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Depot Hotel Restaurant & Garden, Sonoma: This Sonoma establishment, located in an 1870 train depot, has made Open Table's top 100 list of outdoor dining restaurants. Enjoy Italian comfort food in the tradition of the Lucca province in Tuscany. The outdoor patio overlooks an ornamental reflection pool with a sparkling fountain. 241 1st St W., depotsonoma.com
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El Dorado Kitchen, Sonoma: You’ll feel like an A-lister in the courtyard of this award-winning restaurant on the Sonoma Plaza. Excellent food and craft cocktails complement the upscale outdoor cabanas and pool in this very intimate space. 405 1st St. W., Sonoma, eldoradosonoma.com
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La Salette, Sonoma: Chef Manuel Azevedo honors his heritage by preparing classic and innovative dishes in Portuguese style. The wine list is loaded with Portuguese treasures and the service is snappy. It’s a real treat to dine here, especially on the front patio. 452 First St. E., Suite H, Sonoma, lasaletterestaurant.com
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The Girl & The Fig, Sonoma: This popular eatery’s cozy, enclosed patio is just the spot for a romantic lunchtime rendezvous. Save room for a plate of artisan cheese and a glass of wine from owner Sondra Bernstein’s incredible collection of Rhones. 110 W. Spain St., Sonoma, thegirlandthefig.com
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Sunflower Caffe, Sonoma: This cafe, located in historic landmark building #501, was once home to captain Salvador Vallejo, the brother of Sonoma’s founder Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo. The recipe for the food is simple, local and seasonal. Outdoor dining is available on the street side patio or in the shaded garden. 421 1st St W, Sonoma, sonomasunflower.com
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Cafe Citti, Kenwood: A tuna-egg-mayo foccaccia sandwich and iced tea on the patio of this Italian spot is something of a lunchtime tradition for gal pals in Wine Country. Casual dining and a relaxed atmosphere (that’s kid-friendly without being a free-for-all). No wonder the ladies love it here. 9049 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, cafecitti.com.
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Bird & The Bottle, Santa Rosa: You’re front and center on busy Fourth Street, but with a second story view at this restaurant from Mark and Terri Stark. A great happy hour and indoor-outdoor dining on the deck are perfect for the restaurant’s Jewish, Asian, barbecue menu. 1055 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, birdandthebottle.com.
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Brew Coffee & Beer, Santa Rosa: Though the patio is small, it’s almost always crowded with local artists, writers and friends meeting up for a craft brew or coffee. Look for cozy couches, tasty pastries, a simple lunch menu and occasional dinner pop-ups. 555 Healdsburg Ave., Santa Rosa, brewcoffeeandbeer.com.
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Ca’Bianca Ristorante, Santa Rosa: Located in Santa Rosa’s historic Marshall House, built in 1876, this Italian restaurant offers elegant indoor dining as well as quaint patio seating with wooded surroundings. For great Italian food outdoors, Ca’Bianca’s is your best bet in Santa Rosa. 835 2nd St., Santa Rosa, 707-542-5800.
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Emily’s Kitchen, Santa Rosa: At Emily’s, guests are greeted by a key-lime-colored patio and a friendly staff and atmosphere. The patio, lined with plants in terracotta clay pots, is perfect on sunny days as the lattice overhang offers shade while letting in the right amount of sunshine. 709 Village Court, Santa Rosa, 707-523-2234.
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John Ash and Co., Santa Rosa: This historic restaurant pays homage to the godfather of Wine Country cuisine, founding chef John Ash. It’s nestled among acres of vineyards with stunning views from just about every angle. Twinkling lights and a lovely patio make it a perfect sunset spot. 4330 Barnes Road, Santa Rosa vintnersinn.com.
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La Rosa Tequileria, Santa Rosa: A huge tequila bar and the best chips and guac in town make this a great after-work spot to watch the world go by on Courthouse Square. 500 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, larosasantarosa.com.
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Monti’s Rotisserie and Bar, Santa Rosa: Enjoy a rustic Mediterranean meal on Monti’s patio. Then walk it off, shopping in open air Montgomery Village. 714 Village Ct., Santa Rosa, starkrestaurants.com
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The Whole Pie, Santa Rosa: The Whole Pie serves lunch and dinner in a crust, with sweet and savory slices, hand pies and whole pies, of course. Beer, cider and wine are also on the menu, along with coffee and craft soda. The cute patio overlooks Santa Rosa Creek. 2792 4th St., Santa Rosa, thewholepieshop.com.
