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Hungry for something new? Click through the gallery for 18 Sonoma County restaurant picks to add to your 2018 bucket list. (In this photo, The 256 North burger at 256 North in Petaluma)
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256 North, Petaluma: Cheesecake legend Jan Rosen used to own several Petaluma/Santa Rosa restaurants, and now she has returned with a hip, fun American bistro-sports bar. Seafood dishes are particularly stellar, like salmon in saffron sauce or butter-wine steamed clams — and that cheesecake is as mouthwatering as ever. 256 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma, 707-766-0799, 256north.com.
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Wild king salmon with saffron sauce, Bloomsdale spinach, artichoke hearts, toy box cherry tomatoes over gnocchi at 256 North in Petaluma. (Photo by Alvin Jornada)
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Boathouse Asian Eatery, Graton Resort & Casino: The former M.Y. China has been reborn as a swanky restaurant featuring Japanese, Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. Flavors are fresh, portions are big and signatures impress, such as duck soup, classic sushi and pork belly kimchee lime fried rice. 288 Golf Course Drive W., boathouseasianeatery.com.
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The Dragon Roll with shrimp tempura, crab, BBQ eel, avocado and unagi sauce from the Boathouse Asian Eatery in the Graton Casino. (Photo by John Burgess)
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Brewsters Beer Garden, Petaluma: San Francisco nightclub maven Mike Goebel has another success to shout about with this popular, sophisticated country bluegrass spot featuring barbecue, creative pub food, craft adult beverages, great live music and a chic hideaway location. 229 Water St. N., Petaluma, 707-981-8330, brewstersbeergarden.com.
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A selection of plates at Brewsters Beer Garden in Petaluma. (Photo by Heather Irwin)
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Brownie sundae at Brewsters Beer Garden in Petaluma. (Photo by Heather Irwin)
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Coast Kitchen, Jenner: Since 1963, the redwood and stone Timber Cove resort has been a fun, if somewhat funky, retreat. A lavish renovation in 2016 turned it into a truly deluxe destination, with a luxury Cal-cuisine restaurant to match. Inventive bites shine, like fried quail drizzled in sweet chile vinaigrette, and King salmon over lentils and tangy sorrel salad. 21780 Highway 1, Jenner, 707-847-3231, coastkitchensonoma.com.
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Grilled Creekstone 21 day Dry Aged Rib Eye Steak with Summer Ratatouille, Panelle and Roasted Bone Marrow at the Coast Kitchen in the newly remodeled Timber Cove Lodge on the Sonoma Coast. (Photo by John Burgess)
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Seared Day Boat Scallops with Carrot Puree, Local Mushrooms, Micro Greens and Baby Carrots at the Coast Kitchen in the newly remodeled Timber Cove Lodge on the Sonoma Coast. (Photo by John Burgess)
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Cochon Volant BBQ Smoke House, Sonoma: Longtime barbecue master Rob Larman has transformed his mobile ’cue trailer into a brick-and-mortar, with the same delicious almond smoked meats, including beef ribs and pork shoulder. The casual spot has upscale touches, too, such as Sonoma-style sauces and boutique beer and wine. 18350 Sonoma Highway, Sonoma, 707-509-5480, cochonvolantbbq.com.
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Customers order baby back ribs, sausage, pork shoulder, short ribs and beef brisket by the pound to create their mixed platter at the Cochon Volant BBQ Smoke House in Sonoma. (Photo by John Burgess)
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The Fig Café & Winebar, Glen Ellen: Sondra Bernstein and chef John Toulze have worked their magic together for 20 years now with their nationally renowned Cal-French cooking. One taste of signatures like the grilled fig and arugula salad, steamed mussels, and blue-cheese butter steak-frites reveals why. The casual bistro is darling and offers friendly touches like complimentary corkage. 13690 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen, 707-938-2130, thefigcafe.com.
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Mt. Lassen Trout with garlic and herb potatoes, asparagus and lemon chive sour cream from the Fig Cafe in Glen Ellen. (Photo by John Burgess)
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Fork Roadhouse, Sebastopol: Tucked in a quiet Sebastopol valley, this charming roadhouse is a locals’ favorite for its top-notch California food at fair prices. Chef and owner Sarah Piccolo impresses with signature dishes such as her Tuscan bean breakfast of Meyer lemon broth with kale and two fried eggs, and a pistachio-pepita-encrusted wild salmon with grapefruit lime sauce over a panzanella salad. 9890 Bodega Highway, Sebastopol, 707-6347575, forkcatering.com.
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Fried green tomatoes on South Carolina grits, grilled corn, spinach, parmesan, pistou and prawns from the Fork Roadhouse. (Photo by John Burgess)
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Gravenstein Grill, Sebastopol: The chef shops Sonoma County for excellent ingredients, then crafts them into mouthwatering Cal cuisine like crispy local duck leg partnered with braised red cabbage mixed with organic local heirloom apples, smoked bacon, herbed spaetzle and organic local plum gastrique. Killer local wine list, too. 8050 Bodega Ave., Sebastopol, 707-634-6142, gravensteingrill.com.
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Duck Confit Flatbread with fontina, caramelized onion, chili flakes and chives from the Gravenstein Grill in Sebastopol. (Photo by John Burgess)
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Gypsy Café, Sebastopol: Comfort food is elevated with top-notch ingredients, such as “pork and beans” boasting Rancho Gordo yellow-eye heirloom beans and savory greens, or wine-braised pot roast anchored by golden-seared Parmesan polenta. The chic-antique decor makes a meal extra-special as well. 162 N. Main St., Sebastopol, 707-861-3825, gypsycafe.com.
