Whether you’re glamping at nearby AutoCamp Russian River or wine tasting through Sonoma County, you’ll want to settle into these spots in Guerneville, the logging town-turned-wine country gem. In the past few years, Guerneville has gained several fantastic spots on its main drag, making it a go-to for foodies. Here are some of our favorites.
Seaside Metal Oyster Bar
Open since 2014, the chic oyster bar is the sister restaurant of San Francisco’s Bar Crudo, and executive chef Mike Selvera’s shuckers have the same magical touch here. The menu is divided into fresh oysters ($3.25-$3.75), crudo ($12-$15) and small and large plates ($12-$27). Like the menu’s pristine produce and artisan cheeses, the tight, focused draft beer and wine list reflects the bounty of Sonoma County — and the Bay Area.
Vibe: Seaside Metal is a tiny restaurant trimmed in grays, blues and white subway tiles, with eight small tables and another dozen seats at the classic marble oyster bar. Grab a seat there so you can watch the staff prepare gorgeous salads and architecturally styled crudos while admiring the massive, industrial fog lights overhead.
What to order: Start with Crab Salad ($21), a pile of sprightly arugula atop fresh burrata, slivers of crisp fennel and asparagus, with marcona almonds for added crunch and citrus for balance. It will stoke your appetite for Arctic Char ($14), four perfectly cut, impossibly fresh tiles of raw arctic char dotted with dill, horseradish creme fraiche and kicky grass-green tobiko (thanks to a wasabi bath). Entree? You want the Octopus ($26), a sous vide preparation turns out the most divinely chewable tendril atop Beluga lentils that swim in a romesco sauce with spring onions, salsa verde and warm Castelvetrano olives. It’s seafood heaven.
Details: Open Wednesday-Sunday at 5 p.m. Happy hour 5-6 p.m. daily, 16222 Main St., Guerneville; www.seasidemetal.com
Big Bottom Market
This rustic cafe and general store has been open since 2011 and is well-known for its light California fare, including breakfast items, salads, soups, sandwiches, wines by the glass and famous buttery biscuits (an Oprah 2016 favorite thing). Dine in or grab local artisanal goodies for the road, including Sonoma Coast wines, cheese, organic orange-blossom honey and fair trade coffee. And yes, a bag of the biscuit mix.
Vibe: Big Bottom is totally chill. A small mix of wooden two- and four-tops fill the dining room, which is equal parts market and coffee house. It’s the kind of place you can linger over a brekkie sammie named The Hangover or pop in with a friend to extend your wine-tasting day with a glass of something crisp and a mezze plate. In other words, it’s the perfect hangout.
The mix for Big Bottom Market’s biscuits — a 2016 Oprah favorite — and honey is available in to-go form. (Photo: Donna Prowse).
What to order: Biscuits ($4-$11) are a must, and they come in a variety of flavors, from a simple mascarpone and honey coating to the Sea Biscuit, with smoked salmon, creme fraiche and pickled onions and capers served with organic mixed greens and tossed with a housemade vinaigrette. The sandwiches ($9-$13) are served with organic green salad, as well. We keep dreaming about the Lumber Jack, with its tender roast beef, sweet shallot jam, jack cheese and horseradish aioli on ciabatta. Salads ($9-$13) are equally filling. Our pick is the Curry Chicken Salad, which comes with crisp cucumbers and radishes to cut the sweet heat plus spiced pepitas and feta cheese all tossed in a cumin vinaigrette.
Details: Open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Monday; 16228 Main St., Guerneville; www.bigbottommarket.com
Dick Blomster’s Korean Diner
Located as a permanent pop-up inside Pat’s Restaurant and Bar on Main Street, Dick Blomster’s is a gem with a capital G. No one expects to come to tiny Guerneville and feast on big-city Korean American comfort food. It has been a pleasant surprise for visitors since it opened in 2012, with a menu featuring fabulously creative goodies: hand-cut Seoul fries with Korean chiles and kimchi aioli, chilled soba noodles with kale, Snake River kobe hot dogs with pickled daikon, cilantro and mint. We could go on.
Vibe: Vintage all the way. Pat’s is a traditional American eatery, which has been family owned and operated since 1945. The decor of the 70-seat diner reflects that: It’s ’50s-esque, with a neon red sign, swivel stools and a long counter serving singles and families alike. The old-school map of Russian River Fishing Holes hanging on the wall is pretty awesome, too.
Don’t miss Dick Blomster’s Korean Diner for the Korean Fried Crack is served with vanilla slaw (Photo: Dick Blomster).
What to order: At least one round of Korean Fried Crack ($15), breaded and fried chicken tossed in sweet soy and ginger and served alongside vanilla slaw and buttered white (Wonder?) bread. Among the other entrees (all $15), there’s crunchy battered shrimp served with sushi rice, ginger, sesame, kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce) and sriracha, as well as juicy grass-fed burgers dressed with American cheese, fried pickles, seaweed and a side of Seoul fries. Vegan? Try the KFT ($10), a tofu sandwich in the spirit of KFC. For the little ones, House Nuggets ($5) with a side of KFC sauce, natch.
Details: Open at 5 p.m. nightly. 16236 Main St., Guerneville; www.dickblomsters.com