Backstory, BiteClub, Food + Drink, What's New in Sonoma County

25 Historic Sonoma County Restaurants That Are Still Going Strong

Sonoma County has been serving up epic meals for more than 100 years.

In the restaurant business, it’s saying something to make it through the first year, and rare to last more than ten. But in Sonoma County, there are more than a dozen that have survived well past their 30th year, and a handful which have outlasted generations of diners, stretching back more than a century.

These are well-worn eateries that have a proven formula. Most share a common heritage, built by Italian immigrants to the region, serving hearty family-style meals at approachable prices. It’s not a stretch to say that the farms, timber mills, railroads and vineyards of Sonoma County were built on pasta and meatballs. And maybe a steak or two.

We pay homage to 25 tried and true restaurants that have stood the test of time and are still going strong, check out our gallery above for the full list.

This article was updated in September 2019.

Subscribe Now!

Comments

34 thoughts on “25 Historic Sonoma County Restaurants That Are Still Going Strong

  1. I didn’t see La Salette a Portuguese Restaurant in Sonoma listed. Portuguese foods and cooking although not too widely known here is delicious and varied as well as their wonderful wines.. This restaurant is run by a family from Portugal so you know the dishes are ‘autenico’

  2. There are indeed some great restaurants in this bunch. I have been to just about all of them, save two. But I have to say that Betty’s is not at all good traditional English fish and chips. Skinny fries, not proper chips from the potato, and not so great batter on the fish. If you have ever been to England, you’d know the difference.

  3. Viva Mexicana in Sebastopol for 31 years. And now they are doing Persian fusion to their menu and a full Persian Menu for catering. They are very creative. Love this place!

  4. Betty’s Fish & Chips started in the 1960’s

    Saddle & Surloin/Cattlemans also Circa 1965

    Restaurant at The Flamingo Hotel 1950’s or earlier

  5. Negri’s could not have opened in 1942 “as a stopover for train travelers going from San Francisco to Eureka.”

    The railroad through Occidental was gone in the early 1930s and never went “to Eureka.” Its northern terminus was Cazadero.

    I wonder what other “historical research” in this article is incorrect.

  6. Great Job~Everyone has their favorite “old time” restaurant. I for one miss Fiori’s in Occidental~My Italian pops loved to go there when he visited…those apple fritters…oh my~ Loved the family style meals~

  7. Historic Restaurants of Sonoma County: reads the title of this story, yet leaves out dozens of restaurants off the list older than some that are on it.

    Pinky’s Pizza in Petaluma has been around since 1962.

    Sounds like someone didn’t actually research anything, and just listed places they enjoyed eating at.

  8. Not sure where that info aboutNegri’s in Occidental came from. The rails were pulled out in 1930, more than a decade before the restaurant was built. And besides, travelers from San Francisco to Eureka didn’t use that line.

  9. Union Hotel used to offer a choice of 1/2 roast chicken, 1/2 roast duck with plenty of fat on it and crunchy skin, and steak, all with great raviolis, salad, minestrone, and an apple fritter for desert. No pizzas. The minestrone by itself makes a good lunch. Never been to Dinucci’s but intend to try it.

    1. I remember those days well. I came from several of the huge Italian families in that area. The Union was run by relatives! Wonderful, unforgettable food!

    2. Ehh…I don’t know how Dinucci’s stays open. We drove all the way out one time. They were out of everything on special (it was a friday) and the food was an hour late and cold. There are better places on this list. I love Mary’s, but get “food bored” there as it never changes. We had a family of 14 at Negri’s last January and I can see why they have been in business- the food came on time; it was piping hot (all the dishes) and couldn’t ask for nicer people inside. The restaurant was packed full of people. Now that’s how you do it! And the prices were reasonable too (unlike Union Hotel, which has gone up like crazy).

      One thing I’ve noticed Heather- So many great restaurants have closed in Bennett Valley over the last five years replaced with other businesses. We need more restaurants over here besides Johnny Garlics and Legends. Someone start a new restaurant in the Sizzler building PLEASE. I don’t want to drive across town.

  10. This is a poor list and well thought out and must one person’s opinion.

    Family-owned La Gare
    Celebrating 30 Years in Railroad Square

  11. I thought about Mary’s today, after the article ran, but will add. Someone also mentioned La Vera and the others here. Sorry if I missed some folks. THanks for the heads up.

  12. Gheesh – What about the Blue Heron Inn (now Blue Heron Restaurant with different owners)? We opened in 1977, almost 40 years ago?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read previous post:
Mountain Lions in Sonoma County, and a Man’s Mission to Save Them

For more than a century in the American West, the policy of ranchers toward livestock-killing big cats was summed up...

Close