50 Best Dishes in Sonoma County

Harissa Fries at Underwood Bar and Bistro, in Graton. (Photo by Christopher Chung)

Fifty Sonoma County dishes may seem like a lot, but to be honest, it wasn’t easy to whittle down our list from the hundreds of incredible and iconic meals we’ve had from Cloverdale to Cotati. 

What makes the grade? Eating isn’t an exact science, but these dishes represent either the chef or the restaurant, use great local ingredients or have been around so long that they’ve become part of the fabric of Wine Country. That, and the fact that we got great input from BiteClubEats.com readers.

No doubt we’ll miss plenty of favorites, but that’s the fun of lists like these – doing the research for the next list.

In no particular order, we present Sonoma Magazine’s 50 Favorite Sonoma County Dishes:

girl and fig
Fig and arugula salad at The Girl and the Fig in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Alvin Jornada)

Fig & Arugula Salad – Girl and the Fig, Sonoma
Figs are a signature at this Sonoma institution, and you really can’t go without trying the owner Sondra Bernstein’s iconic salad of goat cheese, pancetta, grilled figs, pecans, arugula and vinaigrette. There’s a reason it’s been on the menu since 1997. Sonoma Hotel, 110 W Spain St, Sonoma, 707-938-3634, thegirlandthefig.com

Harissa Fries – Underwood Bar & Bistro, Graton
Can’t. Stop. Eating. Seasoned with spicy pepper paste, cilantro, scallions and lime, these fries are deliciously dangerous. 
9113 Graton Rd, Graton CA, 707-823-7023 underwoodgraton.com (photo top of article)

Ice Cream – Madrona Manor, Healdsburg
This Michelin-starred restaurant is best known for its spot-on modern takes on California cuisine, but the show-stopper comes at the end of the meal when freezing liquid nitrogen is poured over sweet cream. The result: instant ice cream and a whole lot of ooohs and ahhhhs. 1001 Westside Rd, Healdsburg, 707-433-4231, madronamanor.com

Madrona Manor Dessert with Strawberry Ice Cream. (Photo by Chris Hardy)

Truffle Parmesan Fries – Healdsburg Bar and Grill, Healdsburg
There’s plenty to love here, including the adult mac and cheese, but folks come for miles for these earthy truffle delights. 245 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, 707-433-3333, healdsburgbarandgrill.com

Day Boat Scallops en Croûte – Valette, Healdsburg
Haute cuisine in a friendly, neighborhood atmosphere, Chef Dustin Valette’s signature dish includes sustainably caught scallops with Bernier Farms leeks, shaved fennel, and American caviar. As pretty to look at as it is delicious to eat. 344 Center St, Healdsburg, 707-473-0946, valettehealdsburg.com

10 Layer Lasagna – Catelli’s, Geyserville
For generations, this local family has been making legendary lasagna with impossibly thin layers of pasta, organic tomato sauce, ricotta and herb cheese filling. 21047 Geyserville Ave, Geyserville, 707-857-3471, mycatellis.com

Richard’s meat sauce over ten layer lasagna Catelli’s in Geyserville. (Photo by Jeff Kan Lee)

Tomasso’s Sugo Calabrese – Scopa, Healdsburg
Chef Ari Rosen’s take on rustic Italian dishes are as close to Tuscany as you’ll get in Wine Country. Tomasso’s Sugo Calabrese with spaghettini, tomato braised beef and pork rib sugo topped with Pecorino Romano cheese. 109A Plaza St, Healdsburg, (707) 433-5282, scopahealdsburg.com

Tomasso’s Sugo Calabrese at Scopa, Healdsburg. (Photo by Jeff Kan Lee)

Country Benedict – Dierk’s Parkside, Santa Rosa
A breakfast and brunch destination that often has lines, we’re willing to wait for Dierk’s Parkside’s Country Benedict with an over easy egg, roasted tomatoes, bacon, mushrooms and spinach with a Hollandaise to write home about. 404 Santa Rosa Ave, Santa Rosa CA, 707-573-5955 dierksparkside.com

Eggs Benedict at Dierk’s Parkside Cafe, the winner of the Press Democrat’s Best Breakfast in the Best of Sonoma County competition. (Photo by John Burgess)

Ravioli alla Citti – Cafe Citti, Kenwood
Luca’s housemade ravioli is filled with pork, Swiss chard and fresh herbs, served in a light tomato and basil cream sauce. Expect to see plenty of locals chowing on this with a classic Caesar for lunch. 9049 Sonoma Hwy, Kenwood CA, 707-833-2690, cafecitti.com

