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Cafe Scooteria: This retro drive-thru surrounded by vintage scooters serves great coffee drinks and chai, doughnuts, bagels, pastries, croissant sandwiches, breakfast burritos, gelato and more, all at very fair prices. A scooter driver will deliver an order to your door, if you’re in range. 55 W. Napa St., Sonoma, 707-938-0800. (Photo by Chris Hardy)
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The Fremont Diner: This roadside mecca serves up stellar, Southern-style comfort food in a retro roadhouse atmosphere. The biscuits are buttery and fabulous: the Bucket of Biscuits ($5.99) include 3 buttermilk biscuits, butter, & seasonal jam. If you’ve got swine in mind, go for the house-smoked Ham Biscuit ($3.99), slathered with orange marmalade and grainy mustard. At these prices, you can have one of each. 2698 Fremont Drive, Sonoma, 707-938-7370. (Photo by Chris Hardy)
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Broadway Market: The deli is a wonderland of plump breakfast burritos, homemade soups, giant sandwiches and hot entrees such as meatloaf, rotisserie chicken and ribs, all of premium quality from a grocery store that looks like a dive from the outside. The pastrami sandwich with homemade sauerkraut comes griddled or cold, on a choice of nine breads, for about $7, depending on enhancements such as cheese and avocado. One can eat well for $5-$10 throughout the entire menu. 20511 Broadway, Sonoma, 707-938-2685. (Photo by Chris Hardy)
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The Girl and the Fig: Often voted “Best Burger” in town, Sondra Bernstein’s is huge and comes with a pile of shoestring fries ($16). Also tuck into the daily omelet with salad ($14). The $42 cost of the three-course, prix-fixe dinner is subjectively inexpensive, since regular entrees range from $23-$30-plus. Bernstein’s plats du jour change every Thursday, and can look something like this: Little Gem salad with radicchio, brioche toasts and lemon-Parmesan vinaigrette; braised pork ragout atop polenta with roasted baby carrots and pearl onions; and a brownie sundae topped with salted fig caramel, brandied cherries, cocoa nibs and Chantilly cream. Add wine to the three courses for just $12. 10 W. Spain St., Sonoma, 707-938-3634. (Photo by Conner Jay)
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Shiso Modern Asian Kitchen: Owner Ed Metcalfe’s best deal is the lunchtime bento boxes, which include miso soup, edamame, cucumber and seaweed salads, and steamed rice, plus choice of entree, including tofu, vegetarian, grilled salmon, Asian sticky ribs or chicken. ($12-$16). Happy hour is popular here and offers wasabi deviled eggs, miso sardines and crispy chicken wings ($1.75-$5). 19161 Sonoma Highway, Sonoma, 707-933-9331. (Photo by Chris Hardy)
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El Brinquito Market & Meat: Painted hot red and yellow, the Iniguez family’s carniceria can be smelled blocks away, as moist, juicy chickens sizzle on the roadside grill on Saturdays and Sundays. Half and whole chickens are $7 and $14, respectively, and a family of four can share a whole chicken, beans, rice and tortillas for just $19. 17380 Sonoma Highway, Sonoma, 707-966-4912. (Photo by John Burgess)
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Delhi Belly: This Indian restaurant offers respectful service and fun decor, with umbrellas hanging from the ceiling for good luck. Enjoy kale pagodas (three for $7), lentil, mustard, and lemongrass soup ($6), coconut vegetable curry that generously feeds two ($14), panch dal lentils ($13) and tandoori chicken ($16), which can also be shared. 522 Broadway, Sonoma, 707-343-1003. (Photo by Heather Irwin)
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Divewalk Cafe: Banh mi sandwiches ($8, $9), Hanoi tacos ($3.50) and sweet and savory crepes ($5.50 - $11) are among the bargains owners Lorene Reed and Marc Sloop sell from their yellow tent well off the Sonoma plaza. The banh mi is the savory star: pork or chicken topped with pickled daikon and carrots, cucumber, cilantro, jalapeño, hoisin and sriracha aioli. Satisfy a sweet tooth with the Brie + Fruit crepe with maple syrup. 19449 Riverside Drive, Sonoma, 707-334-3175. (Photo by Crista Jeremiason)
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Crisp Bakeshop: Executive chef Moaya Scheiman and pastry chef Andrea Koweek keep it local, organic and sustainable. Their breakfast biscuits ($4.25) with eggs and melty cheese sandwiched between knobby buttermilk biscuits are filling superstars, as are the sandwiches, which include pickled egg salad and salmon, and the Cubano (smoked pork loin, soppressata, copa, Holey Cow cheese and spicy bread and butter pickles) for $9.95, with a choice of side salad or chips. Pastries, cupcakes and other sweet things complete a meal. 20 W. Napa St., Sonoma, 707-933-9999.
