During our California trip, we had the pleasure of not one, but two, tasting menu dinners. I already mentioned the first in my San Francisco Travel Guide, and I’ve already raved about the food in Healdsburg, but today I’m going to share with you our experience at the lovely Madrona Manor. We had a reservation for Sunday evening at Madrona Manor, and while we knew it would be a nice dinner at a Michelin star restaurant, our jaws dropped as we drove into this lush hidden garden.
THE HISTORY OF MADRONA MANOR
Madrona Manor is a stunning mansion built in 1881 by John Alexander Paxton. Once a private residence, the mansion is now home to both an inn and a restaurant. Originally serving as Mr. Paxton’s weekend home from San Francisco, he erected the mansion as a grand display of style and wealth that would go on to employ well over 100 Healdsburg locals no the property.
After Mr. Paxton passed away, the house continued to be used as a weekend retreat by his son, Blitz, until he sold it in 1913. It was continued to be used as a private residence (can you imagine living there?!) until 1981, 100 years after the mansion was built, before being reenvisioned as a country inn and restaurant.
The minute we drove up to Madrona Manor, we were A. blown away by the grounds, and B. Adam knew A LOT of blog pictures were in his immediate future. There were flowering plants everywhere and sweeping views of the vineyards of Sonoma County. One vista was even more stunning than the last.
With eight acres of grounds, it’s truly a gorgeous place to stroll for a few hours just taking in the gardens and the scenery. It’s so serene, so peaceful, and so colorful all at once. Plus, if you’re into knowing where your food comes from, Madrona Manor sources produce from their own gardens – that’s serious dedication to farm to table.
While I appreciate a beautiful garden and a historic home, we know I’m really there for the food. And Madrona Manor delivered. We opted to do the tasting menu because, why not? Every course was artfully plated, and I’m still thinking about the onion veloutè with a slow cooked egg and the ricotta gnocchi with black truffles. Oh! The scallop crudo was also delicious, as was the caviar. Of course, you could also opt to order off the menu and still try all of the same amazing dishes.
The Madrona Manor restaurant is absolutely perfect for special occasion where you want to get dressed up, explore the grounds, perhaps relax with a drink, and then sit down to a unique and refined dining experience.
VISITING MADRONA MANOR
While we didn’t stay at Madrona Manor while we were in Healdsburg, I can only imagine what a perfect romantic weekend it would make to stay at this historic and gorgeous mansion, spend mornings lounging on the front porch, stroll through the gardens, go out to the vineyards in the afternoon, before coming back to a delicious 5 course dinner.
And, now that I’m talking about, I’m thinking this is definitely what we need to do next time we find ourselves out in Sonoma…