Italy. The patio is open from April through November, weather permitting. Call ahead to confirm availability.
21021 Geyserville Avenue, Geyserville, CA
Though these are the “newer” patios in Healdsburg, there are a few other popular spots that jump-started Healdsburg’s patio scene a decade ago. Willi’s Seafood & Raw Bar still offers a cluster of tables on its street-facing patio, tucked right off the sidewalk on Healdsburg Avenue, and Oakville Grocery allows visitors to order pizzas, salads, cheeses, charcuterie and deli counter dishes for enjoyment at its street-front seating right off the Healdsburg Square. And we cannot forget Barndiva, one of the most picturesque backyards in town. The popular wedding venue, which hired French Laundry alum Ryan Fancher to lead its kitchen a few years back, offers full-service restaurant seating under lush mulberry trees when the outdoor space is not closed for a private event. The indoor dining room is open Wednesday-Sunday.