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Picazo Cafe: Sal Chavez and his family and friends serve early coffee and pastries, bagel breakfast sandwiches ($7-$10) and omelets ($10.50) that come with potatoes, toast, fruit and homemade jam. For lunch, go for the burgers, which are grilled outside and come in a variety of styles and fixins’, with fries, for $9-$15. 19100 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, 707-931-4377.
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Breakaway Cafe: Bob Rice presides over this popular eatery, with egg dishes available for breakfast and lunch. Hotcakes and waffles, too, plus soups, lots of large salads, sandwiches and burgers, with many dishes under $12. 19101 Sonoma Highway, Sonoma, 707-996-5949.
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The Red Grape: Shared New Haven-style, thin-crust pizzas with white or red sauce ($15.25-$19) are the way to go at this neighborhood favorite that’s also kid-friendly. Not into a pie? Check out the beef or quinoa burger with fries or cole slaw ($12-$13), truffled onion rings ($10), and tomato basil soup ($5.10 cup, $7.20 bowl) or clam chowder ($6.15 cup, $9.25 bowl). 529 First St. W., Sonoma, 707-996-4103.
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El Coyote: This taco truck sets up shop daily, across from Sonoma Valley High School. Super-popular with kids of all ages, the truck is clean and decorative, the service fast, the prices right. Breakfast burritos ($5.50-$7.50), tacos ($2-$6.50,) burritos ($7.50-$8.50) and tostadas and taco salads ($5.50-$7.50) are huge and filling. Dinner plates (meat, rice, beans, toppings and tortillas) are just $8.50. 1001 Broadway, Sonoma, 707-480-5001.
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Cochon Volant Smoke House: Rob Larman smokes and barbecues meats to perfection and offers tons of sides. Bargains include four pieces of fried chicken with two sides, enough for two ($17), and a barbecued pulled pork sandwich doused in coarse-ground coriander Carolina sauce, and one side dish ($10). Bring your own wine and there is no corkage fee — a rather rare bonus in Sonoma. 18350 Sonoma Highway, Sonoma, 707-509-5480.
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Saddles Steakhouse: MacArthur Place’s flagship restaurant woos with sumptuous, a la carte $30-$50 steaks. But if you dine in the bar, you can score sweet deals such as a burger with Sonoma Jack cheese, applewood bacon and fries ($14), and a Kobe burger with wild mushrooms, Brie, and a salad of baby greens, candied walnuts and goat cheese ($17). This is where the beef is. 29 E. MacArthur St., Sonoma, 707-933-3191.
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Golden Spring Mandarin Cuisine: Golden Spring serves some of the best Chinese food in Sonoma, with a special lunch menu that includes appetizer, soup, entree with rice, and fortune cookie ($6.85-$8.25); chicken, beef, pork, vegetables, and prawns are among the choices. The menu also has noodle soups, mu shu, egg foo yung, poultry, duck, lamb, beef, pork, tofu, seafood and sizzling plates ($7.25-$11.70). 18991 Sonoma Highway, Sonoma, 707-938-1275.
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Taqueria La Hacienda: La Hacienda serves big bowls of rich, chicken-based tortilla soup, soft tacos ($2.65-$3.99, depending on the meat) and combos of all sizes, including a chile relleno with rice, refried or whole beans, and salad for a cheap $7.75. Regular and super vegetarian or meat burritos (with 13 meat choices) are $6.85-$7.75. Unlimited chips and salsa, too. 17960 Sonoma Highway, Sonoma, 707-939-8226.
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La Michoacana: Natural ice cream and paletas (ice cream bars) are made on-site by Teresita Fernandez from fresh fruit and include flavors such as coconut pineapple, mango, almond cappuccino and Mexican Neapolitan. Cones are $2-$5.50, paletas $2.50-$4. 18495 Sonoma Highway, Sonoma, 707-938-1773.
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Homegrown Bagels: Beautiful bagels and bialys have been made here for nearly 40 years, and there are a variety of breakfast and lunch sandwiches, too. Best deal: six bagels and cream cheese for just $10. 201 W. Napa St., No. 21, Sonoma, 707-996-0166.
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