Reviews of the finest restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area by Carol and Joe Davis - the Dining Detectives. From Sushi to Prime Rib, the Detectives dine their way across the spectum of fine food. ©2006 Carol and Joe Davis









WINEMAKER DINNERS Monthly (800-541-7788)

Bay View Restaurant and Lounge at The Inn at the Tides in Bodgea Bay

It was a straight road that led us to the Sonoma coast from Petaluma.The hills this time of year were alive with colors that made the cows and sheep look like they were from a poignant children's storybook. As we came over the hill, we could see that the sun would be setting soon and we looked forward to a fine dining experience, not totally prepared for what was to come!

As we entered The Bay View room, we could see that we were in a truly special place. A warm and friendly greeting came immediately from our host, Luigi Lezzi, Maitre d'hotel and Restaurant Manager. With the grace that is hard to find in today's busy world, we were whisked to a table overlooking the Bay, Bodega that is. The other diners appeared not to have a care in the world and we soon found out why.

We were seated next to the Christmas Tree in the elegant dining room which had a beautiful wooden bar and fireplace. Our timing was perfect to enjoy the last moments of the sunset on the Bay, .Bodega that is.

Michael, our knowledgeable waiter and guide for the evening has been serving at The Bay View Room for over three years. He suggested that we begin with a glass of wine and we were soon enjoying some of Sonoma's and Napa's best.

Now for some of our favorite dishes.


Grilled Sea Scallop-puree of eggplant, endive-leek-watercress salad, and lemon lime butter-the scallops were tender and the puree accented it perfectly. Farm and Wild King Salmon Gravlox- served on crustini with Crème Fresh--Two distinct colors and flavors to tease the pallet-A special treat from our Chef de Cuisine, Steve Taub.

Fall Mushroom Stew- This soup of the day made with Shittake,
Portobello, Chantrelle, Lobster and Button Mushrooms bound in a vegetable and cream stock, could have been enough for a complete meal on a cool fall or winter night.

Traditional Caesar Salad of The Inn--served tableside-What a treat to see a craftsman loving his work!! Michael wheeled his serving cart to our table and proceeded to show us how the real professionals do Caesar---pepper, fresh garlic, whole grain mustard, anchovies, Worchester sauce, fresh lemon, egg yolks, olive oil, parmesan and croutons all mixed together before the lettuce was added-Perfect temperature, a hint of mustard and just the way Caesar had trained Michael and Luigi to make it. Delicious!

Main Course

Mignon of Ahi Tuna-compote of roasted peppers, tomatoes and leeks, saffron risotto cake-Presented in a "mound" this Sushi Grade Ahi, cut from the heart of the loin was crispy on the edges and rare in the middle- probably the best we had ever tasted.

Grilled Chilean Swordfish-finished with an Avocado and Rock Shrimp salsa, served with wild mushroom ravioli and sautéed Sonoma vegetables-Fabulous----We learned that the Chef picks out his fish daily at the local wholesale fish market.

Breast of Petaluma Chicken-sautéed with grilled artichokes, oven roasted tomatoes, black olives and demi glace with garlic-mashed potatoes-this hearty and succulent entree would make you proud to from Petaluma.

Wild Mushroom Crusted Rack of Sonoma Lamb- we detected wonderful aromas from an adjacent table so we had to investigate further! The presentation was lovely and we vowed to try it on our next visit.


Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Brandied Cherries in an almond tulip-Save room for this as the cherries flavor bursts in your mouth. The almond tulip was incredible and very unique. Tiramisu, mascarpone cheese, espresso-this classic was light with the right hint of chocolate


The Bay View Restaurant is known for Winemaker Dinners where each course is paired with a fine wine. This has been the 14th year that General Manager Carlo Galazzo has presented these Events each month. These are very popular and include a price fixe dinner with commentary from the Winemaker. Many regular visitors find that staying at the Inn of The Tides overnight compliments this experience. We had the pleasure of pairing fine wines with each course ourselves. We particularly enjoyed the Markham Chardonnay, the Grgich Hills Fume Blanc, the Simi Chardonnay and the Clos Du Bois Pinot Noir.The dessert wine a Chateau St. Jean 1992 Johannisberg Riesling, Alexander Valley, which arrived to our surprise, presented by our smiling and gracious host Luigi topped off this fantastic evening.

Service-Fit for Kings and Queens

The Bay View Restaurant at The Inn of The Tides is magical!!! We enjoyed a perfectly paced dining experience with great food and wine. We highly recommend this restaurant and look forward to returning to this warm friendly Inn on The Sonoma Coast, soon!