Campo Fina, Healdsburg

Author: | posted 06/20/12 | Print This Post Print This Post |

Healdsburg loves a restaurant opening. Even more so when it includes a bocce court, Mugnaini pizza oven and Chef Ari Rosen.

The popular Scopa owner opened his second restaurant, Campo Fina, this week, after months of secrecy over the design and concept. Turns out it was well worth the wait.

The food, of course, is Italian, but focused around small plates and pizzas rather than the heartier pastas and entrees at his original restaurant. Design-wise, the big reveal is a large covered patio in back that’s big enough for a bocce court, 65 seats (including a large family table), a wood-fire pizza oven and food-prep “shack” and even a bar. Even locals familiar with the space in previous iterations gasped at the transformation. “I didn’t even know this space was back here,” was most often repeated. Inside are reclaimed fixtures, rough brick walls and cozy red banquettes.

On the menu, Cichetti (little bites), Forna A Legna (wood oven) and Antipasti (small plates). Best bet is to start at the top and work your way down the list, nibbling here and there and ordering as you go. Carried over from Scopa is Larry Pacini’s ciabatta bread and DCV EVOO ($3.50), which is exactly what ciabatta should be with a crackling crust and moist, chewy inside. Honey roasted carrots with coriander and bread crumbs ($6.50) are sweet, almost to a fault, but with each bite yield with a perfect texture.

Wood-oven pizzas are all the rage in Wine Country, and there are as many styles as there are Mugnaini ovens dotting the vineyards. Too often crusts get blistered and burnt, and carbon is only delicious on campfire marshmallows. Here, simple mushroom, sausage or Margheritas ($12.50 to $15.50) get the kiss of the oven without being smothered.

Small plates are made for sharing, and are mostly 6-8 bite portions. Best bets: Smooth chicken liver pate (served in a mason jar) with peach relish and grilled bread ($8.50); charred octopus with wild chicory and potatoes ($11.50) and yellowfin tuno crudo ($13.50) served with tangy yogurt, fennel, radishes and sea beans. If you’ve ever questioned dairy with fish, the spritz of lemon and spanking fresh flavors in this dish will realign that thinking. Picnic chicken, pan-fried light and dark cuts, was good, but failed to reach the heights of the rest of the menu.

The best desserts are simple affairs, a brilliant buttermilk panna cotta with crumbles of biscotti, torn basil and cherries or sliced Dry Creek peaches in zinfandel.

  • Campo Fina signage ©Heather Irwin
  • Campo Fina Interior ©Heather Irwin
  • Yellowfin Tuna Crudo with fennel, radish, sea beans and yogurt at Campo Fina ©Heather Irwin
  • Charred Octopus with potoat, wild chicory and black olives at Campo Fina ©Heather Irwin
  • Wood Oven Pizza Funghi at Campo Fina at Campo Fina ©Heather Irwin
  • Honey Roasted Carrots with Coriander and Bread Crumbs at Campo Fina ©Heather Irwin
  • Picnic Chicken with flour, salt and pepper at Campo Fina ©Heather Irwin
  • Chicken Liver Pate with Peaches Agrodolce and Grilled Bread at Campo Fina ©Heather Irwin
  • Buttermilk Panna Cotta with cherries, torn basil, biscotti at Campo Fina ©Heather Irwin
  • Dry Creek peaches in zinfandel at Campo Fina ©Heather Irwin
  • Larry Pacini's Ciabatta Bread with DCV EVOO ©Heather Irwin
  • Campo Fina logo ©Heather Irwin
  • Bocce Ball Court at Campo Fina ©Heather Irwin
  • Chef de Cuisine Jamil Peden, Sous Chef Trevor Anderson, Executive Chef Ari Rosen ©Heather Irwin
  • Chef de Cuisine Jamil Peden ©Heather Irwin
  • Exterior Bar, Campo Fina ©Heather Irwin
  • Interior of Campo Fina ©Heather Irwin
  • Campo Fina Exterior ©Heather Irwin
  • Mugnaini Wood Oven ©Heather Irwin
  • Table Setting ©Heather Irwin

The wine list runs two pages, well-curated with ten by-the-glass sips and a full page of Sonoma County and Italian reds. Wine cocktails are beer are also available.

If there’s a complaint, it’s only perhaps that the outdoor chairs aren’t made for American derrieres, pinching and squeezing in all the wrong places. The patio can get boisterous with kids and families enjoying themselves–which is kind of the whole point of this uber-casual eatery. So if you’re looking for a quiet rendezvous, update your expectations.

Though the motto, “When you’re here, you’re family,” may belong to an Italian mega-chain that dreams of authenticity like Campo Fina, it certainly fits. So pull up a chair, grab a glass of chianti and manga, manga!

Open for dinner daily, beginning at 5:30pm. 330 Healdsburg Ave. at North St., Healdsburg, 707-395-4640.


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4 Responses

  1. Kim July 2, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    I have had two meals so far and going for more. The pizza is outstanding……best crust in town !!

    Gotta say…….love the food at Scopa but Campo Fina tops with ambiance……service is great too !!

  2. Lisa June 27, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    Had dinner here Tuesday night – loved the small but lovely wine list. The pizza with calabrian chilies and smoked buffalo mozzarella – wonderful. Tried the buttermilk panna cotta for dessert and loved it. Can’t wait to come back for lunch and sit on the patio!!

  3. Erin June 22, 2012 at 3:25 pm #

    The title at the top is misspelled…Should read “Campo Fina” :)

  4. Hungry Bird June 20, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

    You had me at crudo.

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