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The Thomas
The Thomas
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The Eater California Wine Country Heatmap: Where to Eat Right Now

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The Thomas
| Photo: Facebook

This week we return to California Wine Country and select 15 newish locales that have been garnering serious buzz. This time around, we've been fortunate enough to consult with Press Democrat writer and Bite Club Eats reviewer Heather Irwin, who shares her picks for the hottest drinking and dining California Wine Country has to offer.

Among the map's offerings this time around is an intensely seasonal and locally sourced restaurant from an Ad Hoc alum (Backyard), some re-invented spaces that are hotter than ever (Three Squares, Cindy Pawlcyn's Wood Grill & Wine Bar) and a late-night bar that's a favorite with industry insiders (Speakeasy). There are also some seasonal cocktails that Irwin describes as "drinkable works of art" (Goose and Gander) and a restaurant run by New York-based AvroKO Hospitality (The Thomas).

Here now, the Eater Heatmap to California Wine Country:


· All Wine Country Coverage on Eater [-E-]
· All Heatmaps on Eater [-E-]

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Cindy Pawlcyn's Wood Grill and Wine Bar

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Goose & Gander

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Seasonal cocktails are the biggest draw at St. Helena's former Martini House restaurant. Bay Area mixologist Scott Beattie's cocktails are kitchen-sink affairs with shiso, galangal, pickled veggies, and artisanal boozes that become drinkable works of art. Duck fat fries, polenta cakes and grilled burgers, and roasted bone marrow set a solid base for continued sipping.[Photo]

The Thomas at Fagiani's

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A downtown Napa bar that stood empty for decades got a multi-million dollar facelift to become one of the town's hippest hangouts. NY's AvroKo group (Public, Saxon + Parole) brings serious chef power with Brad Farmerie, who created a locally sourced, casual menu of burgers, roast chicken, and grilled Montery Bay squid along with a stand-out cocktail program.[Photo]

Speakeasy

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A favorite of industry folks, late-night revelers and anyone with serious munchies after midnight, this tiny bar and patio proffers calories-be-damned comfort food until 2 a.m. Best bets include lobster and bacon mac, Croque Madame, pork belly tacos and jalapeno poppers that come with a warning and a glass of milk.

Spinster Sisters

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A little bit of NYC in Sonoma County, chef Liza Hinman heads up the kitchen with wine guru Giovanni Cerrone and Eric Anderson (a local who’s involved with Prune NYC) working behind the scenes. The menu is broken into a series of sections: Bites ($2-$4) are exactly that; Charcuterie and Cheese Plates ($6-$16); Veggies ($5-$7); Small Plates ($7-$14) and Large Plates ($14-16). Each works beautifully as a single sonnet, or together as an epic poem.[Photo]

Pizzando

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More than a pizzeria and less than a white-tablecloth experience, Pizzando hits the sweet spot in between with impressive appetizers like oil-poached albacore; slow-braised pork shoulder with pickled plums, and caraway roasted squash draped with lardo (all $9).[Photo]

Bravas Bar de Tapas

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The Spanish-inspired menu is with brassy, bold flavors that leave no question that you’ll need a breath mint or two before getting familiar with friends or co-workers. Dishes include small plates of sardines, Iberico ham, calamari, quail with lavender, and heartier dishes grilled on a plancha. A new outdoor patio and bar beg for summer sangria sipping.[Photo]

Ravenous Cafe & Lounge

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This hobbit-hole of a restaurant has only a handful of tables and barely a galley kitchen, but somehow manages to turn out rustic-luxe, farm-to-table eats including roasted tomatoes with fresh balls of mozzarella, basil pesto and pine nuts, crab cakes with cilantro aioli and roasted eggplant, fresh fish tacos, and mascarpone cheesecake with swirls of lemon curd.[Photo]

Parish Cafe

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With all of the easy of The Big Easy, Rob Lippincott’s New Orleans cafe draws you in with homey charm, Southern comfort and a menu that’s pure French Quarter. Open for breakfast and lunch Wednesday through Sunday, you’ll be hard-pressed to find more authentic Louisiana cooking this side of the mighty Miss.[Photo]

Cafe Lucia

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Tucked well back from the street, brother and sister team Manuel and Lucia Azevedo have brought the "Nova Cozinha Portuguesa" - or new Portuguese cuisine - of Manuel's highly acclaimed La Salette restaurant in Sonoma to their northern neighbors. Many of the dishes will be familiar to La Salette regulars, including richly flavored Portuguese nose-to-tail "task" or tasting plates of tripe stew, blood sausage, pig’s feet terrine and sardine pate.[Photo]

Backyard

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This restaurant sources, literally, from chef-owner Daniel Kedan's own backyard culinary gardens and those of his ranch and farming neighbors. The Ad Hoc alum opened his small community-focused restaurant with a relatively simple menu that relies on seasonal produce, foragers and whole-animal butchery as its foundation.[Photo]

Three Squares Café

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Josh Silvers transformed the former Syrah Bistro once again into Three Squares, re-envisioning it as a casual breakfast, lunch and dinner spot with a mix of homey comfort classics and a few "healthier" options after the chef-owner lost more than 30 pounds in 2012.[Photo]

Glen Ellen Star

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With just eight dining tables and a handful of seats around the open kitchen, every inch of Glen Ellen Star is prime real estate. At the glowing heart of the restaurant: Chef Ari Weiswasser’s 650-degree custom-built wood oven that perfumes the entire block with its smoke. Combining classic French techniques, razor-focused attention to detail, and exotic Mediterranean and Middle Eastern spices in every dish, Glen Ellen Star hasn’t wasted any time getting up to speed.[Photo]

