11 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
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 (jamon), truffle paste and manchego cheese. Served with spicy peppers as a garnish. Sparkling wine, rose, albarino–these savory bites pair with any summer wine offered on Bravas’ relaxing patio.
Bravas Bar de Tapas, 420 Center Street, Healdsburg, CA, starkrestaurants.com
Eggs Mimosa at Brass Rabbit
I can’t imagine a better way to spend happy hour than sitting at one of Brass Rabbit’s two outdoor tables on Healdsburg’s square, sipping on Champagne with a plate of Eggs Mimosa on the table. The Sonoma farmed-raised eggs are deviled and topped with an ink-black hackleback roe from the Tennessee River.
The Brass Rabbit, 109 Plaza Street, Healdsburg, CA, thebrassrabbithealdsburg.com
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.
Willi’s Seafood & Raw Bar, 403 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg, CA, starkrestaurants.com
Charcuterie Board at Journeyman
Grab a window seat at 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.
Journeyman Meat Co., 404 Center Street, Healdsburg, CA, journeymanmeat.com
Smoked Proscuitto Arancini at Spoonbar
The husband-wife chef duo at Spoonbar came from Italian restaurant Cotogna in San Francisco, so it’s no surprise these hard-to-resist stuffed rice balls have found their way onto the H2 Hotel restaurant’s everyday bar menu. Topped with tri-pepper aioli and shaved parmesan, they stand toe-to-toe with the traditional aracini served at Campo Fina, Healdsburg’s anchor Italian restaurant. Spoonbar’s version are easy to share at the bar with friends over a Broken Laces cocktail or one of Spoonbar’s latest seasonal cocktails. Champagne works, too.
Spoonbar, 219 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg CA, spoonbar.com
Sweet Peas with Dungeness Crab, Salsify and Preserved Lemon at SingleThread
A Dungeness crab with salsify and preserved lemon was served as a third course on the 11-course tasting menu at SingleThread last year. The menu changes daily at Healdsburg’s first two Michelin-star restaurant, as the chefs farm according to the 72 micro seasons–a nod to ancient Japanese farming–so don’t expect to see the exact same dish twice.
SingleThread Farms Restaurant & Inn, 131 North Street, Healdsburg, CA, singlethreadfarms.com
Goat Cheese Croquettes at Barndiva
The goat croquettes with lavender honey are perfect with a glass of Domaine Carneros rose sparkling wine before dinner, but their savory-sweetness makes me want to order another round for dessert. You can also order these addictive cheese balls at Barndiva’s sister restaurant next door, the Barndiva Gallery + Bistro.
Barndiva, 231 Center Street, Healdsburg, CA, barndiva.com
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, valettehealdsburg.com
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, chalkboardhealdsburg.com
Farro Verde with Heirloom Beans Salad at SHED
Though the menu is almost as seasonal and ever-changing as SingleThread’s, one of the staple appetizers at SHED in Healdsburg is its farro verde salad. Michelin-starred chef Perry Hoffman uses the ancient farro grain to bring a nutty, complex flavor to the salad, which is mixed with dragon tongue beans and haricots verts and topped with crema di lardo and fresh basil. The latest farro verde at SHED features sunchokes and sheep’s milk cheese.
SHED, 25 North Street, Healdsburg, CA, healdsburgshed.com
Falafel-Ritto at Duke’s Common
Locals have been eagerly awaiting the reincarnation of our beloved Italian restaurant, Scopa, which closed almost a year ago. It’s called Duke’s Common, an entirely new concept on Healdsburg’s square tied closely to its next-door neighbor and sister property, Duke’s Spirited Cocktails. Guests can order food at the Duke’s Common counter and dine along the bar rails or high-top tables–or head over to Duke’s Spirited and grab a barstool or table and order anything off the Duke’s Common menu. The tasty, casual bar food is served in appetizer portions and each dish is under $10. The McChicken Sandwich, Barbecue Pork Bahn Mi and Little Pork Tacos all got a thumbs up from my party of six over opening weekend at Duke’s Common, but the clever Falafel-Ritto stole the show. Stuffed with deep-fried balls of chickpeas, hummus, tzatziki, tabbouleh and pickled onion, this burrito hits the spot after a couple of Siren cocktails at Duke’s Spirited, or one of Duke’s Common on-tap cocktails like the pink-hued Carmela Anthony (pictured)–made with vodka, lemongrass, ginger and prickly pear.
Duke’s Common, 109a Plaza Street, Healdsburg, CA, drinkatdukes.com