Bohemia Beer Battered Fish Tacos – El Molino Central, Sonoma
Everything here is homemade, including the tacos. Stone ground corn masa gets a quick hit on the grill, served with salsa de árbol and avocado-lime mayonnaise.
11 Central Ave, Sonoma CA, 707-939-1010 elmolinocentral.com

Nutella Pizza – Jackson’s Bar & Oven, Santa Rosa
Eat your dessert first. Fresh pizza dough is made daily at this Railroad Square restaurant, then wood-fired. The gooey toppings make it difficult to share…or at least that’s what we tell our table mates. Historic Railroad Square, 135 4th St, Santa Rosa CA, 707-545-6900 jacksonsbarandoven.com

Spicy Tan Tan Ramen – Ramen Gaijin, Sebastopol
Owners Matthew Williams and Moishe Hahn-Schuman are sticklers for perfect ramen noodles. This version is a rib-sticking bowl of happiness with Sapporo noodles, sesame, scallion, pork belly chashu, spicy ground pork, charred cabbage and woodear mushrooms. 
6948 Sebastopol Ave, Sebastopol CA, 707-827-3609 ramengaijin.com

tan tan
Spicy Tan Tan Ramen with Sapporo noodles, sesame, scallion, pork belly chashu, spicy ground pork, charred cabbage, woodier and a 6 minute egg from Ramen Gaijin in Sebastopol. (Photo by John Burgess)

Salami & Cheese Platter – Diavola Pizzeria & Salumeria, Geyserville
If you have to pick one thing on the pizzeria menu, go for the master charcuterist’s meat and cheese platter. It’s always a bit different, depending on what’s available, but it’s always local and always impressive. 21021 Geyserville Ave, Geyserville CA, 707-814-0111 diavolapizzeria.com

House Cured Salami & Cheese at Diavola Pizzeria & Salumeria, in Geyserville. (Photo by Christopher Chung)

Old School in a Skillet – Campo Fina, Healdsburg
It sounds simple, but is anything but. Pork and beef meatballs in tangy tomato sauce with Parmesan. 330 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg CA, 707-395-4640 campofina.com

old school
Old School in Skillet with Larry Pacini’s Ciabatta bread at Campo Fina in Healdsburg. (Photo by Kent Porter)

Biscuits – Big Bottom Market, Guerneville
Named one of Oprah’s favorites, this chic Guerneville market sells ’em frozen, in mix form, or best of all, just out of the oven with jam and butter. 
16228 Main St, Guerneville CA, 707-604-7295 bigbottommarket.com

A tray of Big Bottom biscuits at Big Bottom Market in Guerneville. (Photo by Alvin Jornada)

Bacon Waffles with Santa Rosa Wild Flower Honey – Naked Pig, Santa Rosa
No detail is overlooked at this tiny breakfast/brunch spot that features obsessively local foods. Buttery waffles with bacon in the batter? Yes, please. 
435 Santa Rosa Ave, Santa Rosa CA, 707-978-3231 flowerandbonerestaurant.com/naked-pig-home

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Waffles from the Naked Pig in Santa Rosa. (Photo: The Naked Pig Cafe Facebook)

Tempeh Rueben Sandwich – Peter Lowell’s Restaurant, Sebastopol
Who says a great Rueben can’t be vegetarian? Marinated tempeh, sauerkraut, Gruyere, and Russian River dressing on rye bread at this eclectic, veg-friendly restaurant. 7385 Healdsburg Ave #101, Sebastopol CA, 707-829-1077, peterlowells.com

Burrata – Rosso, Santa Rosa
Fresh mozzarella is great, but add a creamy center of, well, cream and you’ve got burrata. Try the Trio of Burrato with fresh burrata, goat cheese, lemon, mint, and stracciatella (buffalo milk). 53 Montgomery Dr, Santa Rosa CA, 707-544-3221, rossopizzeria.com

Burrata at Rosso Pizzeria and Mozzarella Bar in Petaluma. (Photo by Jeff Kan Lee)

Howard’s Granola – Howard’s Station, Occidental
Another favorite breakfast and brunch destination, go for a lighter option with fresh granola made from whole oats, nuts, seeds, wheat germ, raisins and spice. 
3611 Bohemian Hwy, Occidental CA 707-874-2838 howardstationcafe.com

Almond Croissants – Pascaline, Sebastopol
True French croissants of the butteriest kind. 4552 Gravenstein Hwy N, Sebastopol CA, 707-521-9348 pascalinefinecatering.com

Sticky Buns – Downtown Bakery, Healdsburg
Yeasty dough and sweet caramel is a breakfast for any champion. 308 Center St, Healdsburg CA, 707-431-2719 downtownbakery.net

sticky buns
Croissants, sticky buns, blueberry scones and a baby apple quince gallete from the Downtown Bakery and Creamery in Healdsburg. (Photo by John Burgess)

