First Taste: Barndiva in Healdsburg, CA

Barndiva is one of those places that we Midwesterners hope to find on a trip to the West Coast. As its website states,  the restaurant is “a celebration of all things local,” which is California means some pretty awesome produce. And it’s in an old barn that has been remade to create a fabulous, casual, and comfortable setting. And after a day of wine tasting and a big lunch, it was especially nice that the fare wasn’t rich or heavy.

My appetizer was one of the prettiest I have ever laid eyes on. I thought from the description that it would be small, but I was very happily mistaken. Heirloom tomatoes were paired with compressed watermelon, basil, and watercress. I savored every bite.

For my dinner, I chose another appetizer, a riff on a BLT, using pork belly, basil coulis, cherry tomato, potato chips and baby lettuces. I’ve been eating way too much pork belly lately since it’s all the rage right now, but this was the most innovative use of it that I’ve experienced.

The Zucchini & Bellwether Farms Ricotta Lasagna was delightful as well, with handmade pasta and a light tomato vinaigrette. We also enjoyed the  crispy young chicken, which was extremely moist and flavorful.

In addition to the dishes hitting on all cylinders in terms of taste and style, the servers were quite compelling. Our favorite, and the most knowledgeable server we encountered during our stay in Healdsburg, was a retired businessman who loves and knows his wine. He directed us to Littorai Vineyard, which turned out to be a fortuitous recommendation since that ended up being my favorite Pinot Noir of the trip.

Barndiva is always listed as one of the must-go places in Sonoma in magazines and websites. It’s on mine now as well.

Barndiva on Urbanspoon

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