Roughly an hour-and-a-half from San Francisco lies Healdsburg, considered by many to be the crown jewel of Sonoma County. With small town charm and big city amenities, the community is home to 11,000 people and 147 wineries plus many fantastic small town restaurants worth the drive from San Francisco.
Start your day in this countryside community with breakfast at Costeaux, an open-air French bakery known for its artesian breads and French toast stuffed with berries.
Next, head to Williamson Wines in downtown Healdsburg, the only winery with a tasting room that pairs food with its wines, said Kelly Rogers, marking coordinator at Kunde Family Estates and a long-time resident of Healdsburg. The tastings are free.
Immerse yourself in the local community by pulling up a stool at Bear Republic. Bear Republic’s brews are hand-crafted using traditional brewing methods. Pair one of the microbrews with a juicy burger.
”We want to create and cultivate a Brew Pub and Restaurant that the locals can call their own and that make visitors feel at home,” said Master Brewer Richard G. Norgrove, who recommends visitors try the Racer 5 IPA, a full-bodied American India Pale Ale heavily hopped with Chinook, Cascade, Columbus and Centennial.
For a more formal dining experience, Willi’s Seafood & Raw Bar is a must. With a welcoming ambiance and lively décor, the restaurant serves small-plates designed for sharing. The menu features grilled skewers like barbecue bacon-wrapped scallops; warm Maine lobster rolls with garlic butter; and various kinds of ceviche and crudos. Since you are in wine country, there is an extensive wine list too.
Top your day off in Healdsburg with something sweet from Powell’s Sweet Shoppe. Stocking every kind of candy imaginable, sorted by decade, Powell’s also serves gelato, chocolates, and gifts in a shop that blasts tunes from Willy Wonka.
“Powell’s Sweet Shoppe is an old-time, old-fashioned, old-world candy store taken from America’s imagination,” said owner Michael Powell, “We want to walk our customers down memory lane and remind them of good things and good times.”
Kat Ernst is the San Francisco Travel City Editor for The Daily Meal.