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fine dining

Animo owners opening Golden Bear Station in former Tips Roadside space in Kenwood

in Food

The owners of Sonoma’s critically acclaimed Animo restaurant have announced plans to open a second restaurant, Golden Bear Station, in Kenwood this fall.

The American cuisine brasserie will be a more casual cousin to Animo, chef Joshua Smookler and Heidy He’s contemporary eatery that features whole Spanish turbot and other Basque- and Korean-inspired dishes.

Smookler said they were looking for a new restaurant location in the Sonoma Valley and had a serendipitous conversation with Tips Roadside owners Andrew and Susie Pryfogle about their space. The barbecue and Southern comfort food destination that opened in 2018 closed abruptly in late August. The restaurant business license for the space at 8445 Sonoma Highway transferred to He and Smookler on Sept. 1, leading to much speculation about the couple’s plans.

Continue Reading on the Press Democrat

The 30 Best Restaurants in Sonoma

in Food

Whenever I visit a new place, I’m eager to find restaurants that serve up the true flavors of the region. That’s not always an easy feat when SEO-optimized lists, pumped-up Yelp reviews and sales-driven picks top the online search results.

As a longtime dining editor in Sonoma County, I want to be your guide to the essential, “most Sonoma” restaurants that locals and visitors should know. My selection of best restaurants is entirely based on the impressions of someone who has dined for a living in this area for nearly 20 years. No one paid to be on this list. I don’t accept free meals or any other compensation in return for positive reviews.

In order to make this list, restaurants need to feature local ingredients on their menu, which should change with the seasons and reflect the land and waters around us. This list also highlights chefs whose skills and attitudes I respect.

Those are not the only qualifiers. Sonoma County also is home to a large Latino population who’ve brought the recipes and flavors of Latin America to this region. Latino chefs and restaurants are not only part of the local food scene, but continue to shape it in a significant way and therefore are also included on this list.

Continue Reading on the Sonoma Magazine

Top Sonoma County Restaurants

in Food

Widely thought of as the chiller side of Wine Country, Sonoma County encompasses small metropolises like Santa Rosa, sleepy Glen Ellen and all points in between. The coastal county, which boasts more than 400 wineries, has also seen its culinary scene pop off in recent years.

Healdsburg, once a hidden gem of the region, has blossomed into a renowned destination with Michelin-starred restaurants and a proliferation of high-profile restaurant and bar openings. And smaller towns like Windsor have attracted the attention of talented chefs, like acclaimed pizzaiola Leah Scurto.

Accordingly, there’s a wide range of experiences represented here, from bucket-list tasting menus to smaller, often overlooked highlights. That means heavy hitters like Cyrus, a fine dining fantasia in Geyserville, and Petaluma’s Soban, a notable standout in a region where Korean cuisine is hard to find. Sonoma County also plays host to some of the Bay Area’s best bakeries, opened by fine dining veterans who’ve channeled their labors into producing incredible breads and pastries.

If you’re looking for wineries to visit, definitely check out our guide to the Top Sonoma Wineries, reported by wine critic Esther Mobley. And don’t miss our recommendations for the best restaurants in San Francisco and the wider Bay Area.

Continue Reading on the San Francisco Chronicle

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