At Manka's, just an hour north of San Francisco amid patches of coastal forest, the offerings are full of whimsical dishes made daily from fresh local ... More
Manka's Inverness Lodge
At Manka's, just an hour north of San Francisco amid patches of coastal forest, the offerings are full of whimsical dishes made daily from fresh local ingredients. The menus themselves describe each plate with weird platter. You can sometimes find "Mussels Topped with More Mussels" during Saturday Night Supper, while "Sunday Service in the Church of Culinary Delights" sometimes features "Sole Saved from the Surrounding Seas" (you are charged not for the food, but for "your penance"). Meals are often of the fixed-price persuasion, so prepare yourself for a full-on fine-dining experience. The kitchen prides itself on serving goods "farmed, fished and foraged within a half hour", and that attention to detail keeps appreciative patrons coming back for more.
Having heard about Manka's, I called to make a Saturday dinner reservation and was told:
There is one seating at 7:00 PM. It is a fixed price menu at $88 per person. A credit card is required for a reservation. The reservation is non-cancellable and your credit card WILL be charged. There are no choices on the menu and you will be served whatever the chef chooses to serve. The menu will not be set until 3:00 in the afternoon, so there is no way to predict what's for dinner.
I decided to pass.
Manka's Inverness Lodge is one of those ethereal, glorious splurges. I've wanted to visit for years, but hadn't really had the opportunity until this spring. For Christmas I gave my wife a weekend away in the cabin (Manka's cabin is the one we rented), a thoroughly expensive, gloriously appointed, fabulous retreat.
Service, as everyone remarks, is a bit odd, although they did manage to meet all of our needs--they even bought our cabin a plugin teapot when we pointed out that ordering a tiny pot of hot water from the kitchen was rather inefficient. If you're willing to set your pace to local time and slow down, it is entirely not a bother. Otherwise...
The room was well appointed, trimmed in redwood with music piped throughout, a beautiful fireplace, a clawfoot tub, an outdoor shower (sounds odd, but a great thing), a hot tub, and more. (For the extra money, get a cabin)
The dining experience was also excellent. They have one or two seatings rather than staggered service, which is a bit unusual, but the food was glorious with no real misses (far better than we experienced at the overrated Manresa, for example). The wine list was weak--we had brought a special bottle for our meal and it was well-worth it to have done so, but otherwise the experience was superlative. Service at dinner was perfect, if a tiny bit on the slow side (larger parties seems to hog the attention). Breakfast was glorious.
Overall it was a great time. I understand some people's frustration with the service. But the perfect appointments, the beauty of Point Reyes, and the lovely meal will no doubt bring us back again.
Manka's is one of the great hidden treasures of the bay area. the tasting menus are one of a kind and the wine list outstanding. but it's the atmosphere which makes the meal - tucked away in the pt. reyes headlands, the resturant feels like it's a throw back to the hunting lodge of a hundred years ago. service is hit or miss, but once you arrive, you won't want to leave, and being forgotten by the wait staff may feel more like a blessing than an outrage!
Give me a break! For the money you'd think this place was going to be the Ritz but not even close. Service is almost non existent and when you finally track someone down don't expect a gracious response. Dinner---once again service was very slow and when I pointed out that our soup was so salty we couldn't eat it (nettle soup) the servers response was well..the next course will be here soon. My reccomendation for this place---don't bother.
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*Terms & Conditions: Savings calculation is based on Flight + Hotel vacation package bookings for a 3 month period for 2 adults with a 2+ night length of stay compared to price of the same components if booked separately during same period. Savings will vary based on origin/destination, length of trip, travel dates and selected travel supplier(s). Savings not available on all packages.