Perfect Patios

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williseafood.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

The heat is on! And few things are more glorious than summer dining alfresco in wine country. I offer only three recommendations here because there are far too many fabulous patios than I can do justice to in the space permitted.

Willi's Seafood & Raw Bar just off Healdsburg's main square has a blissfully shaded garden patio on which to sample their delectable and different small plates. Tuna tartare--normally a snore-inducing must-skip item for me--goes in an entirely new and awesome direction here with cashews and slivered chilies in a cool coconut milk sauce, served atop crispy taro chips. Pumpkin seed-cilantro pesto takes bacon-wrapped scallops to new levels of delicious depravity. If it hits triple digits on the patio, move inside to the bar and have Bob the bartender (or one of his compatriots) cool you down with a cucumber martini.
Farm at the Carneros Inn has perhaps the sexiest outdoor lounge in wine country. Every time I go I feel like I'm at some swank beach resort, except everyone is wearing at least a little bit of clothing and the sand is limited to the bocce courts next door. Thursday evenings the Inn hosts a bocce and beer celebration open to both voyeurs and exhibitionists--and we voyeurs don't even have to move from the veranda's cushy couches to enjoy the view. Though Farm is officially only open for dinner inside, its kitchen serves a bar menu on the veranda daily from 1pm on... and this bar menu includes truffle fries. 'Nuff said.

Bardessono patio.jpgBardessono opened in Yountville in February, but summer was clearly the motivation for their gorgeous patio courtyard, reflecting pool lounge seating, and rooftop pool deck. ; With Krug champagne by the glass, sexy stemware, pristine seafood, and peak-of-the-season produce, this place had me at hello. The restaurant seating also boasts an ingenious shading device that blocks the heat and glare without putting you in the dark. Check out the heirloom bloody mary brunch, or breakfast, or lunch, or dinner--everything will be delicious on that patio.

Willi's Seafood & Raw Bar
403 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448
(707) 433-9191
www.willisseafood.net

FARM at the Carneros Inn
4048 Sonoma Highway, Napa, CA 94559
(707) 299-4880
www.thecarnerosinn.com

Bardessono
6526 Yount Street, Yountville, 94599
(707) 204-6030
www.bardessono.com

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