photo collage of three different Healdsburg Restaurant Appetizers with image text "the best appetizers in Healdsburg"

Delicious Healdsburg Restaurant Appetizers You Must Taste

Wine Country’s hip town of Healdsburg is known for its restaurants, wineries and shopping boutiques. The problem is there are way too many great places to eat, drink and shop; you just can’t experience them all in one trip. We have a travel hack for that. Whenever someone says they’re visiting Healdsburg only for a few days and looking for the best things to do, I often recommend a grub crawl. Pace yourself over the course of an evening, visit four Healdsburg restaurants and only order two appetizers at each spot. You’ll be able to get a taste for Healdsburg’s best restaurants and then come back and spend more time at your favorites. To help start your restaurant crawl travel planning, here’s our list of the best appetizers at Healdsburg restaurants to try now.

Best Appetizers to Try at Healdsburg Restaurants

Old School Skillet appetizer with meatballs, tomato sauce and cheese at Healdsburg's Campo Fina

The Old School in a Skillet at Campo Fina

These skillet-roasted pork and beef meatballs, swimming in a delicious tomato sauce, were the only appetizer to be featured on both the Campo Fina and Scopa restaurant menus. When owners Ari Rosen and his wife closed Scopa in 2017, Campo Fina became the only place in Healdsburg to get a meatball fix as good as this. Enjoy with a glass of Chianti Classico on Campo Fina’s backyard patio, one of our favorite spots for outdoor dining in Healdsburg.

Campo Fina, 330 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg, CA,

Whole grilled artichoke appetizer at Healdsburg's Spoonbar

Whole Grilled Artichoke at Spoonbar

The latest chef helming the kitchen at Spoonsbar, h2hotel’s restaurant, Matthew D’Ambrosi, takes his Northern California roots seriously. While the avid fisherman is known for his daily catch and Wednesday night fried chicken special, his tribute to Monterey’s quintessential thistle is one of the few you’ll find regularly in Sonoma County and certainly the best. Served on a bed of lemon tarragon aioli with pine nuts, olives, parmesan cheese and briny capers, Spoonbar’s artichokes are sourced from a farm in the East Bay. It’s a great appetizer for locals and tourists alike.

Spoonbar, 219 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg CA,

Mary's Buffalo Chicken Wings appetizer at Hotel Healdsburg's Spirit Bar

Mary’s Buffalo Chicken Wings at Spirit Bar at Hotel Healdsburg

I’m the kind of Midwest gal who will never pass up chicken wings on a menu—as long as they don’t have thick breading. Bear Republic used to serve the best chicken wings in Healdsburg until recently, when chef Scottie Romano of Dry Creek Kitchen added these delicious bites to the menu at Spirit Bar, located next door to Dry Creek Kitchen in the lobby of Hotel Healdsburg. Chef Romano sous vides his wings in smoked butter and coats them in a secret, gluten-free breading that is light, crisp and addictive. Served with a tangy hot sauce, blue cheese crème fraiche and heirloom vegetables. The best part? Spirit Bar offers a daily happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. Wash down your wings with one of the best cocktails in Healdsburg, also found at Spirit Bar.

Spirit Bar at Hotel Healdsburg, 25 Matheson Street, Healdsburg, CA,

scallop en croute puff pastry appetizer at Valette

Scallop en Croûte at Valette

Dustin Valette landed his previous job at Dry Creek Kitchen restaurant in Healdsburg by creating a scallop en croûte for chef Charlie Palmer during his interview. This version of the famous puff pastry appetizer is filled with two sauteed scallops, fennel and Pernod, all steamed as squid-ink-brush pastry dough bakes. The presentation is finished tableside when the server breaks the crust and pours in a chardonnay and caviar beurre blanc sauce. It’s a fun appetizer for two to share, and its rich sauce pairs well with Russian River Chardonnays, such as Jordan.

Valette, 344 Center Street, Healdsburg, CA,

shrimp lettuce wraps at Duke's

Shrimp Lettuce Wraps at Duke’s Spirited Cocktails

Chef Sean Kelly might be new to Duke’s–see our What’s New in Healdsburg post–but he’s not new to the Sonoma County food scene. Kelly has changed up Duke’s eclectic bar food and continues to work on a new restaurant concept for Duke’s Common next door. One of the local favorite appetizers, found on his rotating “family meal” menu, is Shrimp Lettuce Wraps–light and fresh with all the typical ingredients of the traditional Thai recipe, but they feature a delicious twist on the peanuts–they’re coconut baked. Some weeks, he features variations on this recipe, such as Thai Pork Lettuce Cups. Whether it’s cups or wraps, pork or shrimp–don’t pass up this Asian-influenced finger food. This appetizer’s spicy kick can be perfectly tamed with a Siren or Villa Señora cocktail. Available to-go at Duke’s curbside window.

