Top 10 Best Mendocino Restaurants

Want to know the best Mendocino restaurants not to miss on your vacation? If you’re visiting the magical Mendocino Coast, I’ve got you covered! Whether you want the best restaurant in Mendocino for Italian cuisine, an ocean view, vegan food, or a great local wine list, your Mendocino best restaurant is here!

Since this scenic wonderland is just 3 hours from San Francisco (one of the best foodie destinations in the U.S.) and hosts many food-focused visitors from the San Francisco Bay area, it’s no surprise that many Mendocino, California restaurants offer fabulous dining experiences.

But as in any tourist town, Mendocino dining can be tricky—hence this dining guide. And although I just said “town,” this article not only covers downtown Mendocino, but also the coastal towns within 10 miles north and south of it. In northern California, “Mendocino” is often used to describe the entire Mendocino Coast area; this article will do that too.

The culinary breadth of Mendocino, CA restaurants may not compare to a gastronomic Mecca like New York, but my husband Michael and I have had some pretty memorable meals there. I hope in sharing our list of the “Top 10 Best Mendocino Restaurants,” you will too!

Best Mendocino restaurants are listed from North to South.

Downtown Mendocino, California. Home to 5 our “Top 10 Best Mendocino Restaurants”

Downtown Mendocino, California, home to 5 of our “Top 10 Best Mendocino Restaurants.”

North Coast Brewing Company

In addition to receiving over 110 awards for their craft beers, North Coast Brewing Company also serves up award-winning food!

This is my favorite Mendocino brewery because I’m a huge fan of their Belgian-style golden ale, PranQster. In my opinion, it’s the best beer made in California. But if you’re not a fan of Belgian beer, do not fret; they brew everything from stouts to a variety of IPAs. If you don’t know what you like, try a flight.

As for the food at this Fort Bragg restaurant, you can’t miss with the Fish and Chips, Brussels Sprouts in Anchovy Vinaigrette, or the Shrimp Po’ Boy.

North Coast Brewing Company is located right across from the Skunk Train. Somehow we built up quite a hunger and thirst winding our way by rail through the enchanting redwood forest. Or maybe it was the 15 minutes of hiking we did on the excursion. Either way, it was nice to have an inviting brew pub option nearby when we pulled back into the station. Even if you don’t hike or take the train, North Coast Brewing is worth a stop for a fine beer and a tasty meal.

North Coast Brewing Company: Best Mendocino Brew Pub

Address: 444 North Main St., Fort Bragg, CA 95437
Hours: 11:30 am – 8:00 pm, Thursday – Monday
Reservations: No reservations accepted.

A selection of beers from North Coast Brewing Company

A selection of beers from North Coast Brewing Company.

Café Beaujolais

The adorable yellow house that is home to Café Beaujolais dates back to 1893. There’s something so enticing about it to me, inside and out; I think it provides the perfect ambience for a fine dining Mendocino experience.

But it wasn’t always a fine-dining establishment. What started as a French breakfast and lunch café has evolved into one of the best restaurants in Mendocino.

You’ll still see some of the French influences on the menu, in dishes such as the Potatoes Pave, Duck Confit Salad, and Seared Foie Gras. But you’re also just as likely to see handmade Italian pastas, Spanish paella, or Szechuan Peppercorn & Coffee Crusted Filet Mignon.

The Sunday brunch menu is equally diverse, including Duck Confit Chilaquiles, Pork Belly Fried Rice, and Spanish Shakshuka. Start off with one of their Sunday Sparklers and finish with Croissant Bread Pudding with Marsala Cream Sauce. It’s a delightful way to spend a couple of hours on a Sunday in Mendocino.

After brunch, meander through the colorful garden that houses The Brickery.

Café Beaujolais Mendocino: Best Mendocino Brunch

Address: 961 Ukiah St., Mendocino, CA 95460
Hours: 5 pm – 9 pm, Wednesday – Saturday; Sunday: 9:30 am – 2 pm
Reservations: Online reservations recommended.

Café Beaujolais: Best Mendocino Brunch.

The Brickery

Since The Brickery started out as the baking arm of Café Beaujolais, one would expect good food here—and one would be right. In fact, The Brickery serves the best pizza in Mendocino. Real, thin crust, Neapolitan-style, wood-fired pizza to be exact.