Lobster Roll – Willies Seafood and Raw Bar, Healdsburg
An East Coast tradition with West Coast panache. And lobster. 403 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg CA, 707- 433-9191, starkrestaurants.com

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Lobster roll at Willie’s Seafood and Raw Bar, Healdsburg. (Photoby Jeff Kan Lee)

Won Ton Soup – Chinois Asian Bistro, Windsor
Pork wontons with shiitake mushrooms and baby bok choy are Chinese penicillin for whatever ails you.
186 Windsor River Rd, Windsor CA, 707-838-4667 chinoisbistro.com

Tilted Burger – Wishbone, Petaluma
Using beef from their own ranch, along with local cheese, house-cured bacon and homemade brioche, it doesn’t get much more local than this. 
841 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma CA, 707-763-2663 wishbonepetaluma.com

Toast – Della Fattoria, Petaluma
Though deceptively simple, this longtime bakery does toast right. Topped with Rancho Gordo beans, smoked salmon or even ricotta and honey (or all three), it’s a Petaluma tradition. 
141 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma CA, 707-763-0161, dellafattoria.com

Toast at Della Fattoria in Petaluma. (BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat)

Clam Chowder – Spud Point Crab Co., Bodega Bay
The perfect New England Clam Chowder, made daily from their secret recipe. 
1910 Westshore Rd, Bodega Bay CA, 707-875-9472 spudpointcrab.com

Carol Anello’s clam chowder at the Spud Point Crab Company on Bodega Bay. (Photo by John Burgess)

Nashville Spicy Chicken – Fremont Diner, Sonoma
Sonoma’s answer to Southern cooking, served with your choice of white bread and mac n’ cheese or a fresh waffle.
2698 Fremont Dr, Sonoma CA, 707-938-7370 thefremontdiner.com

chicken spicy
Nashville fried chicken and waffles at The Fremont Diner. (Photo courtesy of Fremont Diner)

Gnocchi Gorgonzola E Noci – Cucina Paradiso, Petaluma
Creamy Gorgonzola and walnut sauce over comforting potato dumplings. So good, we usually order two plates, since everyone at the table will try to steal yours. 
114 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma CA, 707-782-1130 cucinaparadisopetaluma.com

Gorgonzola gnocchi with walnuts. (Photo by Heather Irwin)

Scones – Wild Flour Bread, Freestone
Weekend visits to the coast often include a pilgrimage to this iconic bakery. Go early, before they run out of scones in 
apricot, white chocolate, ginger or double chocolate, espresso, or hazelnut. 140 Bohemian Hwy, Freestone CA, 707-874-2938,  wildflourbread.com

Variety of breads at Wild Flour Bread in Freestone. (Photo by Crista Jeremiason)

Walnut Pineapple Prawns – Goji Kitchen, Santa Rosa
Move over General Tso’s chicken. This Americanized classic of fried prawns, creamy pineapple sauce and walnuts is taken seriously at Santa Rosa’s favorite pan-Asian eatery. 
1965 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa CA, 707-523-3888 gojikitchen.com

Wood-fired Spanish Bomba Rice Paella – Bravas Bar de Tapas, Healdsburg
Spanish paella – made with saffron, rice, meat, seafood, veggies and whatever else is lying around – doesn’t get better than this. 
420 Center St, Healdsburg CA, 707-433-7700, starkrestaurants.com

O Toro Nigiri – Hana Japanese, Rohnert Park
Fresh fish is flown in from Japan several times a week to stock owner Ken Tominaga’s destination-worthy restaurant. We won’t pay for it elsewhere, but at Hana, this fatty, buttery piece of tuna is worth the price if they’ve got it on the menu. 101 Golf Course Dr, Rohnert Park, CA, hanajapanese.com

BLT – Zazu Kitchen + Farm, Sebastopol
Another deceptively simple dish that showcases the best of Wine Country with owner John Stewart’s coveted Black Pig Bacon, tabasco aioli, avocado, and Soda Rock Farm tomatoes. 6770 McKinley St #150, Sebastopol CA, 707-523-4814 zazukitchen.com

Making the BLT at Zazu Kitchen + Farm.

