Terra Restaurant Review, St. Helena

Reviewer: Foodnut.com


1345 Railroad Avenue

St. Helena, CA 94574-1123

(707) 963-8931

Terra Website

Terra St Helena exterior decor

Terra is a one Michelin star restaurant in the heart of the Napa wine country, St. Helena. The owners also run Ame in San Francisco. Earlier in 2011, they added Bar Terra next door which serves more informal items.

Why did we here? – We haven’t been here in ages, and are working our way through the Michelin starred list!

Summary – Terra serves up sophisticated cuisine that shows how talented the chef is. We were impressed and like this better than their sister restaurant, Ame in San Francisco
Insider Tip – Portion sizes small, so order more courses.

Cuisine – American
Chef – Hiro Sone
Location – St. Helena
Opened – 1988

Terra St Helena interior decor

Decor, Vibe – Terra is located in a rustic stone building right near the railroad tracks. This restaurant is fairly small, with 2 separate small rooms decorated with modern art, beautiful centerpiece, and classic jazz playing.


Terra’s Menu allows you to pick from 4 to 6 courses from a large selection of items.

Signature Dishes – Umami bomb, radicchio salad, red wine braised veal cheeks, black cod, lobster tortellini.

Website Terra Menu

Full Terra image set

Mojito ($12) was strong and well balanced.

Amuse Bouche of cold English pea soup with citrus.

Terra St Helena tuna sashimi

Tuna Sashimi with Fava Bean Salad, Pickled Ramps and Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette was very good with some well cut fish that frankly left us wanting for more. This dish was definitely on the small side.

Terra St Helena asparagus trout salad

Asparagus Salad with Lightly Smoked Ocean Trout, Dill Crème Fraiche and Trout Roe substituted a local salmon on our visit, which nonetheless proved to be excellent. Another small dish that focuses on quality not quantity.

Terra St Helena cream of garlic soup

Cream of Green Garlic Soup with Crispy Sweetbreads and Truffle Butter had several large shavings of truffles on top and proved to be outrageously awesome. This hot soup had light garlic flavors and was extremely smooth. The sweetbreads were soft nuggets of joy.

Terra St Helena beet salad

Heirloom Beet Salad with Local Goat Cheese and Toasted Almonds was another beautiful dish featuring very fresh beets along with some excellent cheese.

Terra St Helena tortellini

Foie Gras Tortelloni with Shimeji Mushrooms and Cipollini in Game Sauce was decent but not spectacular, nice tiny mushrooms and a pasta wrapper that paled in comparison to the next dish.

Terra St Helena lobster ravioli

Lobster Ravioli in White Miso Lobster Sauce with Grilled Maitake Mushrooms was excellent with several lobster chunks on the side. The ravioli was especially good with a thin delicate wrapper.

Terra St Helena cod

Broiled Sake Marinated Alaskan Black Cod with Shrimp Dumplings in Shiso Broth is their signature dish and simply awesome. A savory broth with a slightly sweet glaze tender cod. This dish shows the cook’ s excellent style.

Terra St Helena duck

Grilled Liberty Farm Duck Breast on Grilled Peach with Elderflower Gastrique Duck Sauce was served medium rare and a bit on the chewy side. It probably should have been cooked a little bit more, but tasted fine.

Terra St Helena steak

Grilled Lucky Dog Ranch Dry Aged NY Strip Steak with Bone Marrow Potato Gratin was a tiny portion of super tender, medium rare steak that hit the spot. A slightly cheesy gratin rounded out this dish.

Terra St Helena cheese

Assortment of Artisan Cheese with Fruit and Croutons consisted of 3 kinds of cheese, covering goat, cow, and a strong blue cheese. Walnuts and honey rounded out this plate of excellent cheese. They may think of focusing on local cheese like some other restaurants..

Terra St Helena chocolate tart

Chocolate caramel Tart dessert special with espresso ice cream was on the sweet side but still a decent desert.

OK: (Order if you like this dish)

Terra St Helena Abalone

Fricassee of Ezo Abalone in Escargot Butter Sauce with Abalone Mushrooms included 2 small farm raised abalones served in their shell. The braised abalone was still a bit stiff but flavored well.

Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)

Service – Terra had excellent service with a friendly waiter that knew the food well, and make sure that very little needed to be asked for. Pacing was just right.

Value – Prices are not cheap, but in-line with restaurants of this caliber. They could have easily charge more.

Alternatives – The wine country is full of stellar options including Redd, Bouchon, The French laundry, and Etoile.

Verdict – Terra serves up excellent food in a romantic setting. This restaurant is a perfect choice for foodies visiting the wine country.

Terra Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Map:

Terra Overall Rating: (Excellent 3)

Come Back?

Food Rating: (Excellent)
Service Rating: (Excellent)
Atmosphere Rating: (Very Good)
Value Rating: (Very Good)

Guide: 0 = poor, 1 = Below/Average, 2 = Good, 2.5 = Very Good, 3 = Excellent , 4 = Extraordinary

Alcohol:Full Bar
Hours:Wednesday-Friday 6-9 PM, Saturday-Sunday 6-9:30 PM
Prices:$66 - $92

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  • kristina
    April 14, 2012 at 5:40 am

    you have one awesome hobby/job. i just recently accidentally stumbled on your site and have been living on here ever since. i love the detailed reviews of the food and pictures of he dishes are excellent! im trying to improve my cooking skills, now this is way way out of my skill level but i can definitely appreciate such art! keep posting!

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    April 16, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Appreciate the kudos. Enjoy the inspiration and let us know of any tasty restaurants!

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