Top Farm-to-Table Restaurants in Sonoma County
Sonoma County chefs love their local ingredients, and supporting independent farmers, too. Menus sing with produce grown in Wine Country gardens, meats from Wine Country ranches, dairy from Wine Country creameries, and seafood from Wine Country rivers and oceans.
Here's a tip of the dusty John Deere baseball cap to the soil, toil, and finesse of a locavore chef.
the girl and the fig, Sonoma
This longtime classic, French-country destination on the Sonoma Plaza is a delight, for seasonal plates like duck egg ravioli with spring mushrooms, onion crema, green garlic, spring peas and baby carrots sprinkled in smoked paprika.
Celebrities have been known to make appearances in the dining room, but really, it's the regulars who make the scene here: savvy enough to know that the backyard garden patio offers the best seats, and that the best meal can come from asking the servers for the Sonoma-sourced, extra-special plates of the day.
Jil and Geoffrey Hales are so committed to farm-to-fork that Jil produced a film, titled Eat the View, that documents the journey one plate of food takes as the ingredients travel across Sonoma County, through the Barndiva kitchen, and into the dining room.
Chef Mark Hopper sources the best ingredients from boutique places like Preston Farm & Winery, Bellwether Farms, Mix Gardens, Earlybird's Place, and Daniel's Flats, producing fantastic dishes such as 'the farmers market' of puff pastry, ricotta, summer vegetables, tomato, pickled chiles, and olives, or wild Pacific sea bass with Sardinian couscous, avocado, blistered cherry tomato, olives, and local Dungeness crab.
Farmhouse Inn, Forestville
White tablecloths drape the tables at this Michelin Star restaurant owned by siblings Catherine and Joe Bartolomei.
Yet though the food and drink is serious, there's a warm, friendly mood, and playful dishes like the signature Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit, bringing a petite roasted rack, loin cut into thick coins then wrapped in applewood-smoked bacon, and leg confit draped in velvety whole-grain mustard sauce alongside Yukon potato. Chef Steve Litke's shops daily for his frequently-changing, luxurious, Cal-Mediterranean menu showcasing mostly local ingredients.
Glen Ellen Star, Glen Ellen
Chef Ari Weiswasser offers just 24 seats in his Cal-Mediterranean bistro, but the star is a big, fire-breathing wood oven.
He previously worked as chef de partie at French Laundry, and cooked at Picholine, Daniel, Gilt, and Corton in New York, but perfectly captures the uncomplicated essence of Wine Country cooking with dishes like brussels sprouts in brown sugar bacon marmalade; crispy spaetzle tossed with celery root, huckleberries and Parmesan; and exquisitely crisp and golden brick chicken paired with creamy polenta, lemon and Spanish caper jus. Reservations are a must.
SingleThread Farm Restaurant & Inn, Healdsburg
Restaurateurs Kyle and Katina Connaughton have finessed every detail of their combination restaurant and luxury inn, resulting in an elegant space that's home to equally sophisticated cooking. Offering an 11-course tasting menu customized to guests' dietary preferences and restrictions, SingleThread is based on the Japanese concepts of kaiseki — elaborate multicourse meals crafted as art, and donabe —rustic clay pot cooking.
Menus change daily, but might include delicacies like black cod Fukkura-san (donabe style) with root vegetables, cabbage, charred onion, and walnut-nori pesto; plus wild salmon donabe-smoked over cherry-blossom-wood with fermented rice, salmon roe, and wild ginger. Tables can be requested up to three months in advance and are released on the first of each month.
Written by Sonoma Insider Carey Sweet