In Del Mar, Calif., Mia Francesca, the flagship restaurant of chef and restaurateur Scott Harris' Chicago-based Francesca's family of restaurants, serves traditional Italian fare inspired by the Roman and Tuscan regions of Italy. This trattoria is serving up fall flavors in all types of dishes. For the pasta lover it's got a butternut squash-filled ravioli with a brown butter sage sauce.
For those wanting something a little lighter, try the roasted pumpkin, arugula, dried cherries, walnut and apple cider vinaigrette salad. Recently named in Bon Appetit's 50 Best New Restaurants of 2012, sister restaurant Davanti Enoteca offers a salad that couldn't be more "fall" filling: roasted butternut squash with whipped goat cheese, faro and arugula.
Television's award winning celebrity chef Brian Malarkey, host of TLC's Mega Bites and a past Bravo Top Chef finalist, has a Southern California portfolio of restaurants, each named after a fabric, thus the Fabric Of Social Dining Experiences empire. San Diego's Searsucker serves buttermilk panna cotta with spiced pears and pistachio butter -- surely a dish to tickle the tastebuds. Burlap's Asian "Cowboy" cuisine menu includes Pumpkin & Pomegranate, a pumpkin mousse with pomegranate reduction, pie crumbs and pecan meringue. La Jolla's Herringbone, meanwhile, showcases a concord grape sorbet with puff pastry, mascarpone and candied fennel, and San Diego's urban cowboy diner Gingham is showing the bacon -- apple cheddar crumble, smoked vanilla ice cream and candied bacon. Lastly, Gabardine's apple cinnamon cake with smoked vanilla ice cream and apple compote is the perfect end to a perfect meal.
T. Cook's, the renowned restaurant at the Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix, Ariz., offers a Mediterranean-inspired menu in a comfortable yet sophisticated atmosphere. Its location in the mansion portion of the resort creates an elegant residential dining experience in which to enjoy a purely apple dessert of either spiced apple and gingerbread upside-down cake or gingerbread cake with granny smith apples braised with cinnamon and caramel.True Food Kitchen's seasonal menu appeals to anyone seeking a more balanced lifestyle. Balanced doesn't mean boring, though, as its Butternut Squash Pizza with walnut, smoked mozzarella, sweet onion and arugula is sure to hit the spot. "It started when I tasted some great walnut oil and thought it would be great to finish a pizza with that oil. The butternut squash and smoked mozzarella just fell into place when I started thinking about a seasonal change that needed to happen," chef Michael Stebner says. If you're interested, try True Food locations in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Santa Monica, Newport Beach and San Diego in California.