The village of Mendocino is like something out of a movie with all Victorian buildings, everything is so elegant. Trillium is in an old Victorian house; it is one of the newer restaurants and boosts amazing food and views. It’s an inn with a 20-table locavore café.
Trillium Cafe is located right in the middle of Mendocino village. Mendocino was settled in the 1850s as a logging community and it is now on the National Register of Historic Places. This town, of 900, will transport you to a bygone era.
The restaurant is beautiful and cozy with a fireplace and ocean views. When the weather permits, they have their outside deck open. It has ocean views of Big River Bay and their beautiful flower garden filled with culinary herbs, summer veggies, and endless flowers. They serve the best Mendocino has to offer in organic, high quality ingredients and they try to use their local farmers as much as possible. Trillium Cafe & Inn is close to all the local shopping, Main Street, and is just a short walk to the beach and the Mendocino Headlands State Park. Located in the heart of Mendocino, Trillium Café offers ocean views and inspired California cuisine in a cozy, relaxed environment. Long-time visitors to Mendocino will recognize this as the location of the Moose Café. Trillium continues in its proud Mendocino tradition, while offering an updated feel and menu. Chef Daniel Martin-Dzul prides himself on sourcing produce, meats and seafood from the Mendocino County coast.
Although not the cheapest option in Mendocino, it is far from the priciest, and offers a wonderful value for quality ingredients and dishes. The setting is excellent as well, and you can sit either inside in a pleasant farmhouse-style setting, or on their beautiful deck overlooking their gardens with a view of Mendocino Bay and the Pacific Ocean.
The menu is relatively contemporary for Mendocino, with a nod towards classic California farmhouse cuisine.
Here’s What I Tried:
Soup of the Day, with purée parsnip, leak and potato. This is a very delicate soup, with rich parsnip flavor, simply delicious.
Local Seared Albacore Tuna, with tamari reduction, micro greens, pickled ginger, and chili glaze. The combination of the sweet and sour really sets my taste buds on fire, not in the literal sense, but just so wonderful.
Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tart, with arugula, olive oil, and balsamic. The onion is sweet and the local goat cheese is tangy, it melts in your mouth. I took half home and ate is for breakfast the next morning.
Cured Salmon Salad, with lemon and herb cream, radish, cucumber, arugula, jicama, red wine vinaigrette, and sesame croutons. The vegetables are so fresh, it is like they were picked right before serving, and the salmon was salty, but smooth, a great salad option.
Carrot and Snap Pea Salad, with arugula, radishes, croutons, citrus vinaigrette. The snap peas did exactly that – snapped in your mouth, another amazing salad.
Wild Caught Local Fresh Fish, with Cod and roasted fingerling potatoes, broccolini, pumpkin seeds, preserved lemon caper relish, lemon herb butter. This fish came right out of the local waters; you can taste the ocean in every bite.
Prawns and Mushroom Risotto with leeks, tomatoes, spinach, cream, wild mushrooms. This was another favorite, with the super plump prawns and the backdrop of mushroom risotto, how could you go wrong?
Grilled T-Bone Lamb Chops, with a coffee and chili rub, grilled fennel, fingerling potatoes, asparagus mint/cilantro pesto, romesco. The lamb was cooked medium rare and there was not a lot of seasoning on it so you could really gets its essence, a super nice balance of flavor.
Grilled Asparagus, with roasted red pepper Romesco, and Laura Chenel goat cheese. Correctly cooked asparagus at a restaurant is super hard to find, they nailed it.
Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake, with raspberry, chocolate chip ice cream, and raspberry sauce. A perfect way to end my meal, with all of this chocolate goodness.
Vanilla Cheese Cake, almond flour crust, and strawberry balsamic sauce. This was my server’s choice and she called it. One of the best cheesecakes ever.
Meyer Family Cellars Chardonnay “Donnelly Creek” Anderson Valley 2016. I liked this wine with the Cod; it is creamy and was a nice addition to the super fresh cod.
Skylark “Pink Belly” Rose Anderson Valley 2017, a truly wonderful wine, went great with the sweet and sour Albacore tuna.
Hendry Zinfandel Blocks 7 and 22 Napa Valley 2015. This is the best wine with the lamb; it is bold and strong and will stand up to the lamb flavors.
Enkidu Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County 2017, I really enjoyed this wine with the Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tart, it really sets off the sweet onions.
They also have lodging at Trillium. Upstairs from the restaurant, they offer three guest rooms, two of which have ocean and garden views. Their third room has views of Mendocino Village and its own private bath. In 2014 they renovated and redecorated the entire building, giving each of their rooms new carpet, paint, beds, furniture, and linens.
Trillium has been featured in many magazines: Marin Magazine, Travel and Leisure Magazine, Zagat Magazine, Yankee Magazine, New York Magazine, Expedia Travel Recommendations, 7 x 7 Magazine, Afar Magazine, Wallstreet Journal, Los Angeles Magazine, and Sunset Magazine.
“Great eats, historic inns, stunning views. The only thing you won’t find in this NorCal seaside town is cell service. And that’s the point…. at Trillium Cafe, the menu might include grilled wild-mushroom flatbread, local albacore, and a creamy Meyer lemon tart.”
Trillium will be open all year until next December, when they close for their annual break.
Delicate and delightful, would be my full description. All done with pristine elegance, just the perfect combination of sustainable, farm to table. Do not miss this restaurant when you are visiting Mendocino.
Lunch: Daily from 11:30 am – 2:30 pm
Dinner: 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm Sunday through Thursday
Dinner: 5:30 pm – 9 pm Fridays & Saturdays
Trillium Cafe & Inn
10390 Kasten Street,
Mendocino, CA 95460
• Note some content was taken off of their website