Mendocino County is one of California’s most spectacular regions, filled with beautiful landscapes, miles of vineyards and an endless array of activities. But this Northern California coastal region also has a thriving food scene! Here are the best Mendocino restaurants to check out on your next visit.
Mendocino Coast Food
Located three hours north of San Francisco, the Mendocino Coast is known for its wineries, redwoods and quaint seaside towns. It is also home to talented chefs from all around the world, so you can enjoy nature on your getaway as well as amazing culinary offerings.
The natural beauty and bounty of the area is reflected on the menus at the best restaurants in Mendocino. They feature dishes with locally grown ingredients, fresh seafood and organic local wines. For diehard foodies and people who just love experiencing unique and tasty cuisine, these Mendocino restaurants have something to offer everyone.
Read More: Fun Things to Do in Mendocino
Little River Inn Restaurant
Located at the Little River Inn, the Little River Inn Restaurant offers fine dining with beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean.
Garden seating at Little River Inn Restaurant makes dinner even more special. Twinkly lights, lush foliage and heat lamps make for a cozy dining atmosphere. And you don’t have to stay at the Inn to eat here!
It was peak salmon season when I visited, so that was a must for me. The freshly caught salmon was seared to perfection and tasted delicious. My husband raved about his chunky clam chowder.
Wild berries are abundant in Northern California in the summer and several places compete for the title of the best mixed berry cobbler or pie. Little River Inn is definitely a contender.
The Little River Inn Restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner seven days a week. The restaurant serves brunch, lunch and dinner on Sundays.
Enjoy fresh seafood and Thai cuisine on an outdoor deck overlooking the ocean. The Mendocino Café’s menu features sobo noodles, Thai burritos and signature entrées such as sesame seed-crusted ahi tuna, tequila prawns and peppercorn-crusted New York strip steak.
Mendocino Café is open for lunch and dinner daily.
SIBO Restaurant @ Elk Cove Inn
Sibo is the on-site restaurant at Elk Cove Inn. The menu is French-inspired and the wines are hand selected by sommelier, Melissa Passalacqua, who owns the Inn and the restaurant with her husband, Chef Victor Passalacqua.
A true farm-to-table experience, the honey is collected from the beehives in the flower garden and herbs and veggies are collected from the greenhouse and the outdoor garden next to the chicken coop.
Chef Victor is passionate about good food and quality ingredients; he became animated as he gave me a tour of his gardens, pointing out his newest endeavor: apiculture (bee hives). His enthusiasm is infectious; I could have stayed all day learning about his flowers, vegetables and bees.
The restaurant is open to the public, however, reservations are required. Place your order when you make your reservation. Special requests are not encouraged and now I understand why: The chef runs the kitchen like a choreographed dance. There is little waste, and the taste and care infused in the preparation of the meals is consistent.
His process works. My beet and goat cheese tower followed by risotto with fresh mushrooms was magnifique. The 2017 local Foursight Pinot from Anderson Valley that Melissa recommended for our dinner selections was a highlight.
Located in the heart of historic Mendocino Village, Patterson’s Pub is the place to go for a huge beer selection and hearty, good food. We sat outside under a heat lamp and enjoyed the cool air.
This Irish pub is a local favorite. It serves traditional pub food such as burgers, chicken tenders and fish and chips, along with craft beers and wine.
Patterson’s Pub is open for lunch and dinner daily, late-night dining and brunch on the weekend.
Note that Patterson’s is over-21 only, so don’t bring the kids.
Cafe Beaujolais’ coffee shop is the place to go for vegan and non-vegan bakery goods and locally roasted coffee.
Opened in 1968 in the heart of the historic town of Mendocino, Café Beaujolais is located in an old Victorian farmhouse.
This elegant Mendocino restaurant serves California French cuisine in a laid-back setting. The food is accompanied by a distinguished wine list featuring many local Mendocino wines. They also serve wines from around the world.
Café Beaujolais is open for lunch and dinner, Wednesday through Sunday, and dinner only on Monday and Tuesday.
Trillium Cafe is a Mendocino restaurant that prides itself on being a farm-to-table kitchen. The menu rotates seasonally and the recipes feature local organic ingredients.
Located in a quaint house in the heart of Mendocino, Trillium Café features cozy seating, bay windows, a fireplace and an outdoor deck with views of Big River Bay. The restaurant’s menu includes Dungeness crab strudel, grilled wild fish, tortellini, Covelo Ranch pork belly, roasted half game hen and Gulf prawn with wild mushroom risotto.
The Trillium Café is open every day for lunch and dinner.
If you prefer to take this classic cuisine on a picnic, Trillium Cafe will pack you a basket for takeout, and even include a map to favorite nearby picnic spots. The picnic baskets include everything you need – linens, silverware, wine glasses, dishes, and a cutting board.
MacCallum House Restaurant
MacCallum House Inn is a historic boutique hotel in Mendocino, and its restaurant is said to be one of the nicest in the area!
Everything about the MacCallum House Restaurant is warm and inviting, from the sunny wrap-around porch with amazing ocean views to the cozy dining room. The “Mac” is a great starting point for getting to know Mendocino.
MacCallum House Restaurant is open for breakfast daily and dinner Thursday through Monday.
Located on Main Street, this is a divey bar where you can meet the locals and listen to some good classic rock.
Albion River Inn
The Albion River Inn Restaurant celebrates California’s north coast bounty of fresh seafood, locally grown produce, wild mushrooms, chowder, creative pasta dishes, and desserts.
The dining experience at Albion River Inn is equally special. Window walls provide spectacular ocean views from every table, and a cozy fireplace and burnished bar lend a soft romantic glow to the interior.
Albion River Inn Restaurant is open for dinner only and reservations are encouraged.
Luna Trattoria is a cozy Italian restaurant in Mendocino. It serves hearty pasta dishes, wood-fired pizzas and calzones and fresh seafood.
Some of the popular dishes include wild mushroom risotto, spinach and ricotta cheese gnocchi, and a variety of pasta, meat and fish dishes. Order the tiramisu for dessert. Everything is prepared with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients.
Indoor and outdoor seating is available, and the restaurant offers an extensive variety of Italian wines and craft beers.
Luna Trattoria is open for dinner, Tuesday through Sunday.
Located in the Stanford Inn in Mendocino, Ravens Restaurant is an award-winning restaurant serving organic vegan cuisine in a laid-back setting.
Innkeeper and restaurant owner Jeff Stanford uses fresh, locally sourced ingredients to create delicious entrees such as Portobello Benedict, Ravens Chilaquiles, Citrus Polenta, and Ravens signature Sea Palm Strudel.
The full-service bar offers a variety of fine wines, craft beers, and classic cocktails, with a daily happy hour.
Ravens Restaurant is open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.
Family-owned and operated, Frankie’s in Mendocino offers organic foods including falafels and pizzas—now available gluten-free.
Fort Bragg Offerings
For wild caught west coast seafood, check out the Princess Seafood Market & Deli in Fort Bragg. It’s the perfect drop-in spot to pick up seafood to go. Or, enjoy a seafood lunch on the outdoor dining deck.
And when you’re in Fort Bragg, be sure to stop by Cowlicks Ice Cream because…well, ice cream!