Sonoma County is known for its wine, but make no mistake: this region offers a full culinary experience. From lively Italian eateries to Michelin starred cuisine, Sonoma has no shortage of outstanding restaurants offering an amazing experience, even better food, and of course, expert wine pairings. We’ve highlighted 25 gems of Sonoma County dining, from casual to high end and local favorites.
Fresh Beers, Fresh Food
Image Source: Bear Republic Brewing Co. Yelp
Bear Republic Brewing Co. Brewpub
345 Healdsburg Ave.
Yelp: 3.5 stars, 631 reviews
Great food and even better beer is available at this long-standing brewpub located on the corner of Healdsburg’s historic downtown plaza. More than a dozen freshly brewed beers are on tap, including their best selling Racer 5 IPA. Insider tip: Be sure to try a specialty beer flight and the garlic fries!
Breakfast, Beverages, and Beyond
Image Source: Sunflower Caffé Yelp
Sunflower Caffé offers excellent coffee, wine, and creative food with fresh ingredients, like the avocado egg and toast. Though the food and drinks are a highlight, you’ll want to keep coming back for the beautiful patio where you can dine al fresco. Try the duck sandwich: you’ll be dreaming of it for weeks!
Small Space, Big Servings
Image Source: Hot Box Grill Facebook and Yelp
The Hot Box Grill specializes in unique, comforting dishes using local ingredients. Highlights include the shareable cowboy steak, chicken paillard, and huge serving sizes. Though it’s located in a small building, Hot Box Grill likes to accommodate groups, so call ahead if you’d like to visit with a group of eight or more. Insider tip: If you’re a fried chicken fan, be sure to check out their fried cornish game hen on the menu.
Classic Italian with Wine Country Flair
Image Source: Catelli’s
21047 Geyserville Ave.
Yelp: 4.5 stars, 246 reviews
Since the 1930s, Catelli’s has been serving amazing Italian food to hungry wine country visitors and residents. They’re famous for their homemade ravioli – be sure to look for the rabbit ravioli on special. Great wines are on the menu, but if you bring in a bottle of wine from a Sonoma winery, there’s no corkage fee. Insider tip: The dining room is rustic and lively, if you’re looking for a quieter spot ask for seating on the relaxing outdoor patio.
Casual Comfort Food Cafe
Image Source: Willow Wood Market Cafe
Willow Wood Market Cafe is known as a gathering spot in Graton with well executed comfort food. Hot and spicy polenta, open faced egg salad sandwich, and the monte cristo (served on Sundays) are visitor favorites. After your meal, stick around in the market to shop for books, gifts, wine, and gourmet food items. Insider tip: Remember to save room for dessert and try the gingerbread with fresh whipped cream.
World Famous Imperial Pale Ale on Tap
Image Source: Brew Bokeh and Russian River Brewing Company Yelp
Russian River Brewing Company Brewpub
724 4th St.
Santa Rosa, CA
Yelp: 4 stars, 1607 reviews
If you’re ready for a break from wine, you can’t beat Russian River Brewing Company’s award winning beers. Famous for their Pliny the Elder, Russian River, and impressive sour beers – many aged in wine barrels. Snack on pizza or Pliny Bites and get their sampler flight to try as many of their beers as you’d like. Be ready to wait for your table, as the brew pub often has a line formed before they open and throughout the day.
NEW & CONTEMPORARY
Wood Fired Wine Country Bites
Image Source: Glen Ellen Star Yelp
Glen Ellen Star highlights the best of what Sonoma County has to offer with a menu that features seasonal, organic ingredients from local purveyors. The restaurant makes great use of their wood fired oven with flavorful vegetables and pizza. Ask for a seat at the counter so you can watch the chefs hard at work and leave room for their homemade ice cream.
Exclusive Italian Eatery
Image Source: Deuce Gym and Scopa Yelp
Offering an impressive intimate Italian experience, Scopa is on the can’t miss list. Favorites on the menu include the sugo calabrese and fall off the bone tomato braised chicken thighs. Visit on Winemaker Wednesdays, when local winemakers join the restaurant as a server on the floor and highlight their wines for the evening. Call for your reservation up to a month in advance, as it can be difficult to get a seat at this hot spot.
Seafood Lovers’ Paradise
Image Source: Willi’s Seafood & Raw Bar Facebook and Yelp
Oyster lovers will feel right at home in this Healdsburg gem that always has at least eight varieties of fresh oysters on the menu. Other favorites include warm sourdough with garlic parsley butter, Dungeness crab cakes, daily ceviche specials, and flash fried calamari with orange chili gremolata. Patio seating is dog friendly and perfect on a warm summer night.
Shareable Small Bites
Image Source: Chalkboard Facebook
Find outstanding small plates in this Healdsburg center of culinary creativity. The menu features favorites such as pork belly biscuits and buttermilk fried chicken thighs, as well as house made pastas including squid ink gigli and cocoa rigatoni. Looking for fresh, locally sourced organic food? Chalkboard maintains a dedicated three acre organic garden on the Chalk Hill Winery estate, where many of Chalkboard’s ingredients are sourced.
French Country Charm with a Taste of Sonoma
Image Source: the girl & the fig
the girl & the fig
110 W Spain St.
Yelp: 4 stars, 284 reviews
Specializing in country food with a French passion, the girl & the fig is a favorite in Sonoma featuring exceptional cheese plates, fig salad, and duck confit. Expect top notch wine pairings, as this restaurant is often involved in Sonoma County wine events. Guests are welcome to bring their own bottles, for a modest corkage fee. Make reservations a few weeks in advance to be sure you’ll be able to enjoy this culinary treat.
