Thanksgiving is nearly here, and if you’re not cooking at home, it’s never too soon to make reservations for your special feast. Many restaurants sell out seats quickly, so secure your table now. Here are five tasty options for top-notch places serving Cal-style fare you’re sure to gobble up:
the girl & the fig, Sonoma
One of the pleasures of this casual but chic eatery from Sondra Bernstein is the multitude of choices available in a three-course Thanksgiving dinner. Choose your appetizer from a crunchy autumn salad of heirloom apple, endive and pomegranate tossed with toasted hazelnuts in pomegranate vinaigrette; a soup that speaks of fall with creamy roasted chestnut, crispy prosciutto and herbs; or an earthy wild mushroom and fromage blanc strudel. For entrees, it might be roasted turkey roulade rolled around ciabatta and quince stuffing alongside glazed baby carrots, cranberry orange sauce and sage gravy; prime rib with Yukon potato and butternut squash gratin, braised greens, shallot jus and fresh horseradish crème fraiche; or sautéed flounder with potato purée, spinach in brown butter caper sauce. To finish, temptations include pumpkin cheesecake with chocolate graham crust, candied pumpkin seeds and cinnamon crème anglaise; lavender crème brûlée; or profiteroles, cream puffs filled with Tahitian vanilla ice cream in a pool of bittersweet chocolate sauce. Finally, choose your time to dine, from noon to 8 p.m.
$52 adult/$20 for children 10 and under/$15 wine pairing.
110 West Spain Street, Sonoma, 707-938-3634, thegirlandthefig.com.
Left Bank Brasserie, Larkspur
One of Marin’s best restaurants is also one of Marin’s best bargains this year, serving a prix fixe four-course menu for just $41.75 from noon to 8 p.m. Look for classic selections like Norbest natural roasted turkey with Yukon gold mashed potatoes, corn bread stuffing, Brussels sprouts with lardons, candied yams, giblet gravy and orange-cranberry relish; smoked honey-mustard glazed natural rack of pork with leek and potato gratin, Brussels sprouts with lardons, apple chutney, and pork jus; or autumn risotto with a seasonal mushroom fricassee. Vegetarian options, a la carte dishes and a children’s menu will be available, too.
507 Magnolia Avenue, Larkspur, 415- 927-3331, leftbank.com.
Napa Wine Train, Napa
For a truly memorable Thanksgiving dinner, take the show on the road with a traditional supper served on board the Napa Valley Wine Train. Prepared by executive chef Kelly Macdonald, the turkey is always perfect, and dinner often turns into a party, as guests mix and mingle and share the holiday spirit. Climb aboard at 4:20 p.m., settle in to eat and drink as you roll past the lovely vineyards, then disembark at 8:30 p.m.
1275 McKinstry Street, Napa, 800-427-4124, winetrain.com.
Another gem from Sondra Bernstein, this classic, elegant restaurant is a favorite of locals who hide away on its intimate, fireplace lit patio, or in its cozy, Victorian style dining rooms. On the table this year is a four-course feast with plenty of choices to keep large groups of friends and family finding all their favorites. To start, whet your appetite with prosciutto brodo soup studded with Mano Formate prosciutto, pumpkin, lacinato kale, crostini and pecorino; or an apple and chicory salad with blu del monceniso and walnut vinaigrette. Next, it’s pasta, either blue crab ‘rustichella” spaghetti tumbled with wood-roasted San Marzano tomatoes, capers and chile oil; or sugar pie pumpkin ravioli stuffed with cipolinni onions, sage brown butter, toasted hazelnuts and vincotto. For the main event, which will it be - roasted turkey roulade of black truffle polenta, cavola nero, cranberry compote and marjoram gravy; semolina crusted white trout with farro, butternut squash, spinach, toasted walnuts and agro-dolce sauce; or leg of lamb with olive oil potato purée, Brussels sprouts, rosemary lamb jus and gremolata? Find a sweet finish in pumpkin cheesecake with amaretto sauce and candied pumpkin seeds, or apple crostata with spiced caramel, frangelico gelato. The time is yours to choose, too, with seatings from noon to 8 p.m.
$52 adult/$20 for children 10 and under/$18 wine pairing.
400 West Spain Street, Sonoma, 707-933-3663, estate-sonoma.com.
Dry Creek Kitchen, Healdsburg
This showcase destination restaurant from chef Charlie Palmer rolls out the stops for Thanksgiving, delighting with a lavish three-course supper served from 2 to 7 p.m. You craft your own meal, beginning with a first course of Sonoma County greens, shaved root vegetables, candied walnuts and house made cheese; roasted beet ‘carpaccio,’ rye croutons, goat cheese mousseline and Sausalito Springs watercress; or “bacon + eggs” of slow cooked pork belly, poached egg, wild arugula and toasted brioche. For the main course, chef Dustin Vallette sends out a sumptuous selection including a duo of Willie Bird turkey (herb crusted breast and slow cooked thigh), with cranberry marmalade and sourdough bread ‘gratin;’ local black cod with jardiniere of Sonoma baby vegetables, petite fingerling potatoes, and artichoke barigoule; or roasted Sonoma leg of lamb with rosemary polenta pave and caramelized onions in lamb jus. There’s still more, however – perhaps you prefer hard cider glazed rack of pork, roasted cipollini onions, Belgian endive and Calvados apple sauce; or prime New York steak with yuzu-pink peppercorn infused butter, potato dariole and wild mushroom fondue; or butternut squash ravioli in vanilla-brown butter emulsion with squash batons and crispy sage. Desserts are a chef’s dream, too, such as Cinderella pumpkin pie with salted caramel sauce, candied pepitas and cinnamon gelato; hand pulled apple strudel, golden raisin compote, walnut ice cream and local honey gastrique; or warm chocolate fondant with almond florentine tuile, cocoa nib streusel, and malted bittersweet chocolate ice cream.
$65 adult/$25 or a la carte children’s menu.
317 Healdsburg Avenue (in Hotel Healdsburg), Healdsburg, 707-431-0330, charliepalmer.com.
Tip: Bring friends and family along for a most special supper, with a private Town Car or limo for door-to-door dinner service from Pure Luxury Transportation.