The menu changes often based on availability of fresh local produce and other ingredients. But one thing is for certain, the list of pizzas will be inventive. I was shocked that Michael, the meat-lover, was smitten with the Garlicky Kale pizza. I swooned over the prosciutto and arugula.

Outdoor tables scattered throughout the gardens create a very inviting environment. It’s a place where you can eat surrounded by beautiful blooms and hangout and talk to neighbors.

It’s almost embarrassing how often we found ourselves at this popular Mendocino restaurant. In our defense, on Wednesdays and Thursdays, Smashburgers appear on the menu (from 11:30 to 3:00), so we didn’t just eat a ton of pizzas.

My only complaints about The Brickery are that they are not open every day, and they close too early for dinner!

The Brickery: Best Pizza in Mendocino

Address: 961 Ukiah St., Mendocino, CA 95460
Hours: 11:30 am – 5 pm, Wednesday – Sunday
Reservations: No reservations accepted.

Prosciutto & Arugula Pizza (front) and Garlicky Kale Pizza (back) at The Brickery, our pick for best pizza in Mendocino.

Luna Trattoria

Talk to any of the locals, and they will tell you Luna Trattoria is one of two things: the best Italian restaurant in Mendocino, or the best restaurant in Mendocino.

Specializing in authentic Italian classics like Linguine alle Vongole, Pesto Genovese, Spaghetti al Pomodoro (marinara), and Spaghetti al Ragu (Bolognese), Luna Trattoria Mendocino uses handed-down family recipes for many of these traditional dishes.

This is one of the few upscale restaurants in Mendocino, CA that doesn’t take online reservations, but don’t let that stop you! Call the number below to reserve a table for one of their 2 dinner seatings.

If you come during spring, be sure to take time to admire the gorgeous cherry blossoms across the street!

Luna Trattoria: Best Italian Restaurant in Mendocino

Address: 955 Ukiah St., Mendocino, CA 95460
Hours: 2 seatings: 5 and 7 pm, Tuesday – Sunday.
Reservations: Reservations required. Call 707-962-3093 to reserve.

Cherry trees across from Luna Trattoria, the best Italian restaurant in Mendocino.

Mendocino Cafe

The eclectic menu at Mendocino Cafe offers an array of fresh seafood dishes, American staples, Asian-influenced bowls and salads, and a long list of Mexican specialties. Somewhat surprisingly, this Mendocino restaurant does it all well!

After enjoying the Clam Chowder, Chili Verde Plate, and Rockfish Tacos, we returned for lunch the following week and were even happier with Steamed Clams and Mussels in red coconut curry broth, Seared Ahi Salad, and the Blackened Rockfish Sandwich. It’s also a bonus that they serve my favorite Mendocino beer!

Flowers and plants adorn the casual outdoor seating area, and at a few tables, you can sneak a peak at the Mendocino Coast.

This is one of the best downtown Mendocino restaurants that you can get into without a reservation. If you find yourself hungry for lunch or dinner in Mendocino and have not reserved a table, it’s nice to know that walk-ins are welcome.

Mendocino Cafe: Best Casual Restaurant in Mendocino

Address: 10451 Lansing St., Mendocino, CA 95460
Hours: 11 am – 4 pm and 5 pm – 9 pm, Daily
Reservations: Walk-ins accepted, but you can call 707-937-6141 to reserve.

Rockfish Tacos at Mendocino Cafe, the best casual restaurant in Mendocino

Rockfish Tacos at Mendocino Cafe, the best casual restaurant in Mendocino.

Trillium Cafe

Trillium Cafe is one of the best restaurants Mendocino has for modern California cuisine. And I’m not the only one who thinks so! Travel and Leisure Magazine says, “This restaurant is beloved for its quintessential California cuisine with an emphasis on fresh seafood.”

The high-quality ingredients like grass-fed, organic meats, locally sourced fish, and even some of their own homegrown produce play a major role in developing the changing menu.

For dinner, expect delectable items like Grilled Grass-Fed Flat Iron Steak with porcini red wine reduction and Seared Scallops and Prawns with saffron risotto and green aioli.

