A Flight to the North Bay to Try Willi’s Seafood & Raw Bar [The Flying Gourmet]

Jim Jellison - The Flying Gourmet

Willi's Seafood & Raw BarWilli’s Seafood & Raw Bar
403 Healdsburg Ave
Healdsburg, CA 95448
(707) 433-9191
Willi's Seafood & Raw Bar on Urbanspoon

The flight from Livermore to Healdsburg isn’t very far (about 77 nautical miles) and in a Cessna 172 it’s about an hour. That’s taking into account a climb to 4,500 feet and a decent at the destination. The wind in Livermore was blowing from the East which meant that I would need to do a 180 degree turn to the west to get on a course of 303 degrees for Healdsburg.

Once the control tower cleared me to make a left turn across the departure end of runway 7 left I changed radio frequency to NORCAL (Northern California Air Traffic Control) departure. NORCAL assigned a discreet squawk on my transponder, which identified me on their radar, and I was in the system.

During the short trip I talked to another two controllers, Travis Air Force Base and Oakland Center before being released to the common traffic advisory frequency at Healdsburg. I love this flight path, off to my left is the Bay Area and I can make out the landmarks of the Golden Gate Bridge and the skyline of San Francisco. Ahead is the Carquinez Strait and San Pablo Bay and beyond is the wine country of Sonoma Valley.

Visibility was good, about 30 miles, but I was also relying on a couple of radio stations (VOR’s) to stay on course. The first was Scaggs Island, just southwest of the Napa County Airport and Santa Rosa which is located on the Santa Rosa Airport. The city of Healdsburg came into view first, and then I spotted the airport a couple of miles northwest of town. I was the only one in the landing pattern; they discourage multiple landings and pilot training at this airport. I only had to wait fifteen minutes for a taxi and ten minutes later I was standing in front of Willi’s Sea Food.

Willi’s specializes in small plates, encouraging customers to share. But, since I was alone, I ordered only two items, a salad and what I considered a main course. I had the Warm Maine Lobster with Garlic Butter & Fennel on a soft roll along with a spinach salad with goat cheese, cracked almonds, and warm bacon dressing. I was so hungry and the soft roll looked so good that I forgot to take a picture, sorry!

If you are a seafood aficionado and enjoy clams and oysters in the raw, Willi’s is a place for you. They have a great ambience and their outside dining area is charming, complete with a waterfall. Healdsburg is a wonderful town to visit, with many restaurants and hotels and bed & breakfasts. Another favorite restaurant of mine in Healdsburg is Zin’s. I will do an article on it soon; it’s currently closed for remodeling.

The return flight to Livermore was easy; I just steered to the right of Mount Diablo and stayed perfectly on course.

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