One of the great benefits of living near California’s northern coast is the chance to dine with a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean. Picture waves crashing against intriguing rock formations, fishing boats cruising across the horizon and, in spring and fall, the sight of migrating whales.
It’s all happening at 5200 Restaurant & Lounge on the Mendocino coast. The name doesn’t ring a bell? Perhaps you know it better by the resort where it’s located, the Heritage House at 5200 North Highway One. Thoroughly renovated following a five year closure, both the restaurant and resort are now open and eager to welcome visitors. Both boast waterfront views that are second to none along this section of northern California’s rugged Pacific coast.
All tables at 5200 Restaurant come with ocean vistas. Stay at the resort and come for breakfast. The burrito egg special is awesome. During the week, the lounge is the scene of a lively, daily Happy Hour. Dubbed the Old Timers Bar, it’s decorated with firehouse memorabilia and black and white photos from the historic Heritage House, first opened in 1949.
During dinner, 5200 Restaurant shines—right along with the glow of the setting sun. The tables are properly dressed with white cloths, candles and fresh flowers. The wine list features local Anderson Valley wines. The farm-to-fork menu, too, has a local focus.
We began our dinner by sharing a special appetizer of quail stuffed with spicy sausage. By far, the best quail I can remember, the dish was more than enough for the two of us. Next, we shared a warm spinach salad with bacon, Portobello mushrooms, Point Reyes blue cheese and toasted pecans. Outstanding!
For our entrees, we chose another special of the evening – penne pasta with scallops, crab and shrimp – and, from the regular menu, pan seared veal scaloppini with prosciutto stacks and local mushrooms. Hint: As portions are on the large size, sharing is a great way to go.
Luckily, we had a room with an ocean view at the Heritage House, a short stroll down the hill from the dining room. No driving after enjoying a superb bottle of wine from the Mendocino area.
Look for 5200 Restaurant & Lounge in the Heritage House Resort at 5200 North Highway One, Little River, CA. Call 877-295-9973. Find menus on the web at www.heritagehouseresort.com. Check out my article on the resort: California coasting at the one and only Heritage House.