Springing Forward With New Restaurant Concepts

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EDK’s wild mushroom and goat cheese pizza; photo by Deirdre Bourdet.

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Ubuntu English pea and fig leaf soup; photo by Deirdre Bourdet.

Sonoma’s ~EL DORADO HOTEL~ has re-opened its former pastry and coffee kiosk as the ~EL DORADO CORNER CAFÉ~. The all-day menu, local wines on tap, and hands-off service inspired by the casual cafés of France and Italy make this an ideal spot to while away an afternoon. The ~EL DORADO KITCHEN~ team produces all the Café’s savory menu items, which include EDK’s famed wild mushroom and goat cheese pizza, truffle fries, and tarragon-steamed mussels, as well as some new hot sandwiches and a superb version of (now-trending) spicy duck wings. Grab a marble-topped table in the main café area, or abscond with your prizes to the sexy lobby lounge. In either space, the enormous windows looking out at the Sonoma Square supply top quality people-watching for those who left their manuscripts at home. Did I mention the duck wings are amazing? 405 1st St. W., Sonoma, 707-996-3030.

In Napa, Michelin-starred chef Aaron London of ~UBUNTU~ is celebrating the arrival of spring vegetables with a bundle of new prix-fixe options. If the six-course, individually plated chef’s tasting menu at $65 per person sounds too formal, you can select your own six-course meal from the à la carte menu for only $50 per person, with each course served family style. The restaurant has also kept its three-course prix-fixe option at lunch and dinner ($35 per person), which offers an astounding value and worthy choices from the regular menu for each course. New additions to the wine list (like a brut rosé sparkler from Sicily and gewürztraminer from the Sonoma Coast), and experiments with infused sake have freshened up the libation options, as well. Beginning March 28th, Ubuntu will be serving dinner seven nights a week, with lunch on Saturdays and Sundays only. 1140 Main St., Napa, 707-251-5656.