Surf, rocky outcroppings, and scenic headlands. The Mendocino Coast is a wild and lovely location noted for its unique, adventurous, and nature-loving culture. It has long attracted artists, romantics, and lovers of the wild and free.
Yet, the Northern California Pacific Coast area is also known as an epicurean haven, with locally owned cafes competing for the greatest and freshest usage of locally produced products from the land, as well as the astonishing abundance of the sea.
Mendocino boasts a diverse range of eateries, ranging from modest bakeries and coffee shops to more formal dining facilities. Yet, regardless of where you eat, this is a relaxed laid-back live-and-let-live area where no one has to feel under-dressed for dinner.
Every one of our visits here had amazing cuisine, imaginative presentations, excellent service, and that ideal environment that makes guests feel like they’re precisely where they need to be for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or supper. And we attempted to include a variety of establishments, from quick breakfast stops to upscale dining.
7 Mendocino Restaurants You Should Try
Restaurant at the Little River Inn
(707) 937-5942 N. Highway One
Mendocino is noted for its charming inns, many of which have views of the Pacific Ocean. The Little River Inn is another of our favorite Mendocino eateries. This attractive venue has an excellent onsite restaurant with beautiful interior, seaside, and garden views. Visitors may dine either indoors or outside under a beautiful heated tent. Evening walkway illumination complements the scene even more.
Marc Dym, a five-star chef, adds a contemporary spin to traditional American-regional food, which works well here. Entrees include appetizers, small meals to share, and bigger plated entrees. When you have waiters that have tried and know most of the menu items, it is simple to trust their recommendations.
We both had the Clam Chowder, which was every bit as delicious as the ones we’d had in Monterey, with the additional bonus of entire clams in the soup instead of clam bits. It was so delicious that we practically licked our dishes!
We chose the Braised Short Rib as our main course, a luscious soft bone-in rib accompanied with strong cheddar mashed potatoes, farm veggies, and a red wine sauce. This meal is far from tender and flavorful. My Cioppino was another hit, featuring shrimp, halibut, rock fish, clams, and calamari in a tomato fennel broth. Baguettes are ideal for soaking up the remainder of the delicious soup.
Here is a location where you should really consider saving space for dessert since the Mixed Berry Cobbler with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream is an amazing piece of paradise.
Little River Inn Restaurant is an excellent alternative for a romantic supper with amazing service and exceptional food.
The Flow Restaurant and Lounge
Main Street (707)937-356945040
F-L-0-W. The name stands for fresh, local, organic, and healthy, and it perfectly describes the cuisine at this modest second-story café in Mendocino’s lovely little town. The setting is unbeatable. Both the inside seats and the outside terrace provide beautiful views of the seaside.
Lunch is served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., followed by a bar menu from 3 p.m. to 5 p. We chose this place since my husband enjoys breakfast and I prefer lunch meals. This worked well for us and the other diners we met at the restaurant. Flow is open Thursday through Monday and provides a combination breakfast.
We were surprised with the amount of local, organic meats and veggies utilized in the dinners, as well as the many vegan and gluten-free alternatives. The Traditional Eggs Benedict were done to perfection, with two poached eggs, local Roundmans Canadian bacon, and hollandaise served on an English muffin and accompanied with country potatoes. As far as Eggs Benedict go, this one is up there with the finest.
Local rock cod and jumbo prawns in a gluten-free cider batter, served with coleslaw and house-cut fries. It was flavorful and fresh. I choose the Fish & Chips combination.
If you have members of your party who have various preferences and favorite cuisines, Flow is one of the Mendocino places to visit.
Ukiah Street (707) 937-5614961 Ukiah Street
This delightful French restaurant in the coastal town of Mendocino, housed in an 1893 Victorian farmhouse, delivers traditional yet modern food in an elegant relaxing ambiance. These are some of the reasons why this is one of the top Mendocino restaurants.
Caf Beaujolais’ culinary strategy emphasizes sourcing the best ingredients possible, such as organic local vegetables from local farmers, ethically produced meats from Niman Ranch, and wild line-caught seafood from local fisherman. It is so locally oriented that the restaurant even displays the works of local painters and photographers in its dining area.
The restaurant serves supper Wednesday through Saturday and brunch on Sunday. But, The Brickery, their second more informal café on site, serves pizza and more meals in the garden Wednesday through Sunday, with burgers added on Wednesday and Thursday.
Menus will likely change regularly. We had a Grilled Asparagus Salad with mushroom, burrata, crispy duck skin, and cherry tomatoes with an aged balsamic vinaigrette during our summer visit.
The local Black Cod agnolotti with wild forest mushroom agnolotti, truffle emulsion, roasted baby beets, and charred Bok choy was a revelation.
We’ve promised to try the wood-fired pizza in their garden setting the next time we’re in town.
If you want French cuisine with a distinctively healthy local organic flavor, Caf Beaujolais is a must-try and one of the top Mendocino restaurants.
Caf and Bakery Goodlife
10483 Lansing Street (707) 937-0836
The Goodlife Café and Bakery, which opened in 2012, has quickly become one of Mendocino’s most popular eateries. The Caf, located in the center of Mendocino in a historic structure, is constantly crowded, and for good reason. One of the locals we met on a Mendocino climb that we try this eatery, and wow, was she correct.
