Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Glen Ellen Gourmet

This Sonoma town may not be large, but its culinary scene is booming.



Glen Ellen Star: Veggies are served in cast-iron pots.

Photo courtesy of Glen Ellen Star

The tiny village of Glen Ellen in northern Sonoma Valley boasted a population of only 784 in 2010. That number was surely lowered by the devastating Nuns Fire last year, which destroyed many homes nearby. Yet despite its small size, the town has become one of Wine Country’s top dining destinations.

Otherwise best known for Jack London State Historic Park and Benziger Family Winery, Glen Ellen primarily serves locals from Sonoma to Santa Rosa, as there aren’t many lodgings nearby. These small-town eateries provide an insider’s taste of Wine Country for visitors.

Chef Ari Weiswasser: The Glen Ellen Star chef  harvests ingredients. Photo courtesy of Glen Ellen Star.

Owned by Sondra Bernstein and John Toulze of The Girl and the Fig, The Fig Café will seem familiar to those well acquainted with the Sonoma restaurant. Like its sister restaurant, it features country French home-cooking made with local ingredients and exclusively serves Rhône wines. thefigcafe.com.

Chef Ari Weiswasser of Glen Ellen Star spent two years at The French Laundry before opening this establishment with a casual feel and distinctly California sensibility. The Star also puts a strong emphasis on sourcing ingredients from regional producers–including its own certified-organic two-acre farm–but sets itself apart with its wood-fired cooking. glenellenstar.com.

The Fig Café: Mushroom pizza and grilled albacore delight at this French-inspired restaurant. Photos courtesy of The Fig Cafe.

Another authentic local hangout is The Saloon at Jack London Lodge. Steeped in the history of the area, the saloon serves comfort food and burgers until 9 p.m. and Wine Country sips until 2 a.m. every day. jacklondonlodge.com.

Also at the Jack London Lodge is Umbria. Chef-owner Giulio Tempesta has relocated and reinvented his famed San Francisco original in Glen Ellen. It might be a new location, but Umbria is still serving up the best of classic Italian food: spaghetti and meatballs in chunky ragu meat sauce, pizza, and a breaded chicken breast atop grilled polenta and spinach. umbriaglenellen.com.

Visitors can also find new faces in Glen Ellen at Les Pascals Patisserie et Boulangerie. The Pascals in question are chef Pascal Merle and his wife, Pascale, who—along with baker Sean Perry—craft pastries and breads customers can eat on the go and serve breakfast and lunch in-house daily as well. The café is casual, but very French. lespascalspatisserie.com.

Mixing the old and the new, Glen Ellen Inn Martini Bar and Grill has reopened after renovation. It offers fresh California cuisine, without fuss. glenelleninn.com.

Any and all of these dining spots will offer visitors an excellent example of Glen Ellen’s blossoming culinary scene. Call ahead to check for hours and reservations, but don’t hesitate to venture out and discover these hidden gems.

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Barn by Barn

Eileen Chiarello launches crowdfunding company to support “good food” entrepreneurs.

Rock Lobster

A Maine tradition, in the form of a casual shack serving red-clawed crustaceans, comes to Napa

Flavor! Napa Valley

Flavor! Napa Valley is a celebration of wine, food, and fun.

New Wine Country Eats

What’s for dinner? reservations, at these tasty new Spots.

Foodie Destination Among the Vines

Ram’s Gate Winery Culinary Director Taylr Behnam Cuneo pairs food and wine for delicious—and unexpected—results.

Wine Country Cooking Classes

Up your kitchen game with these classes.

Inside Wine Country

From locally inspired recipes to essays on winemaking, these new books have it all.

New Eats

An array of nifty new snackable bites and small-plates eateries.

Apple Heaven

Experience the best in apple culture—from pies to cider—in Sonoma County.

Cabernet Cookoff for a Cause

For 10 years, the best chefs have gone toe-to-toe to raise money for local charities.

Good Wine, on Tap

Following wineries’ success with screw caps, restaurants and bars try their hand at making wine more accessible

Wine Country Cooking Classes

Learn something new at one of these classes.
Edit ModuleShow Tags