Baked Lemon Ricotta Pancakes – SHED, Healdsburg
Moist, delicate pancakes with a hint of lemon and creme fraiche are a weekend breakfast favorite. 
25 North St, Healdsburg CA 707-431-7433 healdsburgshed.com

Peanut Butter, Bacon and Pepper Jam – Jimtown Store, Healdsburg
This tiny Alexander Valley market has made its name creating homemade relishes like their sweet/hot pepper jam. Add peanut butter and bacon? Heaven on whole wheat bread.
6706 CA-128, Healdsburg CA, 707-433-1212 jimtown.com

Pettole Dolce Zeppole (deep-fried Italian pastry) – Rustic, Geyserville
Lil’ donuts served warming in a paper bag.
300 Via Archimedes, Geyserville CA, 707-857-1400 francisfordcoppolawinery.com

Beignets – The Parish Cafe, Healdsburg
A New Orleans tradition perfected by chef/owner Robb Lippincott over years. Perfectly fried dough dusted with powdered sugar and served steaming. 60 Mill St, Healdsburg, CA, 707-431-8474  theparishcafe.com

Beignets at Parish Cafe in Healdsburg. Photo by Heather Irwin.
Beignets at Parish Cafe in Healdsburg. (Photo by Heather Irwin)

Dungeness Crab Benedict with Hash Browns – Estero Café, Valley Ford
Sourcing from at least 15 local farms at any one time, this tiny breakfast-all-day cafe always has the best of land and sea. Fresh crab, spinach, Hollandaise and potatoes fried in clarified Clover butter. Noms. 
14450 Highway 1, Valley Ford CA, 707-876-3333, facebook.com/EsteroCafe/

Fried Chicken Dinner – Backyard, Forestville
This chicken dinner is a winner, served with 
braised collard greens, buttermilk biscuits, and honey butter. 6566 Front St, Forestville CA, 707-820-8445, backyardforestville.com

fried chicken
Fried chicken dinner at Backyard. (Photo courtesy of Backyard Forestville)

French Onion Soup – Costeaux French Bakery, Healdsburg
Loaded with caramelized onions, and topped with melty cheese and their own Costeaux bread crouton. 
417 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg CA, 707-433-1913 costeaux.com

Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit – Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant, Forestville
Rabbit served three ways has become a trademark of this luxe Forestville restaurant. Applewood smoked bacon wrapped loin, roasted rack and confit with Yukon potatoes, and whole grain mustard cream sauce.
7871 River Rd, Forestville CA, 707-887-3300 farmhouseinn.com

Rabbit rabbit rabbit: specialty plate at the Farmhouse Inn restaurant.
Rabbit rabbit rabbit: specialty plate at the Farmhouse Inn restaurant.

Chourico Crusted Day Boat Scallops – La Salette, Sonoma
Inspired Portuguese inspired scallops with sausage, Japanese sweet potato puree, leek confit, and chimichurri sauce. 
452 1st St E, Sonoma CA, 707-938-1927 lasalette-restaurant.com

Chourio Crusted Day Boat Scallops served at LaSalette Restaurant in Sonoma. (Photo by Crista Jeremiason)

(K)chetti’s Chicken – Franchetti’s Kitchen, Santa Rosa
Spicier-than-Channing-Tatum fried chicken with salsa verde and Calabrian chili paste. 1229 N Dutton Ave, Santa Rosa, CA, 707-526-1229 franchettis.com

Buckwheat Crepes – Bistro 29, Santa Rosa
Savory or sweet, ratatouille or fromage blanc, this French bistro in Santa Rosa does an authentic take on these hearty crepes. 620 5th St, Santa Rosa, CA, 707-546-2929, bistro29.com

The buckwheat crepe with spinach, apples, walnuts, spinach and goat cheese by chef Brian Anderson of Bistro 29 in Santa Rosa. (Photo by John Burgess)

Bread – Trading Post, Cloverdale
This secret little bake shop is doing some of the best bread in the Bay. Just follow your nose. 102 S Cloverdale Blvd, Cloverdale, CA,  707-894-6483, thepostcloverdale.com

Rueben – MAC’s Deli, Santa Rosa
The closest thing to a Jewish deli you’ll find in the North Bay, it’s an unbeatable take on the pastrami, sauerkraut, Thousand Island, Swiss cheese sandwich on rye. And dare we say it, better than anything we’ve had in NYC. 630 4th St, Santa Rosa, CA, allmenus.com

Mussels Mariniere – K & L Bistro, Sebastopol 
Black mussels in a broth of white wine, shallots and thyme paired with perfectly crispy bistro fries and – of course – aioli. (Ketchup would be uncivilized). 119 S Main St, Sebastopol, CA, klbistro.com

Moules mariniere at K & L Bistro, Sebastopol. (Jeff Kan Lee)

Roasted Chicken – Pullman Kitchen, Santa Rosa
Chicken is rarely the most interesting dish on the menu, but in Railroad Square, this sleeper has a delightfully homey version with crispy skin and juicy meat. 205 5th St, Santa Rosa, CA,  thepullmankitchensr.com

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