This exquisite restaurant serves breakfast and lunch, and just walking in makes you feel like you’re in a welcoming, pleasant, and community-oriented environment. Of course, the aroma of freshly baked goodies floating through the air added to the allure.
We stopped by in the middle of the day for a quick breakfast before going off to do some local exploration. While they are creative works, you should definitely start with a cappuccino. My companion and I shared a wonderful, fresh avocado toast and ordered some black bottom cupcakes to go from the display case. We thought it would be a great treat to enjoy later in the day with friends. These creamy chocolate cakes with a swirl of cheesecake were the ideal little treat.
The Trillium Café
(707) 937-32000390 Kasten St.
Trillian Caf, a classic Northern California restaurant with a significant seafood concentration, is a favorite of Travel & Leisure magazine and many other top travel magazines. Travel & Leisure named it one of the best three Mendocino eateries.
The Caf is located on the ground level of a charming two-room inn in Mendocino. Seasonally shifting lunch and dinner menus provide a superb assortment of appetizers, salads, seafood, land alternatives, and vegetarian options.
I adore seafood, so the Wild Prawns and Risotto supper entree was wonderful for me, and it came with a red wine barre rouge.
My vegetarian companion chose the Vegetable Gnocchi, which included kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, snap peas, herb pumpkin seed pesto, pumpkin seeds, lemons, and shaved parmesan cheese on top.
Please inquire with your waitress about wine pairings, since the restaurant offers a beautiful variety. The staff will gladly recommend the best one to go with each meal.
Patterson’s Public House
10485 Lansing Street (707) 937-4782
Yeah, it is an Irish bar, and the cuisine is very delicious. Looking over the menu was a pleasant surprise in and of itself, since this is not your average pub cuisine. Here are a few additional reasons why it’s one of Mendocino’s greatest restaurants.
You’ll most certainly find some traditional Irish fare, but don’t be hesitant to try something new and unexpected. Pattersons’ home is both valuable and lovely. It’s worth noting that this is an over-21 restaurant, thus no minors are permitted to join adults whether eating indoors or outside in the garden setting.
Pattersons offers lunch everyday and brunch on weekends. The drink selection is wide, with beer fans able to choose from 26 rotating varieties on tap alone. There are daily specials as well as menu items such as appetizers, soups, salads, seafood, pasta, signature sandwiches, and wraps. Selecting is difficult, but servers are delighted to help since many have been with Pattersons for a long time. It’s also comforting to know that meals are plenty. My companion and I divided salad and sandwich meals since I was in the mood for a salad.
The Pear Salad was composed with mixed greens, seasonal pear slices, spiced nuts, goat cheese, and topped with Zinfandel vinaigrette. My husband got the suggested French dip, which had roasted beef, Swiss cheese, and grilled onions on a French bread with Au Ju and horseradish on the side. It was rich and delicious. That was a good pick, but their Grilled Reuben is also popular.
Pattersons Pub is highly recommended if you are looking for a lively, informal pub-type ambiance with meals that will blow your socks off in Mendocino. It’s one of the top restaurants in Mendocino.
MacCallum House’s Mendocino Restaurant & Bar
Albion Street (707)-937-028945020
This is the flagship restaurant of the MacCallum House, a historic Mendocino landmark erected in 1882. It is another wonderfully gorgeous spot to eat among the profusion of Mendocino restaurants. In addition to this wonderful dining venue, this luxurious property is surrounded by lush grounds and has stunning ocean views. It has 19 rooms, a holiday rental home, and a two-bedroom residence.
The restaurant is exclusively available for breakfast for inn guests. If there is still room, outside visitors may have dinner. Evening supper service starts at five o’clock and concludes about eight o’clock. While eating beneath a romantic tent on the grassy lawn overlooking the Ocean, guests may choose between a prix fix meal or a five-course tasting menu. The tasting meal must be chosen by the whole table.
We chose the prix fixe menu for our night and found the cuisine and wine to be superb. Menu items may vary depending on the season and local availability. The cocktails here are wonderful, and I really enjoyed my pre-dinner drink, the Huckleberry Sunset, which is presented in a hurricane glass.
If you truly want to get a sense of the quality of the meals here, order a couple appetizers. The Smoking Gun Wild King Salmon was mezcal cured and served with grilled corn, watercress, avocado, bacon, roasted peppers, toasted pepitas, and lime salad. BBQ Pork Ribs basted with a bourbon maple sauce and served with buttermilk slaw were another hit.
Save space for dessert because you won’t want to miss the Chocolate Budino, a diabolical pleasure with vanilla bean ice cream, salted caramel sauce, and candied hazelnut.
If you like being surrounded by history while enjoying gorgeous coastal views, this is an excellent Mendocino dining option.
Mendocino Restaurants: Final Thoughts
Mendocino is an outstanding destination to visit since Mother Nature has bestowed so much natural beauty on this region. Chefs are making some fantastic meals to the pleasure of residents and tourists alike, owing to the wealth of marine and land bounty.
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