Adding to my list of favorite things this week is a sweet little restaurant in downtown Petaluma, CA called Wild Goat Bistro. You can get a healthy dinner (that accommodates special diets!) here for a reasonable price. It will feel home-cooked with a fine-dining flare.
Nestled right near the water, this tiny restaurant feels like a cross between a European bakery/bistro and your grandmother’s kitchen. We felt right at home walking in and being seated immediately at a cozy table against an exposed stone wall.
My parents were visiting for the weekend, and on our way home from a trip to the wine country, we stopped in for an early dinner. I was drawn to their “menu of honest food that uses local fresh ingredients in a variety of culinary traditions,” (quoted from the website) along with quite a few gluten-free offerings (including dessert!).
Feeling indecisive and wanting to try as much as possible, my mom and I decided to share a few small plates.
We started with the Nutty Goat – a delicious pistachio and fruit-encrusted ball of goat cheese, accompanied by gluten-free crostini and a black currant compote. My dad was so excited when he saw it that he dug in before I could get a clean shot off.
Next we had the Beans and Greens, the Cast Iron Seafood, and the Polenta Pot Pie. I loved all three, but the polenta was especially satisfying (I didn’t get a good picture of it, but rest-assured, it was delicious).
When I saw that the polenta included mozzarella cheese, I was imagining a baked polenta-crusted pizza totally covered in cheese (and the stomach ache that would have accompanied it), but my mom really wanted to try it, so we went for it anyway. I’m so glad we did! The amount of cheese was exactly right, not over the top at all; the perfect balance of polenta and vegetables, and very modest with the tomato sauce as well. I appreciated this dish a lot, because I love polenta so much and am often disappointed when the flavor is drowned out by too much sauciness.
My mom raved over the Beans and Greens and couldn’t wait to get to the grocery store after dinner for ingredients to try to replicate it at home (I suppose the cooking gene runs in my Sicilian family…). The dish featured mustard greens and large white and red heirloom beans simmered in a white wine broth.
The men at the table went for the meatball sub, and both gave it two thumbs up.
I really hope I can get back to Petaluma before they change their menu, as we didn’t get to try the Slow Pork dish or any of their scrumptious-sounding desserts, which I’m super curious about.
The service was great, we were there early enough that we didn’t have to wait for a table, and the food experience was phenomenal. I would recommend putting Wild Goat Bistro on your list of restaurants to try if you find yourself in the area. Local, home-grown, California cuisine with a touch of Italy and a nod to the gluten-free folks among us. What more could you ask for?