Restaurants Worth a Trip Near SF

March 6, 2017
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by Zagat Staff

The top-rated, destination-worthy places to dine outside of San Francisco proper.

Erna's Elderberry House
$$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.4

Delivering a "superlative" dining experience that's as "inspired as Yosemite's Half Dome" itself, this culinary "Brigadoon" just outside the park in Oakhurst "delights" travelers with "exquisite" , locally sourced New French–Californian prix fixe dinners proffered in a "magical" setting by a "prescient" staff; P.S. there's also a "wonderful Sunday brunch" for guests who "stay at the château" next door.
The French Laundry
$$$$
Food 4.9 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.8

"Consistently" "superior" standards continue to mark Thomas Keller’s fine-dining "nirvana" in Yountville, which "awakens the senses" with "soul-satisfying" French-American tasting menus paired with "amazing" wines and served with "formal" flair in a setting that "oozes class and sophistication" ; the "otherworldly" "event" ( "plan on three to four hours" ) requires "scads of money" and scoring reservations can be "hair-raising" , but the payoff is an "astonishing meal" "you’ll remember the rest of your life."
Sierra Mar
$$$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.9 · Service 4.5

"Overlooking the rugged shoreline of Big Sur" with "incredible Pacific views" through walls of windows, this "spectacular" locale in the Post Ranch Inn provides "superb" Californian fare via "excellent seasonal" tasting menus bolstered by a "wonderful wine list" and "impeccable service" ; dinner is undeniably "expensive" , though the prix fixe lunch offers "tremendous value" given the "majestic" setting.
Chez Panisse
$$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.6

Alice Waters is "still doing it right" at this Berkeley "high temple" of "sustainable methods" , where the "inspirational" , seasonal Cal-Med set menus feature "superior" , "locally sourced" ingredients "prepared to perfection" and served up by a "classy" staff in a "beautifully appointed" "Craftsman-style" setting; the "lively" upstairs cafe is a "more affordable" "delight" with a daily à la carte menu, rounding out a "truly exceptional" destination that’s high "on every foodie's bucket list."
Healdsburg SHED
$$

A modern-day gathering place for those who love to cook, eat and grow food, this dramatic, airy space (just blocks from Healdsburg Plaza) houses a homewares shop, cafe featuring seasonal fare, coffee bar and fermentation bar serving everything from wine and beer to kombucha. A community spirit permeates throughout, with an open kitchen, event space upstairs, communal seating and a large patio where guests are known to take in that iconic wine country sun.
The Restaurant at Meadowood
$$$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.8 · Service 4.6

"Simply extraordinary" , this "top-of-the-line" Californian in a "beautiful setting" at St. Helena's Meadowood resort provides an "ingenious" tasting menu from chef Christopher Kostow that's "inventive, bold and unforgettable" , with "wines to match" and service that "mirrors the high level of execution" ; if you'd like to see everything "meticulously prepared" – and you're ready for an even more "expensive" evening – reserve the "ultimate chef's table" ; P.S. the bar's three-course menu is a less extravagant option.