Healdsburg’s Madrona Manor was a Victorian belle in desperate need of a face-lift. Built in 1881, for decades it remained an ode to the fussy aesthetics of another era, despite its world-class restaurant and opulent location in the Alexander Valley.
After purchasing the property in 2021, a group of investors led by St. Helena-based designer Jay Jeffers; his brother, Kyle Jeffers; and general partner Cory Schisler spent more than a year rethinking the space to honor the past but also offer a modern, luxury experience worthy of the sweeping vineyard views and world-renowned restaurant.
Reopened in mid-April, the property (now called The Madrona) has maintained its elegance with fun, even whimsical touches like rabbit-eared chairs, chicken portraits and an equine-theme wainscot made of horsehair in the old carriage house. But it’s the restaurant, headed by Michelin-starred Chef Jesse Mallgren, and airy dining rooms that are perhaps most changed.
Gone are the creaky and uneven floors, heavy white tablecloths and petticoat drapes that never jived with Mallgren’s forward-thinking culinary prowess. Instead, custom carpets, modern lighting and pinstriped outdoor furniture are a visual relief for patrons dining from Mallgren’s simplified new menu.
Now serving brunch, lunch and dinner, The Madrona has tossed aside complex molecular gastronomy for more approachable, but still opulent, dishes like caviar and onion dip with trout roe and homemade potato chips, a salad of fresh estate-grown greens and chicken paillard with spicy brown butter and rice powder.
Mallgren’s famous ice cream made with liquid nitrogen is gone from the menu, but so are the early 2000s. And we’re all ready to move on.
Onion Veloute: One of the only dishes that remain from the original menu, this creamy soup features a floating slow-cooked egg that melts into the dish, adding a second layer of luxury.
Warm bread: Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of these towering brioche buns with tart cultured butter. Bet you can’t eat just one.
Grilled local black cod: Gently poached cod gets a bath of lemon-thyme broth studded with fresh peas and estate-grown carrots. So simple, yet so good.
Guava Sour: Don’t overlook the house cocktail menu that plays to seasonal fruits and herbs. This tart vodka sour gets a mix of guava nectar, lime, orange oil and Lillet and black salt with just a hint of herbaceous absinthe.
1001 Westside Road, Healdsburg, 707-395-6700, themadronahotel.com