Willi’s Seafood and Raw Bar – Healdsburg


We went to Willi’s for lunch on Sunday, and it was the most consistently good seafood restaurant that I’ve been to in a long time. Very fresh, well-prepared, and in interesting combinations. I also liked the quirky modern decor, with an emphasis on deep blue.

The only issue was that they serve small plates, and we were told to order with sharing in mind. I eat something like small plates at home, but at restaurants they kind of frustrate me. Usually, two aren’t enough, but three is too much… but you never know how big the serving will be until you get it anyway, as portion sizes vary wildly. And the small plates are usually just as expensive as a normal appetizer and main course, if not more. They’re meant to be shared, but as generous and sharing as my family is, we don’t like being forced to share. And who has fun trying to calculate the amount of a dish it’s socially acceptable to eat at one time before it’s been passed all the way around? And trying to get it back once it has?

So, we didn’t share any more than we normally do, which is actually plenty, but it wasn’t because we were told to.

1

Hamachi Ceviche with Rocoto Chili, Lime Juice, Pepitas.

2

Tuna Tartare, Jalapenos, Cashews, Ginger, Coconut. I had a single morsel of tuna, and loved the strong spice and tender meat, with the slight creaminess of coconut.

4

Cornmeal Crusted Oysters with Smoked Chili Remoulade. There are some dishes that remind me how simply good warm food is. The warm, juicy oysters were so amazing with the crust and cool, crunchy cabbage.

6

Almond Crusted Mahi Mahi, Baby Spinach, Lemon Caper Butter. Tender, and I liked how the almonds didn’t dominate the flavor of the fish, as often happens with nut-crusted fish.

4

Warm Maine Lobster Roll with Garlic Butter and Fennel. Everyone else loved this, but I thought it was only okay. The viscous garlic butter got everywhere, and I couldn’t taste the fennel or lobster as much as I wanted to. My personal taste is for a chilled lobster filling in a warm toasted bun, so maybe that was why, too. The Pearl Oyster Bar version in NYC is still my favorite.

7

Sweet Corn and Crab Fritters.  Two types of sweet and two types of crispy.  We also ended up getting two orders.

2

Minted Lamb Skewer, Black Soy Sauce.

3

Bev’s Mud Slide Milk Shake, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Kahlua & Bailey’s Irish Cream. This was the dessert to beat. So creamy and chocolate-y, which the liqueurs lending an added bit of excitement. They didn’t overpower, though, which I find very admirable.

5

Warm Chocolate Cake Sundae, Toasted Almonds, & Mint Chip Ice Cream. A mixed bag. The whipped cream on top of this kind of spongy — maybe it had been frozen? The warm chocolate cake had a decent chocolate flavor (and had been cut in half after being baked in a round aluminum mold, from what I could tell). I liked the mint chip ice cream the most, but it melted so fast, and clumps of almonds kept dominating the melty bites.

1

Lemona Verbena Drop. Lived up to its name. I got a medicinal aftertaste after the first sip, but it mellowed out. I didn’t think it was as bright lemon-y as lemon verbena usually is, but everyone else liked it.

I also got the Lime Drop, but it was just sweet more than anything else.

2

Strawberry Limeade. I liked this best… such a fresh strawberry flavor.

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