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The House Stack with potato cake, house chorizo, avocado, 2 eggs, chive cream and sourdough toast from the Gypsy Cafe in Sebastopol. (Photo by John Burgess)
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LaSalette Restaurant, Sonoma: Chef-owner Manuel Azevedo pours love into his meticulously prepared Portuguese dishes served in a sophisticated, tile-mural-trimmed bistro. Classics include soothing salt cod casserole, while fancier fare thrills with entrées like açorda, a lemongrass-truffle broth stocked with asparagus, artichoke, fava beans, pine nuts, country bread and a slow-cooked egg on top. 452 First St. E., Suite H, Sonoma, 707-938-1927, lasaletterestaurant.com.
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Atypical Couvert, olive oil cake, queijo fresco ice cream, candied chourio with a drizzle of olive oil from Chef Manuel Azevedo at La Salette in Sonoma. (Photo by John Burgess)
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Negri’s Italian Dinners & Joe’s Bar, Occidental: The Negri family has had a winning formula since 1943, and it’s stood the test of time with delicious classics like chicken parmigiana, lasagna and garlic shrimp pasta, all served with family-style starters including minestrone soup, mixed green salad, antipasto veggies, salami, French bread and butter, and for some entrées, ravioli, too. 3700 Bohemian Highway, Occidental, 707-874-0301, negrisrestaurant.com.
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Nonni's Ravioli features house made pasta, beef, pork, swiss chard, herbs and parmesan from Negri's Italian Dinners and Joe's Bar in Occidental. (Photo by John Burgess)
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Pinoli Cucina Rustica, Guerneville: Chef Christian Darcoli owns a similar restaurant in Puerto Rico, but he is on-site for this Mediterranean eatery where he makes his own pastas and forages his own garden. As expected, seasonal pastas are the focus, like ravioli stuffed with sheep ricotta, borage, zucca flower and braised herbs, and then bathed with butter, Parmesan and sage. 13555 Highway 116, Guerneville, 707-604-7609, pinoliwinecountry.com.
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From Our Garden Ravioli with with herbs, three cheeses, sage and butter from Pinoli Ristorante at the Applewood Inn in Guerneville. (Photo by John Burgess)
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The Reel Fish Shop & Grill, Sonoma: The 111-year-old building looks like a dive from the outside, but scoot inside, past the bar and live music stage, and you’ll discover first-rate seafood. Chef Aiki Terashima hooks us with simple joys like lobster rolls and shrimp tacos, then ups the experience with fancier lobster ravioli and scallop risotto. 401 Grove St., Sonoma, 707-343-0044, thereelfishshop.com.
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Surf-N-Turf with Sonoma Mountain Beef Co. steak, jumbo wild white draws, seasonal veggies and creamy mashed potatoes topped with blue cheese creme from Reel Fish Shop & Grill in Sonoma. (Photo by John Burgess)
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Sam’s Social Club, Calistoga: The staples satisfy at lunch and dinner, including chilled oysters, charcuterie, steak and housemade pasta. For a real thrill, check out breakfast, with superb plates like Parmesan brioche egg-in-a-hole atop mushroom fondue. The Indian Springs Resort, 1712 Lincoln Ave., Calistoga, 707-942-4969, samssocialclub.com.
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The breakfast menu includes Egg in a Hole with parmesan crusted house-brioche, mushroom fondue, arugula and a side of fresh berries from Sam's Social Club in Calistoga. (Photo by John Burgess)
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Single Thread Farm-Restaurant-Inn, Healdsburg: Plan on four hours and serious wallet damage for supper at this luxury kaiseki destination that’s the Japanese answer to The French Laundry. The menu changes nearly daily, combining Asian ingredients with precious produce from the restaurant’s own farm. 131 North St., Healdsburg, 707-7234646, singlethreadfarms.com.
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Tilefish, Blue Foot, and Chantrelle ÒFukkura-SanÓ with Leeks, Brassicas from the Farm, Sansho, and Chamomile Dashi Broth from Single Thread Farms Restaurant in Healdsburg. (Photo by John Burgess)
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The Shuckery, Petaluma: The Oyster Girls caterers, Aluxa and Jazmine Lalicker, have opened a full restaurant specializing in what else, seafood. Oysters are good, but the fresh fish is divine, in simple presentations that let the fresh catch shine through. 100 Washington St., Petaluma, 707-981-7891, theshuckeryca.com.
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Pan Seared Bodega Bay Salmon with spring risotto cake, tomato confit and spring vegetables from The Shuckery in Petaluma. (Photo by John Burgess)
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Trading Post Restaurant, Cloverdale: Come for the first-rate bakery, and stay for dinner. Chef-owner Erik Johnson crafts a simple but satisfying menu of roast chicken, duck-fat tater tots, and excellent sausage-stuffed mushrooms. Be sure to order the bread board and the savory topped toasts. 102 S. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale, 707-894-6483, thepostcloverdale.com.
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Opera Cake features layers of almond sponge cake, chocolate ganache and Plank coffee buttercream with ginger sauce from the Trading Post in Cloverdale. (Photo by John Burgess)
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Twin Oaks Roadhouse, Penngrove: An iconic roadhouse since 1924, the live music joint is now owned by beer maven Dean Biersch and offers dozens of boutique brews. Try the standout burgers, the fried chicken sandwich or the first-rate French onion soup. 5745 Old Redwood Highway, Penngrove, 707795-5118, twinoaksroadhouse.com
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The sausage skillet at the Twin Oaks Road House in Penngrove. (Photo by Kent Porter)
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