For lunch, the Grilled Wild Prawn and Avocado Sandwich was divine. The Brûlée Butterscotch Banana Cream Pie was as good as it sounds and looks (see picture below).

Lunch and dinner at Trillium Cafe Mendocino are both a treat, but lunch is about half the price. The menus are different enough, so you may consider trying both. Sit inside for one meal and outside for the other.

With its large brick fireplace, the inside dining room oozes cozy. The tables outside in the lush gardens underneath the heated tent are quite lovely too. It’s like experiencing two of the best restaurants in Mendocino.

Trillium Cafe: Best Mendocino Restaurant for California Cuisine

Address: 10390 Kasten St., Mendocino, CA 95460
Hours: 11:30 am – 2:15 pm and 5 pm – 8:30 pm, Friday – Tuesday
Reservations: Online reservations recommended.

Brûlée Butterscotch Banana Cream Pie at Trillium Cafe, the best Mendocino restaurant for California Cuisine.

The Ravens Restaurant

As part of the Stanford Inn by the Sea vegan resort, it should be no surprise that The Ravens Restaurant is the best vegan restaurant in Mendocino. However, this is one of the best places to eat in Mendocino even if you are not vegan, or staying at the inn.

To be clear, this is a 100% vegan restaurant, which means there are no dishes that contain any animal products of any kind, not even honey. Yet, everything I tried for breakfast and dinner was absolutely scrumptious.

For dinner, don’t miss the Kale Stack appetizer or the Carrot Cake dessert. The Enchiladas, Thai Red Curry, and the Trumpet Mushroom Coquilles are all top-notch. This is gourmet Mendocino food whether or not you are vegan.

If you are apprehensive at all about plant-based food, consider starting your day at The Ravens. This popular Mendocino breakfast restaurant prepares buckwheat pancakes that you’d never guess were vegan. Even the vegan ice cream passed my picky palate!

The top Mendocino restaurants tend to utilize local organic ingredients when possible, but The Ravens takes that practice to a whole different level. The centerpiece of the Stanford Inn is a gorgeous organic garden filled with fava beans, oats, kale, carrots, cauliflower, and so many more ingredients-to-be that are as beautiful as they are tasty. You can get a feel for the size of the amazing gardens by looking out at them from the windows of the restaurant.

The gardens are not the only pretty things you’ll see from the restaurant. Through one bank of windows, you can view the Pacific Ocean. Through another set of windows, you’ll see Big River. Just on the other side of the river sits the charming village of Mendocino.

The Ravens Restaurant: Best Vegan Restaurant in Mendocino

Address: 44850 Comptche Ukiah Rd., Mendocino, CA 95460
Hours: 7:30 – 10:30 am and 5:30 – 7:30 pm, Daily
Reservations: Call 707-937-5638 for reservations.

Best vegan restaurant in Mendocino

Trumpet Mushroom Coquilles at The Ravens Restaurant, the best vegan restaurant in Mendocino.

Little River Inn Restaurant

Little River Inn Restaurant is located inside the hotel of the same name. Like many U.S. food-based businesses, some Mendocino, California restaurants experienced a rough patch during the height of COVID. Rest assured, Little River Inn Restaurant is back to their pre-pandemic-style dinner service.

The menu is loaded with local fresh seafood options like the Smoked Cod Rillettes, Bouillabaisse with Lobster-Saffron Broth, and Lemon Caper Petrale Sole. I’d also recommend the Flat Iron Steak Diane.

I know I mentioned beer earlier, but I’m really more of a wine person. And I love that the Little River Inn Restaurant pours wines by Fathers + Daughters, one of my favorite Mendocino County wineries in Anderson Valley. The Chardonnay paired perfectly with our seafood!

Although the Little River Inn has an ocean view, the restaurant does not. It does, however, have a heated tent with lights and trees that make a nice romantic setting. And in case it matters to you, we had our only celebrity sighting of our trip at this restaurant.

Little River Inn Restaurant: Best Mendocino Wine List

Address: 7901 N. Highway 1, Little River, CA 95456
Hours: 5:00 pm – 8:15 pm, Sunday; 6:00 pm – 8:15 pm, Monday – Thursday; 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm, Friday & Saturday
Reservations: Online reservations recommended.