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Brewsters Beer Garden and Restaurant, Petaluma: Brewsters is a gourmet Southern-style beer garden with over 350 seats. Chef/co-owner Chris Beerman serves up BBQ classics, like brisket, ribs, and fried chicken. Guests can also enjoy bocce ball on the patio, 30 beers on tap, Sonoma wine and creative cocktails. 229 Water Street North, Petaluma, brewstersbeergarden.com (Photo by John Burgess)
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Speakeasy, Petaluma: Speakeasy, an “international tapas bistro,” draws its inspiration from the history of downtown Petaluma’s turn-of-the-century buildings and alleys. After dining on the outdoor patio at the front of the restaurant, stroll over to sister joint “The Big Easy” for some live music and digestifs. 139 Petaluma Blvd N., Petaluma, speakeasypetaluma.com.
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Wild Goat Bistro, Petaluma: Located in the historic Great Petaluma Mill, the Wild Goat Bistro features “honest food” that uses fresh and seasonal local ingredients in a variety of culinary traditions: from specialty Neopolitan-style pizzas to sharable small plates. Outdoor seating is available on the front porch. Great Petaluma Mill Shopping Center #A5, Petaluma, wildgoatbistro.com
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Barndiva, Healdsburg: This Healdsburg hotspot is a mashup of rural charm and urban sensibilities. The casual bistro garden offers a cozy vibe. Did we mention the incredible food and craft cocktails? 231 Center St., Healdsburg, barndiva.com
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Bravas Bar de Tapas, Healdsburg: “Jamon In” points a neon arrow to the patio that Healdsburgers flock to every summer. Sangria, paella, Spanish tapas and plenty of gossip are what you’ll find at this popular watering hole and restaurant. 420 Center St., Healdsburg, starkrestaurants.com.
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Campo Fina, Healdsburg: Don’t be alarmed if this idyllic brick-clad Italian appears empty when you walk in on a sunny day—everyone is on the back patio sipping cocktails, playing bocce and watching the chefs turn out some of the best pizza in the county in a wood-fired oven. 330 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, campofina.com.
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Healdsburg Bar & Grill, Healdsburg: Known to locals as HBG, this buzzing, American eatery is the playground for Michelin-starred chef Douglas Keane, who serves up comfort classics like macaroni and cheese and their classic HBG’s burger. Bocce and lots of happy kids (don’t worry, there’s a fence) wander around on the patio in the early evening hours. 245 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, healdsburgbarandgrill.com
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Mateo's Cocina Latina, Healdsburg: In the back of Mateo’s is a garden patio where the master chef grows herbs and vegetables for his seasonal, Latin cuisine. The large patio has umbrella-shaded tables for those hot summer days and heaters for the chilly months, along with strung lights and various plants for an extra cozy ambiance. 214 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, 707-433-1520.
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Willi’s Seafood and Raw Bar: The East Coast and South America meet Wine Country at this restaurant located just north of the Healdsburg town square. The menu, designed for sharing, includes items ranging from New England Style “Rolls” and Latin-inspired skewers to ceviches and tartares which can be enjoyed on the popular outdoor patio. 403 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, starkrestaurants.com
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Catelli’s, Geyserville: This large outdoor patio is a luxe respite in the middle of the Dry Creek Valley. Excellent Cal-Ital menu items include paper-thin lasagna, burgers and other classics. 21047 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville, mycatellis.com
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Rustic Francis's Favorites, Geyserville: The restaurant at Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville boasts a terrace overlooking the picturesque Alexander Valley and Coppola vineyards. The family-style cooking features fresh, seasonal ingredients from the property’s organic herb and produce garden. 300 Via Archimedes, Geyserville, francisfordcoppolawinery.com
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Charlie’s Restaurant, Windsor: A favorite among our readers, Charlie’s at Windsor Golf Club offers views of the course and lake, and features weekend brunches, steaks, fresh seafood, fine wines and beers on tap. 1320 19th Hole Dr, Windsor, windsorgolf.com
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Fork Roadhouse, Sebastopol: The large patio behind this tiny Sebastopol roadhouse is a ton of fun, with live music and cool shade by the small stream nearby. Not to mention that chef/owner Sarah Piccolo’s food is spot-on every time. 9890 Bodega Highway, Sebastopol, forkcatering.com. (Photo by John Burgess)
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Gravenstein Grill, Sebastopol: Out front of this upscale restaurant, with large Roman columns, is a stone patio with white tablecloth-lined tables surrounded by lush gardens. 8050 Bodega Ave., Sebastopol, 707-634-6142.
