Terrapin Creek Cafe Restaurant – Bodega Bay, CA

A Michelin One Star Experience…In Beautiful Bodega Bay

Terrapin Creek Cafe Bodegay Bay CA

Terrapin Creek Cafe Restaurant – Bodega Bay, CA

Visited: May 29, 2016

If you drive by Terrapin Creek Cafe Restaurant in the pretty, coastal town of Bodega Bay, you’d be hard-pressed to guess that you were passing an establishment that has been awarded a coveted Michelin star.  As a matter of fact, you might not even see it, as it’s tucked away just off the road.

Back in 2008, it seems that Terrapin Creek’s owners Andrew Tuong and his wife, Liya Lin (both of them accomplished chefs), were a bit burned out by the San Francisco restaurant scene where they had worked for a year.  So the two moved to Bodega Bay (about a 90-minute drive north of San Francisco)…

Terrapin Creek Cafe Restaurant Bodega Bay, CA Exterior…where they opened the 35-seat Terrapin Creek Cafe Restaurant.  Three years later the couple was quite surprised to learn they had received a Michelin star.

Terrapin Creek is one of only three restaurants in Sonoma County to be awarded a Michelin star in 2015; the others being the Madrona Manor in Healdsburg and the Farmhouse Inn in Forestville, both of which we dined at a long, long time ago.

In one article, Truong was quoted as saying, “How’d we get a Michelin star? I don’t know, but I’m happy about it.  We’re just doing our own thing up here.” And that “thing” is preparing some great meals for its customers in a comfortable setting.

Over Memorial Day weekend, Tracy and I joined our friends Kim and Mary (along with Mary’s sister Francie) for dinner at Terrapin Creek. The restaurant touts itself as “a casual neighborhood spot where friends and neighbors can gather to enjoy great local and international cuisine.”  It certainly lived up to its advanced billing.

We were a little early for our 8 p.m. reservations, but fortunately, some fast diners meant our table was waiting. Walking past the open kitchen…

Terrapin Creek Cafe Kitchen…we were seated very near the bar (beer and wine only. Corkage is $20).  The photo below is from the internet.

terrapin creek cafe interiorWe started with the fresh artisan bread baked at the Village Bakery in nearby Sebastopol.  Now it was time to dive into our dinner.  It’s a seasonal menu, so it might be different when you go.

I started with a delicious Cavatelli Pasta; beef short ribs, roasted carrots & mushrooms, green garlic and pistachio pesto ($14). It sounded like a heavy starter, but it was just the right proportion (you could also have a second order as an entrée if you wanted). It was a “Wow” dish.

cavatelli pasta terrapin creek cafeTracy absolutely loved her Pan Roasted Hokkaido Scallops; 3 scallops with onion puree, Maitake mushrooms, potatoes and shaved radishes ($15).

Pan Roasted Hokkaido Scallops;Kim can’t seem to help to order a Caesar Salad when he dines out.  This contained Eggless Dressing, Romaine Lettuce, Parmesan Cheese and Croutons ($10) and was quite good because Kim could not refrain from saying, “Hail Caesar” after eating it.

caesar salad terrapin creek cafe restaurantMary (as she often does) went under the sea for her starter decision. She opted for Raw Marin Miyagi Oysters; ($2.50 each with shallot and fennel mignonette).

Raw Marin Miyagi OystersFrancie ordered the Shrimp & Avocado Salad; citrus, nori chips, Yuzu Tobiko, Ponzu mayo ($14).

Shrimp & Avocado SaladNow it was on to the entrées, and none of them disappointed. Kim, Tracy and I got into the Memorial Day mood with Liberty…well, a Liberty Farms Duck Breast; Shitake mushrooms, fingerling potatoes and sautéed cabbage ($30).  The veggie combination, reminiscent of Asian food, was very, very tasty.

Liberty Farms Duck Breast Terrapin Creek CafeMary went for the House-made Spaghettini Pasta; Manila clams, pork sausage, spinach and lettuce with oyster cream sauce ($26).  She was quite happy with that choice.

House-made Spaghettini Pasta; Manila clams, pork sausage, spinach and lettuce with oyster cream sauce terrapin creek cafeFinally, Francie decided on the Lamb meatballs; creamy polenta, Swiss chard and Cremini mushrooms in a tomato-curry sauce ($26). This was the only dish that slightly missed the mark. Francie thought the curry taste was lacking in this dish. I guess you could say it didn’t curry flavor (or perhaps not).

lamb meatballs terrapin creek cafeOnly one person had room for dessert, the one with the ever-expanding waistline.

crème fraiche cheesecake terrapin creek cafeI ordered a delicious buttermilk pannacotta with strawberries and basil (a perfect end to the evening). On this evening other desserts included crème fraiche cheesecake, chocolate pot de crème and a Meyer lemon tart.  Yes, I wanted them all!

In addition to its impeccable service, our dinner at Terrapin Creek Cafe Restaurant turned out to be a terrific feast.  The restaurant is only open Thursday through Monday evenings (advanced reservations would be a good idea). Whether its deserving of a Michelin star (as for me, I never tire of a Michelin), well, you can make up your own mind, but if you find yourself on the gorgeous California coast north of San Francisco, a stop at Terrapin Creek is undoubtedly worth a slight detour for a delightful evening.

P1000348Even though Terrapin Creek Cafe Restaurant is located in Bodega Bay, don’t let anyone tell you it’s for The Birds (although it’s ok to Duck…medium rare is preferable).


mai tai tom rating…4.5 Maitais (out of 5)

Terrapin Creek Cafe Restaurant
1580 Eastshore Road
Bodega Bay, California
Phone: 707.875.2700
Open: 4:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. Thursday – Sunday
Parking: Free

Comments are closed.