There’s something about giant pans and fire that brings out the theatrical in chefs. That and a hungry crowd that’s had more than a few of Bravas Bar de Tapas’ sangrias.

But every Friday and Saturday night during the summer, Chef de Cuisine Cody Thomasson or Sous Chef Julian Lopez, ham it up at the Healdsburg restaurant’s back patio fire pit, creating crowd-friendly paella studded with fresh seafood, local meats, produce fresh from nearby Sonoma County farms, and the signature flavors of Spanish pimenton, or smoked paprika, and saffron.

When all the flavors have sufficiently melded together into a giant steaming, sizzling array of culinary artwork, the bell rings to come and get it. Which is where things get especially theatrical.

Bravas Bar de Tapas Paella

Bravas Bar de Tapas Paella. Photo: Loren Hansen

“Combining campfire, theater, and thrilling feat of culinary bravado, our guests love watching this spectacle almost as much as they love the tasty results,” say owners Mark and Terri Stark (of Willi’s Wine Bar et al.)

We can’t think of a better way to spend a warm, Sonoma County evening than round the paella pan, drinking sangrias, nibbling tapas and watching the show. Just watch out when it comes time to lineup and eat, cause we throw elbows like nobody’s business.

Price may vary depending upon ingredients. Paellas come in small (serves 2, approx. $24) and large (serves 4, approx. $48) portions. Guests are advised to call the restaurant beforehand to make sure that weather will permit the wood fire that day. 

Bravas Bar de Tapas, 420 Center St, Healdsburg, (707) 433-7700.