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Handline, Sebastopol: An epic patio and screened walls that open to the breeze makes this fast/casual taco, oysters and burger spot a favorite for families and happy hour. Great food, a nice list of beer and wine, plus walk-up soft serve keeps them coming back. 935 Gravenstein Hwy. South, Sebastopol, handline.com.
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Hopmonk Tavern, Sebastopol: Sebastopol's Hopmonk is housed in a 1903 landmarked brick building previously used as railroad powerhouse. The outdoor beer garden has long communal tables and a fire-pit, and is host to live music on the weekends. Guests can check out the extensive “Beer Bible” while chewing on a juicy burger and other classic pub grub. 230 Petaluma Ave., hopmonk.com/sebastopol
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Ramen Gaijin, Sebastopol: Seasonal Japanese menu consisting of traditional regional ramen styles inspired by the offerings of local farmers and ranchers, plus an ever-changing selection of yakitori and small plate izakaya dishes to complement craft cocktails, beer, wine and sake. Enjoy the neighborhood atmosphere on the patio during the daily happy hour. 6948 Sebastopol Ave., Sebastopol, ramengaijin.com
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Woodfour Brewing, Sebastopol: This local brewery serves up solid Sonoma County-inspired dishes and has a large patio for people watching and soaking up the summer sun. 6780 Depot St. Sebastopol, woodfourbrewing.com.
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Backyard, Forestville: Living up to its name, Forestville’s Backyard restaurant has a gorgeous, sunny patio out back—a great spot for any time of the year. A large tree in the middle of the patio provides some shade on hot days, and outdoor heaters are available for the colder months. Various plant life adorns the patio, with retro lights hanging overhead. 6566 Front St., Forestville, 707-820-8445.
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Estero Cafe, Valley Ford: Bright orange umbrellas are the signature of this tiny breakfast/brunch cafe that pays daily homage to local farmers with a hand-lettered chalkboard. A note on the menu informs customers that they deep fry in local pork lard, something true foodies will travel miles to find. 4450 Hwy. 1, Valley Ford, visit on Facebook.
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Rocker Oysterfeller’s, Valley Ford: A historic Sonoma County roadhouse, Rocker Oysterfeller's kitchen and saloon near Bodega is known for its popular Chowder Day and Oysterpalooza events. The restaurant also has a large outdoor brick patio, complete with white tables and chairs, and heaters for those chilly days on the coast. 14415 Highway 1, Valley Ford, (707) 876-1983.
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Gold Coast Coffee and Bakery, Duncans Mills: Stop in historic Duncans Mills for a cup of house-roasted coffee and pair it with a pastry baked in the wood fire oven (which also makes great-tasting pizza). The deck is surrounded by lush gardens. 23577 Steelhead Blvd., Duncans Mills, visit on Facebook.
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Russian River Vineyards, Forestville: This Forestville outpost has always been a great spot to sit outside among grapevines and redwoods and ponder the Wine Country lifestyle. The weekend brunch is a great excuse to linger. 5700 Highway 116 N., Forestville, russianrivervineyards.com
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Drake’s Fireside Lounge, Bodega Bay: Drake's is a great spot to relax and experience the Sonoma Coast. Get cozy indoors next to a stone fireplace or take in the sunset, nestled in a teak rocking chair by the outdoor fire pit. Through the lenses of the patio binoculars, you can track migrating whales, spot coastal birds, or follow the kite surfers in the distant harbor. 103 CA-1, Bodega Bay.
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Fisherman’s Cove, Bodega Bay: A no-nonsense family-owned seafood shack and fishing-marine supply store specializing in fresh local oysters harvested from Tamales Bay. Their crab sandwich rivals nearby Spud Point, but we’ll let you make that call. 1850 Bay Flat Rd., Bodega Bay.
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Spud Point Crab Company, Bodega Bay: This family operated old-style Fishermen’s Wharf restaurant is a “dream-come-true” for owners Tony and Carol Anello. The restaurant’s fresh crab and wild king salmon is caught by Tony and his son Mark. Carol and daughters Lisa and Gina run the store, serving up famous clam chowder and crab cakes. The outdoor picnic tables offer views of the bay and the fishing fleet. 1910 Westshore Rd, Bodega Bay
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River's End, Jenner: This romantic Jenner restaurant is the perfect place to end a day on the coast. With large windows overlooking the shore, this spot’s sunset views mixed with the fresh-out-of-the-ocean seafood is a dinner you’ll remember. 11048 Highway 1, Jenner, ilovesunsets.com.