Scopa and Campo Fina in Healdsburg, CA

Scopa and Campo Fina share a chef and owner. And while they are both Italian and serve pizza, Campo Fina is the more casual of the two, with all day menus and a bocce court out back. On a recent visit to Healdsburg, we had dinner at one the first night and the other on the last.

Scopa has some serious cuisine going on in a very cozy, casual setting. The dining room is long and extremely narrow. We were lucky to get a table by the front window which looks out onto the tiny one-table sidewalk patio.

The menu is heavy on antipasti and pizza, so we indulged in both. We started with pan roasted and hot padron peppers that had been tossed in olive oil and sea salt, after which we fought over the grilled calamari with white beans and arugula. The squid was not at all chewy and had a perfect char to it.

The pizzas tasted better than they look in the pictures. The crust was chewy but crisp, and the pizza maker was liberal with his use of toppings. It’s hard to beat a good Margharita pizza, but the Salsiccia with peppers was everyone’s favorite.

Not one to pass up the specialty of the house, we also split Nonna’s chicken, which had been tomato-braised and cooked in a pot with polenta and greens. I have overcome my lifelong disdain for polenta, at least when it’s soft like this was, which is a good thing since otherwise I would have missed out on a comforting, satisfying dish.

We had some great wines that night, including a blend from Preston Vineyards that we liked so much we visited the vineyard the next day and ordered a case to take home.

Pizza also sounded good on our last night in Healdsburg, so we decided to check out the newly opened Campo Fina. We ordered a glass of wine and played bocce while waiting for our table, getting our evening off to a great start as the women beat the men in a fierce competition.

Thinking we needed something at least a bit healthy before diving into pizza, we started with an arugula salad with figs and burrata, which was light and lovely. The octopus is prepared similarly here to the calamari at Scopa, only at Campo Fina it is served with grilled potatoes, wild chicory and black olives. It turned out to be my favorite dish of the night, because though the pizza may have looked better at Campo Fina and had a better char, both the crust and toppings lacked the flavor of their counterparts at Scopa. But it was fun to eat outside below the vines, the restaurant has a festive vibe and it was a pleasant way to end a fabulous trip.

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