Della Fattoria (Photo: Liam Murphy)

 

Pearl Petaluma

Eat This Town: San Francisco

By Mary Ladd

Chef’s Tasting menu at Ritu Indian Soul Food
Take a culinary tour of both California and India at this stylish and modern outpost tucked away on a bustling Mission block where 24th Street meets Folsom. Decked out with eye candy in the form of lights and colorful turquoise tiles, this spot grew out of a wildly successful food truck. Expect plenty of kebabs and marinated meats, and yes, there is the beloved and somewhat expected tandoor clay oven churning out bread. But the broccoli cheese paratha is the real love letter to chef Rupam Bhagat’s native India. With the chef’s tasting menu served family style ($40 per person, $22 extra for wine pairings), your table will love the way this affordable steal connects you to the chef directly.
Neighborhood: Mission MAP

Brunch at Pearl Petaluma
While it may look and feel like something out of the Dogpatch in San Francisco (read: tipping included in the menu prices, dog friendly, outdoor tables), this new Eastern Mediterranean restaurant near downtown Petaluma is in reality a bruncher’s dream—from the first French-pressed coffee to a “no, it’s mine” silken bowl of chickpea-fava-tomato-y shakshuka eggs with a friendly chunk of grilled Haloumi cheese that squeaks on the teeth appropriately ($18 with pita, $16 without). There’s an open kitchen and an impressive collection of cookery titles to eyeball from the bar. These may be arguably the best seats, since owner Annette “Nettie” Yang and staff chat, work, and exude a blend of friendly warmth and professionalism that leave you wanting more.
Neighborhood: Petaluma MAP


Menu overhaul at Henry’s Restaurant
It may not jump out on your first peek of the pub grub menu here, but the coal-smoked roasted lamb neck with mint and chile oil ($25) at this revamped Cal favorite is a tender and tempting carnivore’s treat. With menu overhaul from chef Chris Kronner (of KronnerBurger fame), Henry’s is under new owners (the Graduate Hotel), which means you can try new dishes that go beyond bar food—often with some of that crazy delicious Tartine bread you likely dream about pretty much every night. Didn’t there used to be a collection of giant teddy bears atop the bar, in bespoke blue and gold Cal gear back in the day? (Who says beer goggles lie?) Dark wood accents now add sophisticated flair, and the familiar tavern slash eatery still rocks potential.
Neighborhood: Berkeley MAP

Brick and mortar location for What a Chicken
“What a chicken!” is a proclamation and way of life at this bustling, family-friendly fun spot, which also started as a food truck. Now, fresh and hot smoked chicken (or ribs) with fixings such as salsa and hot tortillas rule the menu. Four pieces for $10 seems even better, given how enthusiastic owner Cesar Segur is about chicken—and life in general. He and wife Griselda both reportedly hail from the Michoacán region of Mexico. Sure, parking can be tough (impossible?) to come by at their homey spot, but at least the question “what’s for dinner?” has an easy and juicy answer.
Neighborhood: Petaluma MAP

Toasts at Della Fattoria
The bigger space caters ably to even more local Sonoma County food- and winemakers, along with stylish hordes of eaters clambering for those famous to-go loaves of bread—or just a table for two. And plenty of thought has also been put into how nice it is to sink into a deep cozy sofa while waiting for said table—all the better to watch hospitality professional Stanley Morris (French Blue, Teatro ZinZanni) greet and seat guests with impeccable calm. Carbs of the tastiest sort are king (queen?) here, so building a meal around them is important. The savory toast trio with beans, salmon, cream cheese, and spring-like egg salad make the best starter ($12). But no one, not even the strongest willed amongst us, will pass judgement when you next order eggs on campagne and seeded wheat toast with Hobb’s bacon and Havarti ($12 for two eggs), since this staff of life is a masterful show of crumb, texture, and addictive flavor.
Neighborhood: Petaluma MAP

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