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Willi’s Wine Bar | Santa Rosa

Author: | posted 08/5/08 | Print This Post Print This Post |
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Macaroni and Cheese at Willi's Wine Bar

Willi’s Wine Bar isn’t new. It doesn’t have a maitre d’, a cheese cart or a celebrity chef. It’s inconvenient to get to and the whole “small plate” thing can add up to a damn fortune.

But day after day, season after season, year after year, the cozy Santa Rosa bistro just keeps on cranking out sure-fire crowd pleasers that feel so-worth it. And for a jaded foodie, that’s about the highest praise a restaurant can get.

After nearly a decade (a lifetime in the fickle restaurant biz) Willi’s Wine Bar doesn’t have to keep trying as hard as it does. Folks would probably keep going, just out of habit. But Chef Mark Stark and his crew do keep trying.

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Willi's Wine Bar

Instead of just getting four small plates–filet mignon sliders with seared foie gras, the must-have macaroni & cheese, Dungeness
crab tacos
and Moo Shu bacon–we got four meticulously-arranged little works of art that tasted just as good as they looked. Dessert, which often seems such an afterthought, was even more beautiful. And, even more tasty–a plate of ricotta beignets with apricot crème,
rosemary-studded pistachios and violet honey.

Throughout the year, the covered outdoor patio is a perfect spot to share a few glasses of wine and the camaraderie of crossing forks across the tiny plates. Even if it’s the tenth, or the hundredth time you’ve done it.

Keep in mind: Voted Sonoma County’s Top Chef by you in 2007, Chef Mark Stark reigns over Willi’s Wine Bar, Willi’s Seafood in Healdsburg, Monti’s in Santa Rosa and Stark’s Steakhouse.

Willi’s Wine Bar, 4404 Old Redwood Hwy., Santa Rosa, 707.526.3096
Willi’s Seafood, 403 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, 707.433.9191
Monti’s, 714 Village Court, Santa Rosa, 707.568.4404

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One Response

  1. BiteClubEats August 5, 2009 at 10:25 am #

    Comments from a previous posting…
    Posted By: Scott Hinds (24/12/2007 6:40:43 AM)
    Comment: Try Monti’s again. I live near Montgomery village and eat there regularly and have never had a bad expierience. Next to Willi’s its on the top of my list.
    Posted By: Mike Kelly (25/07/2007 6:07:00 PM)
    Comment: I love Willi’s! Sure it pillage your wallett but be a little more restrained! The crab tacos, a salad, makes a lovely lunch. And it’s not going to break you! My special treat is the filet mignon shooters!! The little buns are perfect, sauteed in butter and garlic and the wee fillets are proped up on each and then a big dollop of Bernaise sauce. You could put this Bernaise Sauce over a ’56 Chevy and I’d eat it! And did I mention the au gratin potatoes?!! But if you’re looking for the quintessential foodie experience then choose Willi’s! You won’t be sorry.
    Posted By: ken (01/05/2007 6:22:13 PM)
    Comment: To me, the best thing about Willi’s is that they understand the need for small pours of a selection of wines to go with small plates. My wife and I can share five or six plates at dinner, with an appropriate wine with each course, and still get out the door for less than $100. That’s not bad for a restaurant with food this good. And you can then go to a concert at Wells Fargo Center and still focus on the music. It seems like the other small plates restaurants want to sell you more wine, which means you either don’t get to try as many new ones or else you shouldn’t be driving home. I can’t exactly say why, but I agree that Monti’s never impressed me as much. Too bad because it’s very close to home for us. Sorry to hear about Megan’s bad service experience. It’s never happened to us. If I need to be somewhere and am on a tight schedule, I always mention that to the hostess when being seated. If I’m not, I just relax and enjoy some conversation. If there was really a mixup in server assignments to tables (it happens), there’s always been someone near the front door at Willi’s (sometimes it’s Terri Stark) who could address the problem.
    Posted By: Megan (01/05/2007 2:12:22 PM)
    Comment: My husband and I tried to eat at Willi’s… after 15 minutes of no one wanting to notice us, we got up and left. Even for extremely good food, I would expect excellent service at those prices.
    Posted By: Michelle (30/04/2007 3:47:29 PM)
    Comment: I really love going to Willi’s…great food & atmosphere. I agree with the article’s point that Monti’s is just not that good. Menu there is too limited, and the drinks are too expensive! I can’t wait for Mark’s new steakhouse to be done…I am ready for that!
    Posted By: (30/04/2007 1:56:05 PM)
    Comment: love this place!

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