231 Center Street
Healdsburg, CA 95448
tel: 707- 431 0100
NileGuide Expert tip:
BarnDiva has become enormously popular for events, weddings and parties, and it's often hard to get in, so call ahead if you want dinner or brunch. Dogs are allowed for Sunday brunch in the garden.
A founding member of Fork & Shovel, an alliance of chefs and local farmers, BarnDiva is the ultimate farm-to-table dining experience. The staff proudly explains that scraps from the kitchen feed the chickens, which in turn produce the eggs used in tonight's meal. The used cooking oil is recycled to run the farm's tractors. But none of this is done in hippie fashion; everything looks polish, artistic, upscale. Owners Jil, Geoffrey and Lukka Feldman have backgrounds in architecture, design and photography as well as food and hospitality, so the whole enterprise feels sophisticated and cultivated.
While chef Ryan Fancher is a "name" thanks to his three-year stint at The French Laundry and role in opening New York's Per Se, Barndiva doesn't stand on ceremony. The bar is warm and friendly, the back patio an almost perfect copy of a Provencal garden cafe. The rustic yet elegant interior feels like a country barn cross-pollinated with a downtown loft. The list of local purveyors on the menu is as long or longer than the list of available dishes; local cheeses, figs, olive oil, heirloom vegetables, and local seafood, free-range chicken, and grass-fed beef are the centerpieces of every meal.
But at BarnDiva, cocktails are treated as goals unto themselves, and concoctions such as the Basque Lolita, A Kiss with a Slap and Maharani of Cooch-Behar now have their own fans who return just to sample the latest creative combination of flavors.