Social Club Restaurant & Bar

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Steven Levine

Bob Simontacchi creates a rustic American menu around a wood-fired oven and grill with smoked short ribs, grilled Angus hangar steak, Prather Ranch burgers and Sonoma fried chicken. [Photo]

Campo Fina

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This casual wood-fired oven spot includes a large outdoor space with bocce and critically-acclaimed small plates such as octopus stew and crispy quail. For most of Healdsburg, it was love at first bite. Open for dinner daily, beginning at 5:30pm.[Photo]

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Cindy Pawlcyn's Wood Grill and Wine Bar

[Photo]

Goose & Gander

Seasonal cocktails are the biggest draw at St. Helena's former Martini House restaurant. Bay Area mixologist Scott Beattie's cocktails are kitchen-sink affairs with shiso, galangal, pickled veggies, and artisanal boozes that become drinkable works of art. Duck fat fries, polenta cakes and grilled burgers, and roasted bone marrow set a solid base for continued sipping.[Photo]

The Thomas at Fagiani's

A downtown Napa bar that stood empty for decades got a multi-million dollar facelift to become one of the town's hippest hangouts. NY's AvroKo group (Public, Saxon + Parole) brings serious chef power with Brad Farmerie, who created a locally sourced, casual menu of burgers, roast chicken, and grilled Montery Bay squid along with a stand-out cocktail program.[Photo]

Speakeasy

A favorite of industry folks, late-night revelers and anyone with serious munchies after midnight, this tiny bar and patio proffers calories-be-damned comfort food until 2 a.m. Best bets include lobster and bacon mac, Croque Madame, pork belly tacos and jalapeno poppers that come with a warning and a glass of milk.

Spinster Sisters

A little bit of NYC in Sonoma County, chef Liza Hinman heads up the kitchen with wine guru Giovanni Cerrone and Eric Anderson (a local who’s involved with Prune NYC) working behind the scenes. The menu is broken into a series of sections: Bites ($2-$4) are exactly that; Charcuterie and Cheese Plates ($6-$16); Veggies ($5-$7); Small Plates ($7-$14) and Large Plates ($14-16). Each works beautifully as a single sonnet, or together as an epic poem.[Photo]

Pizzando

More than a pizzeria and less than a white-tablecloth experience, Pizzando hits the sweet spot in between with impressive appetizers like oil-poached albacore; slow-braised pork shoulder with pickled plums, and caraway roasted squash draped with lardo (all $9).[Photo]

Bravas Bar de Tapas

The Spanish-inspired menu is with brassy, bold flavors that leave no question that you’ll need a breath mint or two before getting familiar with friends or co-workers. Dishes include small plates of sardines, Iberico ham, calamari, quail with lavender, and heartier dishes grilled on a plancha. A new outdoor patio and bar beg for summer sangria sipping.[Photo]

Ravenous Cafe & Lounge

This hobbit-hole of a restaurant has only a handful of tables and barely a galley kitchen, but somehow manages to turn out rustic-luxe, farm-to-table eats including roasted tomatoes with fresh balls of mozzarella, basil pesto and pine nuts, crab cakes with cilantro aioli and roasted eggplant, fresh fish tacos, and mascarpone cheesecake with swirls of lemon curd.[Photo]

Parish Cafe

With all of the easy of The Big Easy, Rob Lippincott’s New Orleans cafe draws you in with homey charm, Southern comfort and a menu that’s pure French Quarter. Open for breakfast and lunch Wednesday through Sunday, you’ll be hard-pressed to find more authentic Louisiana cooking this side of the mighty Miss.[Photo]

Cafe Lucia

Tucked well back from the street, brother and sister team Manuel and Lucia Azevedo have brought the "Nova Cozinha Portuguesa" - or new Portuguese cuisine - of Manuel's highly acclaimed La Salette restaurant in Sonoma to their northern neighbors. Many of the dishes will be familiar to La Salette regulars, including richly flavored Portuguese nose-to-tail "task" or tasting plates of tripe stew, blood sausage, pig’s feet terrine and sardine pate.[Photo]

Backyard

This restaurant sources, literally, from chef-owner Daniel Kedan's own backyard culinary gardens and those of his ranch and farming neighbors. The Ad Hoc alum opened his small community-focused restaurant with a relatively simple menu that relies on seasonal produce, foragers and whole-animal butchery as its foundation.[Photo]

Three Squares Café

Josh Silvers transformed the former Syrah Bistro once again into Three Squares, re-envisioning it as a casual breakfast, lunch and dinner spot with a mix of homey comfort classics and a few "healthier" options after the chef-owner lost more than 30 pounds in 2012.[Photo]

Glen Ellen Star

With just eight dining tables and a handful of seats around the open kitchen, every inch of Glen Ellen Star is prime real estate. At the glowing heart of the restaurant: Chef Ari Weiswasser’s 650-degree custom-built wood oven that perfumes the entire block with its smoke. Combining classic French techniques, razor-focused attention to detail, and exotic Mediterranean and Middle Eastern spices in every dish, Glen Ellen Star hasn’t wasted any time getting up to speed.[Photo]

Social Club Restaurant & Bar

Steven Levine

Bob Simontacchi creates a rustic American menu around a wood-fired oven and grill with smoked short ribs, grilled Angus hangar steak, Prather Ranch burgers and Sonoma fried chicken. [Photo]

Campo Fina

This casual wood-fired oven spot includes a large outdoor space with bocce and critically-acclaimed small plates such as octopus stew and crispy quail. For most of Healdsburg, it was love at first bite. Open for dinner daily, beginning at 5:30pm.[Photo]