International Fare in the Vineyard
Image Source: RUSTIC
300 Via Archimedes
Yelp: 3.5 stars, 299 reviews
Located at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery, RUSTIC features the winemaker’s personal favorite recipes paired perfectly with wine from the Coppola label and beyond. Expect family style Italian and international dishes with fresh, seasonal ingredients from the organic herb, and produce garden on the property. Sit outside to enjoy the vineyard atmosphere and great views, and be sure to try one of the restaurant’s specialty wood grilled meats.
Organic Seasonal Eatery
Image Source: Peter Lowell’s
This West Sonoma organic eatery features local, sustainably produced California cuisine that’s vegan friendly and changes with the seasons. Expect exceptional service and a cozy gourmet setting. Try the macro bowl or fresh fish and save room for thyme ice cream if it’s available.
Top Notch Dining in Comfort
Image Source: Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant
Elegant but inviting, Farmhouse Inn is known for its impeccable service and outstanding cuisine. The Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit (rabbit three ways) is a favorite as are the vegetables grown right on the property. Ask for a seat by the fireplace, as it’s the most cozy spot in the restaurant, and be sure to ask the sommelier for beer or wine pairing recommendations. If you’ve had a bit too much, book a room at the Inn.
High End Local Fare
Image Source: Madrona Manor
Madrona Manor is set in a historic estate with old world charm just off the main square in Healdsburg. The menu changes based on what’s available locally and at the estate’s organic garden. Look for local buffalo steak tartare and Mendocino uni, or choose the four course menu with wine pairings for highlights from the chef. For dessert, you can’t beat the ice cream, which is prepared tableside.
Fresh and Flavorful
Image Source: Cafe Le Haye
Fresh food and delectable bites are on the menu at Cafe La Haye. This small restaurant has great ambiance with an open kitchen and clean design. You’ll find flavorful dishes with beautiful presentation, including the filet mignon and risotto specials. Request a seat at the bar to watch the chefs at work and try the butterscotch pudding for dessert. Reservations are highly recommended in this cozy restaurant.
Image Source: Barndiva
Known for creative cocktails and satisfying late night meals, Barndiva is a joy to visit for locals and visitors alike. Highlights include the goat cheese croquettes with lavender honey, filet mignon burger, and moist shareable chicken. Of course, you can also try the five course tasting menu and let the chefs really impress you with their best. Don’t forget to grab a cocktail, as Barndiva has an outstanding cocktail program.
Fun Loving Family Patio
Image Source: Campo Fina Yelp
A family restaurant with great service and even better food, you’ll be planning your next visit to Campo Fina before you even leave. The restaurant’s seasonal salads and pizzas are a highlight of the menu, and the outstanding cocktails are worth a try. Enjoy Sunday brunch with bocce ball on the restaurant’s relaxing patio with an outdoor bar.
Full Service French Bakery
Image Source: Costeaux French Bakery
Costeaux is well known for its artisan breads and delectable desserts. French specialties including tarts, tortes, and sandwiches are on the menu, as well as full service cafe breakfasts and lunches. The fantastic smoked duck sandwich is not to be missed. Costeaux is a perfect choice whether you’re just stopping by for dessert (try the French macarons), or staying to enjoy a full meal at the cafe.
Romantic Sunsets on the River
Image Source: River’s End Yelp and River’s End
River’s End offers a breathtaking experience in views and romantic dining. Take in sunset drinks on the back balcony overlooking the Sonoma coast, then try the seasonal tasting menu. Call at least two weeks in advance to reserve a great window seat. Note: River’s End offers an unplugged experience with no WiFi or cell service.
California’s Best Pizzas
Image Source: Diavola Pizzeria and Salumeria
Known for their smoked meats and brick oven pizzas, Diavola Pizzeria and Salumeria is a welcome respite after a day of wine tasting. The restaurant specializes in one of a kind pizzas – some call them the best in California. If in season, order the local favorite Dictator pizza.
Speakeasy Steak House
Image Source: Stark’s Steakhouse
Casual elegance and classic fare are on the menu at Stark’s Steakhouse. Try the in house dry aged ribeye with truffle fries. Locals love to visit Stark’s for happy hour in the steakhouse’s speakeasy style bar.
Crafty Cocktails and Small Plates
Image Source: Spoonbar
219 Healdsburg Ave.
Yelp: 3.5 stars, 345 reviews
Located inside the h2hotel, Spoonbar offers outstanding seafood, cocktails, and small plates. The beets are a runaway favorite, so be sure to give them a try. Look for innovative cocktails designed by popular mixologists, particularly the cucumber collins and ramos gin fizz.
Bistro Burger with Friendly Service
Image Source: Underwood Bar & Bistro
A local favorite, Underwood Bar & Bistro is a charming spot with a lively bar and patio area. Service is extremely friendly, but not overbearing. Though the emphasis is on small plates, this bistro’s burger and cocktails really stand out.
Popular Neighborhood Cafe
Image Source: Terrapin Creek Cafe & Restaurant
Terrapin Creek Cafe & Restaurant
1580 Eastshore Rd.
Bodega Bay, CA
Yelp: 4.5 stars, 277 reviews
Michelin one star
At Terrapin Creek, you’ll find comfort food done well with local produce and meats from Bay Area farmers. Enjoy oysters and carpaccio from the raw bar, as well as buttery Kobe flat iron steak and duck breast. The desserts are hard to resist, with favorites including the German chocolate cake and lemon tart. Be sure to call ahead for a reservation, as this popular spot usually has a packed house.
Ready to explore all the culinary offerings of the Sonoma County food scene? Start planning now. Also, don’t forget to vote for your favorite dining experience across all three categories—casual, high end, local favorites—below!
Main Image Source: Spoonbar