19 Sonoma County Restaurants We Return to Again and Again

“The place do you need to go to eat?”

“I do not know. The place do you need to go?”

Selecting a restaurant is without doubt one of the largest mysteries confronted by fashionable metropolis dwellers. Certain, it sounds easy, however have you ever ever tried to get 4 folks to agree on one restaurant?

I don “t suppose so.

This is a listing (impressed by Texas Month-to-month’s “The Good Place” article) that may hopefully reply that query and maybe finish some household arguments. Possibly it would take some stress off of out-of-town leisure guests. And I most likely do it for myself as a lot as I do for you, as a result of the apparent decisions are by no means on the tip of my tongue.

The title of the overview is straightforward: These eating places are good, dependable, have skilled workers and are rooted locally. They’re locations that everybody has been to, needed to go to, or heard good issues about. They’re locations I personally frequent with family and friends.

The eating places I select are about consistency and comfort, not “it” elements or multi-course meals. They don’t seem to be newcomers.

Are all of them “greatest in school” eating places? No – that is very private. I discovered way back that world-class cooks and outrageously progressive menus do not typically generate consensus amongst a variety of eaters.

One other necessary issue is the menu: all of this stuff can cater to totally different diets and meals preferences, making it crowd-pleasing.

Inevitably, I am going to pass over a favourite neighborhood or apparent selection from this checklist, however that is what makes it enjoyable. Let me know your favourite websites at Heather.irwin@pressdemocrat.com and we’ll replace this checklist now and again.

Click on by way of the gallery above to take a peek at among the greatest dishes at every restaurant.

Santa Rosa

Ausiello’s Fifth Road Bar & Grill: Consuming out at most pubs means rolling the cube, however this family-owned pub serves nice burgers that you could pair with the beer, wine or tonic of your selection. Cozy, pleasant and an excellent place to observe sports activities. 609 fifth Road, Santa Rosa, ausiellos5thstreetgrill.com

Dirk Parkside: Basic breakfast with a chef’s contact. Floor beef, sausage biscuits and gravy, fried hen with biscuits and Sonoma County’s solely rustic Benedict with scrambled eggs, bacon, mushrooms, spinach and oven-dried tomatoes on a crispy baguette. It is a Dutch hug on a chilly morning. 404 Santa Rosa Road, Santa Rosa, dierksparkside.com

the range: For Californians, tacos and burritos are the equal of pizza on taco Tuesdays or any day. El Fogon does it proper, with top-notch birria, a powerful machete (a foot-long quesadilla crammed with meat, cheese, bitter cream and tomatoes) and straight-up avenue tacos. 623 Fourth Road, Santa Rosa and 6650 Commerce Blvd., No. 5, Rohnert Park, santarosa.elfogognca.com

Michelada at El Fogon Taco in Santa Rosa. (Christopher Chung/Democratic Press)

Riviera: Locals have been flocking to this Italian delicacies for over 25 years. It is family-owned and downright neighborly, and has the acquainted pasta dishes (I am all in regards to the Gnocchi Riviera) and the traditional Caesar salad and tiramisu which are the perfect bets. 75 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa, rivieraristorante.com

Rousseau: If pizza and pasta is not consolation meals, I do not know what’s. Crispy Neapolitan-style pizza (Funghi di Limone is a favourite), scrumptious bologna with penne and the legendary fried hen with caramelized pancetta topping with creamy mashed potatoes are my favourite orders. 53 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa, rossopizzeria.com

Willy’s Wine Bar: Earlier than I turned a meals author in Sonoma County, this was the place I went on a “fancy” date. Tunisian islands appeared ridiculously unique, and as soon as upon a time Chef Mark Stark’s foie gras fritters had been one in all my favourite dishes. 20 years later, the restaurant nonetheless impresses me though I’ve eaten in a lot nicer locations since then. The total bar makes it an excellent cease for comfortable hour, and their wine checklist could be very approachable. The menu stays constant (Tunisian carrots are nonetheless current), and the concentrate on small plates retains issues fascinating. One among my favourite “off-duty” hangouts. 1415 City & Nation Drive, Santa Rosa, starkrestaurants.com

Tunisian carrots from Willi’s Wine Bar in Santa Rosa. (Willis Wine Bar)


the miracle: Choices in northern Sonoma County might be restricted, particularly for teams. However this family-owned Mexican delicacies is all the time an excellent selection. The menu goes past taqueria requirements, with regional Mexican favorites like pumpkin seed mole sauce with hen, pork ribs with nopales in tomato salsa, and eclectic avenue tacos. The intensive menu additionally options acquainted favorites like carnitas, fish tacos, and moist burritos. 485 South Cloverdale Road, Cloverdale, elmilagrocloverdale.com


Acme Burger: The burgers are huge and scrumptious (and you may nonetheless get a easy one for $6.95), however the addition of fried hen and fried cod has elevated the menu past quick meals. The day by day soups are particularly good, and the youngsters’s menu is a success. Seasonal milkshakes are additionally scrumptious. Ordering forward retains issues transferring, and you may get out and in nearly as rapidly as at In-N-Out. 550E. Cotati Road, Cotati; 1007 W. Faculty Ave., Suite D, Santa Rosa; and 330 Western Ave., Petaluma, acmeburgerco.com

