When Palette Art Café in Healdsburg closed before I could even try it, I was bummed. So, I was glad last week to learn via Facebook that a new wine bar and restaurant had opened in the same space – Affronti.
You don’t believe Social Media helps small businesses? Think again. If it hadn’t been for the post about Affronti by the “What’s Happening Healdsburg” Group ( it may have been months before I found it. I decided to check it out Friday night after flying back from Portland on business. Since it would be late and I’d be hungry, cooking would not be on the agenda that night.
It’s in a good location in Healdsburg in that it’s only a block from the square, and right as you come into town. Although, it’s hidden mid-building, so signage, visibility, and word of mouth are going to be important for success. They have a website, and a Facebook fan sight just started. Initial buzz has been good.
I really like the layout of the place. Outside, there is a big courtyard (great in summer, and could be used as spillover in warmer nights, with heat lamps). The inside space is warm, open, and inviting. The bar is comfortable. There is also a section with cozy couches for hanging out with cocktails. If this place takes off, it will need more space like this….Healdsburg desperately needs more places where you can lounge on a comfy couch with a cocktail.
The server was prompt, courteous, knowledgeable, and attentive throughout the evening – as soon as a plate was done, or a glass empty, he was there intuitively to serve.
I really like the wine menu.
Huge kudos for offering mostly, but not all, local wines. And yet finding interesting varietals and blends to pour, instead of the standard tired list of Pinot, Chard, Zin etc. zzzzz.
These included a Roussanne/Marsanne from Arrowwood, Fiano from Seghesio, Grenache Noir from Unti, to name a few – Bravo. Their unique wine cocktail list looked great too with creative libations made from wine, and sake, like the Alexander’s cup – viognier, ginger beer, cucumber, and strawberry.
Chef-Owner, Jude Affronti, has quite the pedigree of experience, and doesn’t disappoint.
The menu offers something for all appetites. The ‘bits and bites’ are great single serving nibbles. I highly recommend the flakey tartines. The spinach salad was big and well done with nice chunks of savory bacon. Soup of the day was a creamy leek and parsley that was delicious and not too heavy. The only dish that didn’t float my boat was the rillettte slow cooked duck small plate. Besides the bits and bites, and the single small plates, the menu at that time had four choices for dinner-sized plates as well. Included was a local fish ‘en papiote’ that sounded tempting. The menu on their website as of time of this article only had a fraction of what the printed menu had, so don’t let that dissuade you. There were also some tasty look desert choices – the chocolate terrine has my name on it for next time.
Their description via the website: “Affronti brings a unique “mix and match” menu format to the downtown restaurant scene; allowing diners to experience a wide range of sophisticated, yet accessible tastes without breaking the bank. From the colorful eye appeal of bar bites and small plates to the intriguing combinations of flavors and textures found in ”something bigger to share” selection, Mediterranean cooking influences fuse with local ingredients to reflect both the bounty and heritage of Sonoma County.”
I’d have to concur with this – reasonable prices, quality food, good ambience, creative cocktails and wine selections – finally! They have “social hour’ specials 4-6:30 pm, Jazz brunch on Sundays, and live Music Thursday nights. This is my new hangout of choice – check it out, support it, so great venues like this stay in business. (p.s. check out my other new favorite in Windsor – Vine Tastings – I plan to review their great new menu next week.) 235 Healdsburg Ave, #105, Healdsburg.