Hungry for something different? Check out Petaluma’s new restaurants (welcome, Table Culture and Stellina), a wildly inventive destination (you go, Street Social), a cultural gem (Korean in P-Town!) and a wonderful spot coming soon (hello, Costeaux).
If you’ve never had a cornetto, here’s your chance to fall in love with the soft, lighter Italian-style croissant stuffed with goodies like custard, Nutella or jam. Sugar speckled morning buns beckon, too, as does a phyllo-layered raspberry puff anchored by plenty of pastry cream. At lunch, swoop in for the fabulous focaccia sandwiches — the bread is pillowy, golden, chewy, and so crackly on top it almost looks like fried cheese (get it loaded with Grandma Vera’s meatballs, herbed red sauce, fresh basil and melted provolone).
Owners Christian Caiazzo and Katrina Fried got their start in Point Reyes, with their Osteria Stellina, so you’ll see accents like Point Reyes Toma cheese or Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam Triple Cream cheese on a puff pastry with organic local egg and Petaluma’s Caggiano Company ham. That matcha in the frothy tea, though? It comes straight from Kyoto, Japan.
23 Kentucky St., Petaluma, 707-789-9556, stellinapronto.com
Table Culture Provisions
Chef-owners Stéphane Saint Louis and Steven Vargas like to add twists to classic dishes, for extra “pow” on the palate. So commit to a five- or seven-course tasting menu and you’ll find some creative takes, such as grilled asparagus topped in hollandaise, but also umami-rich X.O. sauce and sweet-salty pepitas. Or scallops with snow peas, but also coconut cream. Or homemade Parker House rolls with bone marrow butter, but also ramp powder and leek flowers. It’s haute cuisine, to be sure, but with the chunky block wall building that looks like a renovated auto repair shop, it feels neighborhood casual, too.
312 Petaluma Blvd. S., Petaluma, 707-559-5739, tcprovision.com
Menus are revamped every Tuesday, to keep you coming back for new, delicious, mad scientist surprises like chicken liver mousse kicked up with Ethiopian berbere pepper, or gluten-free golden fried chicken plated with charred sprouting cauliflower and Indonesian sambal chile paste. Owners Marjorie Pier and Jevon Martin also have fun with their beverage list, showering it with small production bottlings from Europe (their orange wine is organic, natural Pinot Grigio Kabaj Sivi from Goriška Brda, Slovenia) and, yep, a variety of canned beers.
29 Petaluma Blvd. North, Petaluma, 707-774-6185, streetsocial.social
Soban Korean Cuisine
The dishes can be unfamiliar to many palates: golbaengi-muchim, sea snails tossed with vegetables in a sweet-spicy vinaigrette, or doenjang jjigae, a fermented soybean paste soup, for example. But owners Daniel and Sarah Kim also offer more approachable yet still exciting fare like seafood jeon, a hubcap-size, inch-thick pancake studded with chopped shrimp, scallops, squid and tender vegetables, then skillet-fried to a crisp edge and fluffy interior for dipping in sweet-tangy Korean soy sauce.
This is real deal cooking, as most entrées come with banchan, the colorful collection of small side dishes that are a Korean signature. Here, we savor rainbow selections of homemade kimchi, plus nibbles like marinated bean sprouts, pickled cucumber, fish cake, turnips with red chile, Korean spinach, crisp ueong (gobo root) and yeongeun (lotus root). For spicy plates, be sure to order a Korean beer or soju (vodka-like rice drink) — it will soothe the burn from the delectable kimchi jjigae, a pork-tofu stew swirled with Korean red chile pepper and kimchi.
255 N. McDowell Blvd., Petaluma, 707-769-3112, sobanpetaluma.com
Costeaux French Bakery
A landmark for nearly 100 years in Healdsburg, the café will boast an outpost later this summer in the historic Hotel Petaluma on Washington Street. Founded in 1923 and owned by the Seppi family since 1981, the bakery is beloved for its hand-shaped, long-fermented artisanal breads baked on an Italian hearth oven. Over the years, the selection has expanded to include treats like chocolate tortes, fruit-nut tarts, feather light macarons, and elaborate cakes. Stop in, too, for a luxurious breakfast (cinnamon walnut bread pain perdu draped in pure Vermont maple syrup) and lunch (hearty, gooey cheese-capped French onion soup, or chicken panino slathered with tangy lemon cilantro mayo on focaccia).
205 Kentucky St., Petaluma, costeaux.com