Brewsters: Informal outside seating at picnic tables makes this a superb possibility for a crowd, particularly with a youngsters’s play space and dog-friendly coverage. An ideal collection of beers and cocktails retains everybody glad. The wide-ranging menu is informal, with some nice upscale touches like duck fats fries with garlic aioli; Buttermilk fried hen sandwich with bacon and goat cheese. And tuna with fried wontons. And there is wonderful smoked barbecue in the home as well. 229 Water St., Petaluma, Brestersbeergarden.com

Heaven’s Kitchen: With upscale Italian meals that is by no means stuffy and all the time hits the mark, it is a good selection for a 3rd date, dinner with the mother and father, or a enterprise dinner (there are a number of bigger tables to accommodate teams). The unique menu will get excessive marks for its sizes and consistency. The costs aren’t low-cost, however you will not be upset by a poorly executed dish. 114 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma, cucinaparadisopetaluma.com

the lunch: Not solely are the salads and grain bowls wonderful, however homeowners Naomi Crawford and Joel Baker are conscientious homeowners who supply regionally, goal for zero waste, are energetic locally and are simply plain good folks. The trout salad with roasted beets, carrots, pickled raisins and preserved lemon dressing is my favourite, together with the Meyer Lemon Pot de Crème tart. You may additionally love this tahini casserole with natural brown rice, chickpeas, pickled cauliflower, and seasoned candy potatoes. 25 Fourth St., Petaluma, unchettepetaluma.com

Sax joint: Breakfast heaven with a 50’s ambiance and large parts. They’re well-known for his or her plate-sized cinnamon rolls. The pleasant wait workers makes everybody really feel welcome. Anticipate a wait for those who’re coming in throughout peak weekend breakfast occasions, nevertheless it’s price it. 317 Petaluma Blvd. S, Petaluma, saxsjoint.com


Fern Bar: Though the menu might not be for everybody, I typically find yourself right here with mates after we’re attempting to resolve the place to seize a drink. Fernbar’s handcrafted cocktails are their hallmark, however I am all the time fascinated by their ever-evolving appetizers and shared plates. My present favourite is the okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake), however I am dying to attempt the old school beef dumplings and the scrumptious Vietnamese crepes (bahn xeo). The hen liver toast with plum jam and rosemary is all the time on my order, and the roti full of butter hen cannot be beat. 6780 Depot Road Suite 120, Sebastopol, Fernbar.com

At Eldorado Kitchen in Sonoma. (Mariana Calderon)


El Dorado Kitchen: This resort restaurant all the time provides a variety of dishes from high quality eating choices (caviar, wagyu beef and filet mignon) to ‘I’ve simply been wine tasting all day and wish one thing just a little easier’ dishes like a vegetarian rice bowl with mushrooms and a seaweed and beet salad with yoghurt. orange. Every meal (breakfast by way of dinner) has intensive vegetarian dishes which are pretty much as good – if not higher – than the opposite choices. Burgers and shrimp tacos are nice lunch choices. The comfortable backyard patio is a superb assembly place, and the bar is a superb eating expertise for one. 405 First St. W., Sonoma, eldoradosonoma.com

The woman and the fig: Legendary French bistro-style delicacies at this vacation spot restaurant. Calm down on the patio, sit on the polished wooden bar, or meet mates on the pleasant lemon-yellow bistro. Mussels and steamed fries, duck liver mousse or duck confit are nice choices. The fig and arugula salad is a should. 110 W. Spain St., Sonoma, thegirlandthefig.com

Shrimp Diablo at Grata Restaurant in Windsor. (Heather Irwin/Press Democrat)


Grata: Gnudi Alla Vodka is a comforting drink, together with Cacio e Pepe with loads of zingy pepper and Parmesan that speaks to your inside baby. Dishes like goat cheese and ricotta ravioli with native wild mushrooms and pea shoots are a Cal-Ital contact. Make sure to attempt any seasonal risotto on the menu. Completely happy hour is a steal of the deal. The surface patio is our favourite place to eat. 186 Windsor River Highway, Windsor, gratawindsor.com

Kin: This kid-friendly, adult-approved mixture is a uncommon mixture in a restaurant, however Kin has achieved it. The burgers and dips are wonderful, and Kane’s decadent macaroni and cheese (additionally in a pizza model) and fried pickles topped with tempura are crowd pleasers. Extra grownup entrees like the wonderful Bolognese lasagna. Cheap costs for a household dinner. 740 McClelland Drive, kinwindsor.com

Candy T: Clearly, anybody who cannot discover a scrumptious dish on this checklist is a whiner. Memphis BBQ Nachos with smoked brisket (vegetarian choices obtainable) is the place to start out. Fried hen with biscuits, Southern sides (the creamed corn and braised veggies are wonderful), barbecue platters, key lime pie, and Texas margaritas are all we’re going for. 9098 Brooks Highway S., Windsor, sweettssouthern.com

Pecan pie from Candy T’s in Windsor. (John Burgess/Democratic Press)

on the seashore

Spode level: Though I desire chowder, recent crab, and grilled oysters at different locations, this always-busy spot has no match for its Dungeness crab sandwich (and I really like the garlic chowder). The crab muffins (solely obtainable on weekends) are additionally wonderful. What makes this an undisputed “good place” is its persistently wonderful high quality. 1910 Westshore Highway, Bodega Bay, spudpointcrabco.com

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