It's a great time to be a diner in Wine Country, with big name chefs celebrating local ingredients in deliciously out-of-the-ordinary ways.
The elegant Japanese restaurant and inn isn't open yet, but finally, after long delays, chef Kyle Connaughton and wife/farmer Katina Connaughton are taking reservations for late November. You need to purchase an advance ticket online for approximately $200 per person, with your reward being a tour of the rooftop culinary garden followed by a spectacular 11-course kaiseki feast. Don't miss: Sonoma Coast sea urchin with kojo negi custard, watercress and caviar. // 131 North Street (Healdsburg), singlethreadfarms.com
Owners Lowell Sheldon and Natalie Goble support sustainable cuisine so dearly that this eatery (plus their original restaurant, Peter Lowell's) features hyperlocal ingredients primarily from West Marin, including Goble's family farm, Two Belly Acres in Sebastopol. Fresh seafood, including locally harvested halibut, rock cod and trout, is what's for dinner. Don't miss: tacos stuffed with fluffy batter-fried rockfish, lime slaw, avocado, radish and chipotle aioli in handmade corn tortillas ($13). // 935 Gravenstein Highway (Sebastopol), peterlowells.com/handline
Two Birds One Stone
What happens when chef Douglas Keane (of Healdsburg's former two-star Michelin restaurant Cyrus) partners with Sang Yoon (of the acclaimed Father's Office gastropub and Lukshon Asian Fusion in Los Angeles)? We get this contemporary California gem, set in the Freemark Abbey Winery, that riffs on Japanese cuisine. Don't miss: silken tofu in chilled shiitake broth and sprinkled in furikake seasoning, salmon roe and tiny, briny sea-grape tendrils ($11). // 3020 St. Helena Highway (St. Helena), twobirdsonestonenapa.com
Chef Ron Siegel worked at the French Laundry, Charles Nob Hill and the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton. But he fell in love with Nicasio (population 100) and its community hall, restaurant and lounge. There, he crafts modern American cuisine worthy of a big city Michelin star. Don't miss: braised-rabbit tortelloni stuffed with silky pesto, Parmesan cream and braised tomato ($16). // 1 Old Rancheria Road (Nicasio), ranchonicasio.com
Revival in Guerneville
Chef Crista Luedtke brought us Guerneville's Boon Hotel, Boon Eat + Drink, El Barrio and Big Bottom Market. Now she's upped her culinary game in a sophisticated restaurant showcasing West Marin ingredients. The former Applewood space has been transformed into a modern retreat with wood floors, raw-wood tables, white walls and rope-rebar chandeliers. Don't miss: Jersey milk ricotta dumplings framed with walnuts in a savory shiitake broth poured tableside ($23). // 13555 Hwy. 116 (Guerneville), eatatrevival.com