Sonoma Guide to The Michelin Bib Gourmand Awards
It’s a great time to dine in Sonoma County, as Michelin has just announced its Bib Gourmand awards for 2017, and 11 of our beloved eateries made the list. Michelin is world renowned for its annual awards bestowed upon extraordinary restaurants. The Bib Gourmand awards are an extra special recognition, since they honor eateries for their “good value, excellent food and top-notch service.”
Value is key. The Bib Gourmands represent restaurants that serve two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less (tax and gratuity not included). To meet Michelin’s meticulous standards while still maintaining such a low price point is a remarkable thing, indeed.
This year, Sonoma County garnered a good share of accolades, celebrating our hardworking chef talents. Without further ado, here are our Bib winners. And there’s more to celebrate, too: For a list of 2017 Michelin One Star winners, click here.
Diavola Pizzeria + Salumi
This old world” trattoria is a casual gem, wooing with artisanal wood oven baked Neopolitan style thin-crust pizzas, uncommon nibbles like ox tongue and pork belly, and a variety of seasonal bites like shiny red beet chunks sweetened with sheep’s milk ricotta.
Watch the action as chef-owner Dino Bugica as he works the wood-burning oven, producing mouthwatering roasts, alongside handmade pasta, house cured salumi and rustic signatures like braised beef tripe alla Fiorentina dressed with basil, crostini, Parmigiano and fried egg.
Details: 21021 Geyserville Avenue, Geyserville
Glen Ellen Star
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. Click here for a full review.
Details: 13648 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen
The tiny town of Forestville holds a delicious surprise. Chef Daniel Kedan, and chef Marianna Gardenhire met at the Culinary Institute of America and now, as husband and wife, are rocking Wine Country with their comfy 40-seat eatery that just happens to serve top-notch cuisine.
Kedan previously was a chef at Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc in Yountville and Peter Lowell's in Sebastopol, while Harvey worked at the former Petite Syrah, and the daily changing menu reflects their skills with exotica like wild nettle ravioli with ricotta, egg, bacon, and almond nettle broth.
Many ingredients are hyper-local, such as Singing Frog’s produce, Nightingale bread, Bohemian Creamery cheeses, and Felton Acres chicken.
Details: 6566 Front Street, Forestville
Bravas Bar de Tapas
If you’re craving Barcelona tapas like boquerones, creamy chicken croquettes and local sardines in black olive ink, this fashionable dining room and bar from chef Mark Stark will do you right.
Set in a chic cottage, the boisterous spot offers specialties like fried pig ears, a ham-and-cheese bar, and signature gin and tonics such as the Levante of Hayman’s Old Tom gin, orange, saffron and cardamom.
Details: 420 Center Street, Healdsburg
The tiny eatery inside Shed upscale home market, grange and grocery now boast a top chef, with Perry Hoffman wowing in an ever-changing, seasonal array of California dishes.
Choose from an à la carte or prix-fixe menu that’s a chef-led surprise selection of four courses. Expect the unexpected, with creations like Mendocino sea urchin with local seaweeds, charred leek terrine with Nantucket scallops, farro verde and crema di lardo, or salad of heirloom carrots and dates with wild pecans, salted yogurt and rhazets lettuce.
Details: 29 North Street, Healdsburg
Chef Shane McAnelly showcases California ingredients, mainly in small plates of crudos and pastas of the day listed on a chalkboard.
The format means dishes are sent to the tables in whatever order the cooks get them ready, but it results in fun of sharing, and surprise, as we sometimes forget what we ordered but are so delighted when it arrives.
The look is sleek and bright, with big windows and an open kitchen, while the food is wide ranging and often complex, from buttermilk fried quail decorated with fava beans, nasturtium greens, fennel and cubeb pepper vinaigrette, to beef tartare in a hefty, molded round moistened with quail egg, Calabrian chile, celery hearts, parsley and smoked salt to be spooned on crostini.
Details: 29 North Street, Healdsburg
Ari Rosen can be credited with causing a crush in Healdsburg, of the non-wine kind. Instead, it’s crowds hoping to get into his tiny trattoria where he crafts rustic Italian specialties like house-made ravioli stuffed with ricotta cheese in brown butter-trumpet mushroom sauce; braised chicken over greens and polenta; and melt-in-your-mouth sugo Calabrese of tomato-braised beef and pork rib gravy served with spaghettini and smoked mozzarella in tomato sauce.
The ambience is casual elegance, where wine is served in juice glasses, and thin-crust pizzas are best eaten with your fingers.
Details: 109 Plaza Street, Healdsburg
Owner Marco Palmieri’s Sonoma-style Italian cuisine takes a delightful twist with signatures like grilled asparagus paired with duck egg, Calabrian chili-pancetta vinaigrette and crispy shallot, or seared duck breast in a mélange of carrot fregola, braised radish, roasted baby carrot, and cardamom-duck sauce.
The mood is comfortable trattoria, cocooned within brick walls, warm wood, and a big, welcoming bar.
Details: 154 Petaluma Boulevard N., Petaluma
A lovely taste of France is alive and well in Wine Country, with this gem from chef Brian and his wife Françoise Anderson. Casual and welcoming with rich red walls, dark wood trim and bright white tablecloths, it’s a wonderful place to relax over fine wine and frog’s legs.
Lacy buckwheat crepes are a specialty, served savory or sweet, and cassoulet is a classic charmer of duck leg confit stewed with garlic flageolet beans, apple wood smoked slab bacon, and Toulouse sausage.
Details: 620 5th Street, Santa Rosa
Monti’s Rotisserie & Bar
Celeb-chef Mark Stark loves wood-fired cooking, and the results shine at this busy cosmopolitan eatery, with succulent meats, poultry, fish and vegetables all imbued with a slightly smoky crispy edge.
For a taste of the lovely, simple stuff, try the oak-roasted half chicken with Nantes carrots and pancetta, smashed fingerling potatoes, and plenty of herb butter on the bird’s crackling skin. The patio is prime for people watching, the fireplace inside is always aglow, and the bar serves stiff, classic cocktails. Click here for review.
Details: 714 Village Court, Santa Rosa
Calling all noodle heads – this pop-up turned permanent is serving sumptuous soups at its shop inside Forchetta/Bastoni in Sebastopol, courtesy of owners Matthew Williams and Moishe Hahn-Schuman. Belly-filling recipes include a steaming hot bowl of homemade, toasted rye ramen with shoyu, pork belly chashu, Tokyo negi onion, and wakame and woodear mushrooms. But still, we bet you won’t be able to resist appetizers, too, like Dungeness crab and matsutake mushroom okonomiyaki or albacore tataki with hedgehog mushrooms, edamame and sea grasses.
Details: 6948 Sebastopol Avenue, Sebastopol