Occupation: Hotel Sales Manager
Location: Santa Rosa
Favorite Restaurant: Willi's Wine Bar
Reviewed Willi's Wine Bar: Monday, February 25, 2013
I’ve always enjoyed an excellent experience at Willi’s Wine Bar in Santa Rosa whether it’s meeting friends, a client dinner or just stopping on the way home for the world’s best Mac-n-Cheese at the bar. It’s comfort food gone cool with great ingredients and a welcoming atmosphere. It might be called “small plates,” but they put a lot of good on those small plates and you wind up sharing and getting bites of all sorts of goodness. I had ordered the Moroccan Style Lamb Chop, my friend the Filet Mignon Sliders. The plates arrived our eyes met and within seconds we had a made a trade: a chop for slider. It was a win-win and rest is history. When dining at Willi’s, your server will ask if you have ever eaten there before. This is important, for your life may change, and change for the better. There is a reason Mark & Terri Stark and their cluster of fine restaurants are up for a James Beard Award.
Occupation: Real Estate Broker
Favorite Restaurant: The Rotunda of Neiman Marcus
Reviewed Willi's Wine Bar: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
I made the mistake of making reservations at 7pm, on a weekday, so coming from Berkeley I left around 5:30pm so I was stuck in traffic for quite a bit! Luckily, Parking was a breeze; I got the spot right in front of the entryway. I made reservations via open table and they servers were expecting me and my guest. Before sitting down, I took a stroll through the front garden that was still lit with Xmas lights. It was quite pretty at night! Instagram-worthy!
Once my friend arrived, we sat outside on the heated patio so we could enjoy the night air (the inside of the restaurant felt a little cramped, low ceiling...the patio definitely has better seating). The restaurant was half-filled so it was not too loud. In fact, it was perfect for conversing. My friend who is a native there said it can get busier but it was a Tuesday night. There was a business dinner meeting left of us, a couple on a date to our right, and a family dinner behind us, and some gals at the bar. So the atmosphere was mixed that night.
Our server was really sweet, knew all the dishes and was not short on adjectives to describe the food!
The food arrived in a timely manner. The portions weren’t as small as tapas plates but they weren’t exactly huge entrees either. I’m glad my friend suggested we order 5-6 plates total, or else it might not be enough. The presentation for all the dishes was great and there was a large variety of food to pick from. Menu is divided into Surf turf and earth. Cute!
With the exception of one dish (brick chicken) all the entrees were delish.
Occupation: Television Producer
Favorite Restaurant: Bocanova
Reviewed Willi's Wine Bar: Saturday, February 16, 2013
Willi’s Wine Bar in Santa Rosa was an overall great dining experience. I love trying small plates and experiencing creative ways to blend different ingredients together. The ambiance was fun, lively, and had a good crowd of people. On a weekend night, it generated a full house, but was still enjoyable to have private conversations with friends at our table. The service was great. We were seated right on time; in fact, even several minutes earlier than our actual reservation. Our waitstaff was incredibly friendly, attentive and knowledgeable. They were very accommodating with a few specific requests, especially when it came to adding an extra serving when a dish came prepared for just two. Portion sizes were moderate: great for sharing. The menu had lots to choose from with a good variety of seafood, meat and veggies. We had curried crab tacos, arugula and endive salad, roasted Brussels sprouts with sausage, truffled French fries (amazing), the mac-n-cheese with melted leeks and cabbage and the pork belly pot stickers. My favorite dishes by far were the Mu Shu Bacon crepes with Hoisin BBQ sauce and the Moroccan style lamb chops with couscous! Both were delicious, well prepared and worth every single bite. The desserts were also quite enjoyable. For dessert, we ordered the warm Scharffen Berger flourless chocolate cake with peanut butter caramel and delicious sea salt peanuts, the Meyer lemon pudding cake with huckleberries and the chocolate chunk and banana croissant bread pudding. I think my favorite was the bread pudding. The combination of the chocolate chunks, bananas and croissant was great together!