Healdsburg, Sonoma County, California: Best places to eat - chef Dustin Valette's picks

Dustin Valette, is the chef and owner of renowned restaurant Valette in Healdsburg, Sonoma County. Sonoma-born, he was 13 when he started his culinary career, washing dishes in a local eatery. After an apprenticeship at Chateau Souverain, a Francis Ford Coppola Estate, he eventually opened one of Sonoma County's most loved Michelin-starred restaurants, showcasing fresh regional ingredients and flavours. See valettehealdsburg.com

COFFEE

Grabbing a coffee is the best way to get the day started and The Flying Goat has three cafes in the area and they directly source beans from sustainable and ethical farms, which they roast daily. They've been doing it since 1994. I love a good old-fashioned espresso (with a lemon twist), though my wife, Johanna, swears by the "Bangkok" – a latte with a shot of condensed sweet milk. OK, I will admit that I've had it once or twice and it is epic. See flyinggoatcoffee.com

LUNCH

The weather is almost always great in Sonoma, so for a relaxed lunch, nothing beats sitting outside at Italian pizza restaurant, Campo Fina, maybe playing a game of bocce with friends and family, and having pizza with a chilled glass of white wine from this great region. We go the vermentino and I always do the same – tell the server I'll take the pizza of the day and to surprise me. It's always a great experience and always so delicious. See campofina.com

DESSERT

OK, so you had a big lunch, you're full, well, there is always room for ice-cream. Especially here in Healdsburg, because Noble Folk Ice Cream makes its in house and they always have something new and creative. It's really hard to choose, but one of my favourites it ever made was the sesame – so good, so unique. Here's a local's tip: always go for the chocolate-covered ice-cream cone. See thenoblefolk.com

DINNER

Ask my recommendation of a good restaurant for dinner in Healdsburg? Well, that's easy: everyone's. There are seriously so many great places in Healdsburg, you really can't go wrong: Willie's Seafood for its lobster roll, Chalkboard for the Pork Belly, Journeyman for some charcuterie and the best burger, Bravas for grilled Octopus, Baci for a classic ravioli and well, there is that scallop en croute at Valette. See sonomacounty.com

DRINKS

An after-dinner drink is a must. Head to Duke's Spirited Cocktails, otherwise known as just Duke's, a lively bar serving some "farm-to-glass" libations that feature local ingredients. My go-to is a negroni, not only because of Anthony Bourdain but because Charlie Palmer (American celebrity chef with a steakhouse in Napa) turned me on to them there and I've been loyal ever since. See drinkatdukes.com

Comments