Looking for suggestions for really nice (but not quite as pricey Single Thread or Meadowood) place for dinner in wine country - either Sonoma area or Napa area. Some ideas I have are Redd, SHED - maybe little casual - Barn Diva Farmhouse Inn - any great places you’d suggest?
[quote=“Lethe2020, post:2, topic:9091”] Ken Frank’s La Toque
I go back with La Toque to when they were in that little hotel Rancho Caymus. Loved the atmosphere there and the food was exceptional. Every bite, every wine pairing. We were sad to see it move to the hotel. He was always in the kitchen back in the day!!
TY - will look into La Toque. We were there about 4 years ago and enjoyed it but clearly need to be sure the right chef is on hand.
I live near Sonoma so am familiar with the restaurants in town and was looking for some place that was just a tad more creative and original - and focused on a california approach as we’re bringing out of town friends. Agree with you on importance of the noise factor. Hate it when you can’t even hear the people sitting across from you !
I visited Farmhouse in Guerneville recently but didn’t eat there - it’s a pretty small dining room but the menu looked wonderful.
It’s definitely a drive but was thinking also about Sir & Star in Olema - have you been there?
Oops guess Farmhouse is out - they only accept up to 6 people in group and we’re 7
Nope haven’t been to Sir & Star. Seldom get out that way these days, unfortunately. If Farmhouse can’t take you, I’d suggest Barndiva or La Salette/Sonoma Square (recently moved to prix fixe).
If you are limited to Healdsburg, I’d eat at Bravas as first choice, assuming chef Cody Thomasson is still there. Barndiva and Valette would be the others. Barndiva can be erratic and service so-so, but the patio is lovely (as is Bravas’). Valette gets much love and is on our list to try. Noise may be a factor there, maybe someone can chime in who has been there?
Frankly, we think the best food outside Farmhouse is Willow Wood/Graton. It’s a country casual cafe, only open till 9p, and get there as early as possible. Service is very good (better than most of the “name” places, frankly); decor simple but comfortable - and the food is outstanding.
If you are a polenta lover, there is NOTHING better than WWC’s polenta. We have eaten it up and down the West Coast and hands-down theirs is the best. The pork topping is cooked various ways but is always melt-in-the-mouth tender. Last time our friends ordered it and found the meat (porcetta style) could be cut with a spoon. Not shredded…but actually cut, easily, with the spoon edge.
Also, WWC makes an amazing old-fashioned gingerbread cake that is terrific. We usually specifically reserve a suitable # of slices because they often run out. To be honest - if I had out of town friends, I’d bring them here. The familiarity of the menu is reassuring but the quality and execution will rock their world.