Bouillabaisse at the Little River Inn Restaurant.

Sibo

If you’re looking for a Mendocino Coast restaurant with a view, check out Sibo at the Elk Cove Inn. The restaurant overlooks a stunning cove of Greenwood State Beach where the sun sets between a charming gazebo and a large rock formation. While there are other Mendocino restaurants with a view, none quite compare to this one.

Luckily, Sibo does not charge extra for that! In fact, their formula pricing is quite reasonable.

With a flare for French fare, Chef Victor showcases local ingredients in famous French dishes such as Coq au Vin, Rainbow Trout Amandine, and Short Rib Bourguignon with meat so tender it melts in your mouth.

The menu also features some Italian specialties like Veal Osso Buco and Mushroom Risotto, as well as an Indian-style vegetable curry. All of it is delicious!

Sibo grows many of its own vegetables and herbs and even raises chickens and rabbits on the property for culinary purposes.

Of all of the restaurants on the Mendocino Coast, Sibo has the friendliest and most engaging staff. It made the evening even more pleasant to hear their stories and the history of the inn while we dined.

Sibo: Best Ocean View Mendocino Coast Restaurant

Address: 6300 S. Highway 1, Elk, CA 95432
Hours: 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm, Thursday – Monday
Reservations: Reservations required.

The view from Sibo Restaurant, best ocean view Mendocino Coast restaurant.

Ledford House

No list of best restaurants in Mendocino County would be complete without the Ledford House in Albion. A trusted innkeeper told us that this is where the locals go to celebrate, and I can see why.

The dining rooms have panoramic ocean views, jazz plays nightly, and breads are baked fresh daily. There is also an amazing Black Peppered Filet Mignon with a Bleu Cheese Port Sauce for only $36. Nothing says celebration meal like a perfectly cooked Filet Mignon with a little bubbly!

The menu is a mix of regional French food and Italian cuisine, with entrees like Cassoulet, Bourride, Mussels Provencal, Potato Gnocchi, and Polenta Torta.

The three-course price fixed Bistro Special is a bargain at $30. If on the night you’re there, they’re offering one of my favorite Paris desserts, Apple Tarte Tatin, get it!

Don’t forget to buy a loaf of bread to take home!

Ledford House: Best Celebration Restaurant in Mendocino

Address: 3000 North Highway 1, Albion, CA 95410
Hours: 4:30 pm – 8:00 pm, Wednesday – Sunday
Reservations: Online reservations recommended.

Ledford House: Best Celebration Restaurant in Mendocino.

Alternatives to Mendocino Restaurants

I wholeheartedly recommend every place to eat on this list of “Top 10 Best Mendocino Restaurants,” but a restaurant isn’t always what you need. Sometimes you just need a little snack or a quick grab-and-go meal.

While you can find plenty of fast food in Fort Bragg, that’s not the case for most of the Mendocino Coast, and quite frankly, I would never recommend the usual fast-food suspects for any vacation, except maybe if you need a restroom.

Here are a couple of alternatives to Mendocino County restaurants when you don’t have the time for a sit-down meal.

GoodLife Cafe & Bakery

For fresh-baked organic pastries, muffins, and New York bagels on the fly, pop in to the GoodLife Cafe & Bakery in Mendocino village. Order at the counter or online before you head over. For bigger appetites, they also offer a full-range of more substantial breakfast and lunch options for pick-up.

Address: 10483 Lansing St., Mendocino, CA 95460
Hours: 8:00 am – 3:00 pm, Daily

Harvest Market

A small family-owned grocer, the Harvest Market sells good prepared sandwiches that will satisfy your takeaway needs. With a wide variety that includes options like buffalo chicken, hummus and avocado, and roast beef and cheese, you’re bound to find something appealing. Don’t forget the condiments by the checkout stands.

As a cheese lover, I must mention they have a superb selection of artisan cheeses. Choose some cheese, sliced deli meats, olives, crackers, and fresh bread to make your own charcuterie board or picnic.

Or maybe you just want a piece of fruit or a protein bar, it’s all at the Harvest Market.

Address: 10501 Lansing St., Mendocino, CA 95460
Hours: 7:00 am – 9:00 pm, Daily

Bon appétit!

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