The Olema Inn & Restaurant
Delicious California Mediterranean Cuisine
It was a wondrous Saturday afternoon and the Dining Detectives were once again driving toward the Pacific Coast. We took the scenic route through Nicasio from Petaluma and enjoyed the picturesque rolling hills with ranches dotted with grazing sheep and cows, as we headed for our destination, The Olema Inn, which is at the junction of Highway One and Sir Francis Drake in Olema. Olema is 60 miles north of San Francisco and a perfect Northern California getaway.
The Olema Inn is an historic landmark that first opened on July 4, 1876. The Inn has been meticulously and lovingly restored with 6 luxurious Guest Rooms upstairs and a comfortable Bar and lovely Dining Room downstairs. The Guest Rooms are each decorated with a subdued color palette, expertly chosen antique furniture and luxurious bedding and linens. The color scheme for the Dining Room is crisp white with antique wood floors which creates a simple yet elegant ambiance. Color is brought into the Dining Room from the beauty of the outdoors, as it overlooks a lovely country garden and patio. The Inn is the perfect spot for a wedding or special occasion. This is a popular destination in the spring and summer months, so be sure to plan ahead.
We entered and were warmly greeted by Melissa Purdy, the manager, and opted to start with a drink at the bar. We loved the antique wood bar, the replica sailing schooners and the antique piano in the bar area. After a glass of wine, which included a 1999 Honig Sauvignon Blanc and a 1999 Santa Barbara, Jaffurs Viognier we were escorted to our table in the dining room. We felt the serenity of the country but could also see that we were in for a fine dining experience! Uma, our waitress, came to our table and told us about the specials and got us another glass of wine to get us comfortable.
Here are some of the dishes that we tried and highly recommend.
Oyster Chowder with a touch of cream and carrots, celery, and fish eggs. A great stew/soup that was loaded with oysters and a must.
Tomales Bay Hog Island Oysters on the Half Shell- We tried both the Sweetwaters and the Kumamotos. They were fresh and delectable. We especially loved the Flying Fish Roe- raw Oysters topped with a sauvignon Blanc mignonette, scallions and tobiko sauce. The Classic raw oysters were also terrific served with a sauce that included champagne, champagne vinegar, shallots and black pepper.
Harissa Prawns with Pistachios & Pearl Cous Cous. Another great appetizer that we loved with its fabulous sauce.
Epic Mache Salad with Brittled Hazelnuts and a Hudson Valley Camembert Crepe. Fantastic salad with the tastiest Crepe. This salad was simply delightful!!
Grille Neiman Ranch Center Cut Pork Chop served with Spring Onion Polenta & Dandelion Greens. Tender and juicy pork and fresh and tasty greens truly pleased us.
Olema Inns Marinated Pan Roasted Chicken with Roasted New Potatoes, Sautéed Chard & Romesco Sauce. Fabulous!
Rhubarb & Strawberry Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream
Poached Pear & Cornmeal cake. We were too full for this but we saw it at a neighboring table for a fleeting moment before it was devoured. Well have to try it on our next visit.
The Olema Inn & Restaurant caters to locals, day-trippers and tourists alike. Owners Dana & Jennifer Sulprizio have in the last 3 years renovated the Inn & Restaurant and have created a very cozy environment. The new Chef, Ed Vigil has done a fantastic job introducing California Mediterranean Style Cuisine that he learned at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) which boasts seasonal local organic farm fresh ingredients and Neiman Ranch Meats. We had a great dinner at The Olema Inn & Restaurant, a true taste sensation and look forward to many future visits, as it was one of the best dining experiences that we had all year!