Duke’s Spirited Cocktails, 111 Plaza Street, Healdsburg, CA,

Yellowfin Tuna Crudo appetizer at The Rooftop at Harmon Guest House in Healdsburg

Yellowfin Tuna Crudo at The Rooftop at Harmon Guest House

There’s no better way to spend an afternoon in Healdsburg than lounging at the Harmon Guest House’s open-air rooftop café, sipping on sparkling wine with friends and noshing on chef Ryan Fancher’s fresh ingredient-driven cuisine. Seafood starters take center stage, from the Petite Plateau and Prawn Cocktail to the Yellowfin Tuna Crudo. This appetizer has the bright citrus kick you’d expect from lime-marinated fish, but is packed with flavor from pickled fresno chilis and a smoked dashi ponzu. Avocado and popped quinoa bring a creamy-crispy contrast.

The Rooftop at Harmon Guest House, 227 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg, CA,

porcini bucatini pasta at dry creek kitchen

Porcini Bucatini at Dry Creek Kitchen

The pasta dish that will convert any carb hater, this porcini bucatini is masterfully savory yet light. Packed with umami from local morel and bluefoot mushrooms, chef Scottie Romano’s appetizer also features housemade coppa, crescenza cheese from Bellwether Farms and a garnish of fresh greens for an unexpected crunch.

Dry Creek Kitchen, 317 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg, CA,

jamon bocadillo sandwich

Jamon & Truffle Bocadillos at Bravas

These skinny sandwiches have been a staple on the menu at Bravas Bar de Tapas in Healdsburg since its opening. It’s a traditional Spanish tapas sandwich filled with Spanish ham (jamón), truffle paste and manchego cheese. Served with spicy peppers as a garnish. Sparkling wine, rose, albariño–these savory bites pair with any summer wine offered on Bravas’ relaxing outdoor patio.

Bravas Bar de Tapas, 420 Center Street, Healdsburg, CA,


tuna tartare with coconut milk

Tuna Tartare at Willi’s Seafood

One of the oldest restaurants in Healdsburg, Willi’s Seafood & Raw Bar never disappoints. The tuna tartare tossed with coconut milk, jalapenos, cashews and ginger has been my go-to appetizer for a decade. The taro chips for dipping seal the deal. They’ve also expanded their outdoor dining tables to accommodate ample social distancing.

Willi’s Seafood & Raw Bar, 403 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg, CA,

charcuterie platter from Journeyman Meat Co.

Charcuterie Board at Journeyman

Don’t miss Pete Seghesio’s salumeria next door to SingleThread restaurant, one block off the Healdsburg square, and order one of his charcuterie platters and a bottle of local wine. Pete makes his own charcuterie, sliced fresh and served with local cheeses, cured olives and accoutrements. There’s also a wood-fired oven as a focal point of the salumi counter for pizzas. The Rosso and Verde pizzas are some of my favorites.

Journeyman Meat Co., 404 Center Street, Healdsburg, CA,

Goat cheese croquettes appetizer from Barndiva Restaurant

Goat Cheese Croquettes at Barndiva

The goat cheese croquettes drizzled with lavender honey are perfect with a glass of Domaine Carneros rosé sparkling wine before dinner, but their savory-sweetness makes me want to order another round for dessert. Their open-air garden makes the most beautiful and romantic backdrop as you indulge in these delicate cheese balls. Reserve your private table online.

Barndiva, 231 Center Street, Healdsburg, CA,

Other Honorable Mentions for Best Healdsburg Restaurant Appetizers:

Pork Belly Sliders at Chalkboard

The week Chalkboard restaurant opened in Healdsburg in 2013, I took Chef Shane McAnelly’s advice and ordered his signature appetizer. The pork belly sliders had flaky biscuit buns oozing with a spicy aioli on the bottom of the juicy, salty pork belly. We ordered a second round. Over the years, there have been a few nights where the Chalkboard sliders aren’t as hot or flavorful–probably because it was a night when the chef was busy opening The Brass Rabbit–but there’s still my favorite cheat day bite at Chalkboard. (The spicy jalapeño corn is another one.)

Chalkboard, 29 North Street, Healdsburg, CA,

Jalapeño Bomb from Otoro Sushi

This Healdsburg sushi restaurant is tucked away in a small shopping center across from Big John’s Market, so it’s easy to miss. The points Otoro loses in décor and ambiance it makes up for in flavor with a very deep menu of appetizers and rolls. Break your diet and try the Jalapeño Bombs. These spicy appetizers combine spicy tuna, crab with cream cheese and jalapeño, deep-fried in a tempura batter for extra crunch. Bring a bottle of Jordan Cuvee by Champagne AR Lenoble (available at Jordan Winery down the road) to pair with these umami flavor balls. Corkage is cheap.

Otoro, 1280 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA,


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About the Author

Born and raised in rural Kansas, Lisa Mattson fell in love with wine during college in South Florida and worked for a wine magazine before moving to Northern California. She spent almost a decade working as a writer, marketing director and photographer/videographer for Jordan Winery and now serves as a hospitality design and marketing consultant for several wineries, including Jordan. She also designs succulent gardens under the name Sonoma Succulents. When she’s not eating and sipping her way through Sonoma County in the summer and Baja California Sur in the winter, she travels the world with her husband in search of new succulents, ethnic foods, snorkeling spots and tiki bars.

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