Stonehill Tavern

Best Restaurant Worth the Drive, August 2008

While we’re wary of heed-less gas consumption, we’ll splurge for the hour-and-change trek to StoneHill TavernMichael Mina’s restaurant at the St. Regis Monarch Beach. The setting is sophisticated but not snooty, avoiding the extremes of shrill hipness or fancy-hotel somnambulism. Settle in for exec chef Adam Keough’s five-course tasting menu, which takes off with a bite-size caviar parfait so extraordinary you’ll want to genuflect. Skate wing, guanciale, and Nebraska prime beef may also make appearances, perked up with spices and vegetables at their finest.