My first visit to Barndiva was for happy hour cocktails on a Saturday afternoon. I remember someone remarking that Happy hour runs all day here on the weekends.
My friend Steve & I had been wandering though the Downtown Art market that afternoon looking for a painting and had eaten tapas at Willi’s earlier that day. Willi’s can get rather loud inside and Steve suggested a patio spot he knew about. That afternoon the sounds of slow jazz drew us closer as we walked into the restaurant.
We had a terrific martini or two that day and decided to make reservations for a future dinner escapade. Steve’s best friend Lynda Kanzler, of local wine making fame, had just dined at Barndiva with her boyfriend for her birthday and commented that it was one of her top spots to eat in Sonoma County. Sold.
Our return trip to Barndiva’s dining room came early on a Wednesday evening. The atmosphere was mellow in the middle of the week and quite early. The restaurant itself is decorated beautifully and the space if quite unique with a natural feel and high ceilings almost like a warehouse.A well decorated warehouse with a bar…lol.
I think someone mentioned that part of the space was previously an auto shop which led to the wall height. Before it was an auto body shop, it was home to a turn of the century Opera House, again requiring high ceilings. Located right in the square of downtown Healdsburg, it works.
The business is family owned and focused on a local farm to table food style which is becoming prolific here in Sonoma County. Which is awesome, by the way. On the Barndiva website, they state:
To source the delicious, the beautiful and the useful things that fill our lives we have been fortunate to form partnerships with some of the finest artists and farmers in Northern California, so when guests ask how farm to table works, we are able to tell their stories alongside our own.
This helps to keep the agricultural heart of Sonoma County and the wonderful people who work in the industry running smoothly as ever. The restaurant opened in 2004 to much success. I know that I always make reservations in advance and have returned to Barndiva several times for lunch since this trip. I have decided that perhaps the foccacia bread crab sandwich is perfect for the moment with a good chardonnay of course.
On this trip, it was the middle of spring. We couldn’t have picked a better time to visit a farm based food spot when harvest was in full swing and everything was in season. Heirloom tomatoes are a personal fave of mine and have such a distinct flavor when the season is good and the heat produces those sugars.
Heirloom tomato salads are something I order often and each Chef displays them so differently, its always a surprise. This was perhaps the most lovely plating I have seen for this dish and what color!! We also tried a salad, the crispy young chicken and the terrific halibut special.
Shaved Apple Salad
Baby Lettuces, Fennel, Fines Herbs, Pomegranate
Crispy Young Chicken
Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Ricotta & Egg Ravioli
Serrano Ham Vinaigrette
Everything was plated beautifully and the flavors were so balanced. Simple and elegant. Five star rating for Chef Ryan Fancher from this gal. Keep on cooking. *Clink *Clink Cheers until the next visit.