Best Sonoma Restaurants, BiteClub, Mexican/Latin, Santa Rosa

Sazon Peruvian Restaurant in Santa Rosa Is a Perennial Favorite

Ceviche, creamy shrimp soup, Lomo Saltado and other authentic Peruvian dishes keep Sazon on top

Sazon Peruvian Restaurant is a perennial favorite, constant Michelin Bib Gourmand winner and Santa Rosa’s oldest Peruvian restaurant. We continue to recommend it highly, after nine years of service.

You’re about to fall in love with leche de tigre. You just don’t know it yet.

The key to Peruvian hangover cures, this cousin to Clamato are the tart, briny, magical leftovers of ceviche-making. A sort of spicy fish juice, really, packed with eye-popping flavor. And the key to the best plate of ceviche you’ll find in the North Bay–still.

Kin to the popular San Francisco Peruvian restaurants, Fresca, Roseland’s Sazon is a clean, compact and modern spot awakening local tastebuds with their take on South America’s most multi-cultural cuisine.

Using native ingredients (corn, root veggies and beans) as their base, immigrant influences from China (rice), Japan (raw fish, seaweed), Spain (rice, wheat, beef), Italy and West Africa lend depth and complexity to contemporary Peruvian comfort cuisine.

Lomo Saltado at Sazon Peruvian restaurant in Santa Rosa (Heather Irwin)
Lomo Saltado at Sazon Peruvian restaurant in Santa Rosa (Heather Irwin)

On the menu: Papa a la Huanciana, a soft boiled potato with Huancaina sauce (a garlic cheese sauce), hard-boiled egg, olive and feta; Ceviche Mixto, a mix of prawns, scallops, fish, clams and squid “cooked” in citrus and served with the plate-lickable Leche de Tigre, Conzco corn (a sort of giant corn kernel), toasted cancha (a toasted corn) and roasted sweet potato. Chupe de Camarones is a creamy shrimp chowder packed with rice, corn, potatoes, and a poached egg. Delish.

Entrees are traditional homestyle foods — Lomo Saltado (fried tenderloin steak with onion, tomato, soy sauce, and fries tossed together); Polla a la Brasa (rotisserie chicken), Aji de Gallina (pulled chicken stew with rice) and Picante de Mariscos (a seafood stew with peas, cream sauce and rice). On the side, all manner of fried plantains, yucca and sweet potatoes, each with their own sauce.

None of the dishes are overly spicy, just for the sake of being hot, though native chilies bring a light tingle to some dishes. Expect lots of starchiness (rice, potatoes, yucca), which are staples of the diet along with bright, fresh citrus and herb notes.

Green mussels at Sazon Peruvian resaurant in Sanat Rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

Daily specials are worth taking a detour for — special fish dishes or seasonal delights — and pay off in spades.

The menu has expanded exponentially over the years, so it can be hard to choose from the dozens of dishes. A deli has opened next door (connected to the restaurant) for overflow seating as well as serving sandwiches and lunch fare.

Sazon, 1129 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa, 523-4346. Open daily from 11:30am.

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