Sonoma County’s Best Restaurants of 2024

Experience Sonoma County's best restaurants. From hidden gems to trendy rooftop spots, satisfy your cravings with a diverse range of cuisines.

Let’s have at it, Sonoma County. Who’s excited to meet up with friends and lounge around on a warm summer night? Who’s down for brunch with a view or staying up late with some good bubbly and salty fries? That would be all of us ‘round here.

Here’s our take on a comprehensive list of Sonoma County favorites. Inside you’ll find both a corner deli with unapologetically huge meatball sandwiches and a fashionable rooftop spot with an exquisite plant-based tasting menu. Tiki-tastic Polynesian fare and a mom-and-pop with super authentic, difficult-to-find Himalayan dosa. There’s a time and a place for all of it, and we can’t wait.

Check out the gallery above for a sneak peek at some of Sonoma County’s best restaurants.

Stellina Alimentari sandwich
A meaty sandwich from Stellina Alimentari in Petaluma. (Emma K Morris)

People Who Lunch

Canevari’s Deli

“We’re the oldest deli and ravioli factory north of SF in the state of California,” say owners Lou and Kim Chambrone. One bite of the mile-high meatball lasagna, tangy pesto ravioli, or spinach-bacon risotto and you’ll understand why this spot is beloved by all. Show up on Saturday for the gabagool special, a mix of capicola, melted provolone, marinara sauce, and roasted peppers on a toasted soft roll.

695 Lewis Rd., Santa Rosa. 707-545-6941,

Lunch Box

A cheerful blue storefront belies the delectable bellybusters within. Consider the Double Creature, a twopatty smash burger towering with American cheddar and housemade fancy sauce, or the intensely layered, two-handed hoagie with real Italian water buffalo mozzarella and olive tapenade. For a surprise with some kick, hit up the gooey, spicy grilled cheese with housemade kimchi and black garlic miso aioli.

128 N. Main St., Sebastopol.


Working at Chez Panisse helped pave the way for Joel Baecker and Naomi Crawford’s darling café, where a mostly vegetarian/ vegan menu sparkles with pizzas, salads, and grain bowls, plus specials like creamy heirloom polenta dotted with garlicky mushrooms and roasted delicata squash. Absolutely get dessert—you deserve the goodness of crunchy chocolate-walnut cookies with coconut flakes and dates.

25 Fourth St., Petaluma. 707-2417443,

Stellina Alimentari

When a chef wistfully describes porchetta grease running down his hand with the kind of passion reserved for those newly in love, you listen. This tiny trattoria from the owners of Stellina Pronto focuses on bold sandwiches and salads, like Il Michelangelo, a meaty handful of the aforementioned porchetta served on Della Fattoria lemon rosemary bread.

160 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma. 707-774-6156,

The Second Story Healdsburg
Customers dine at The Second Story, upstairs at Little Saint in Healdsburg, a temple to the union of plant-based food, wine and live music. (Kim Carroll)

Eat Food, Mostly Plants.

The Second Story

Chef Stu Stalker pushes the boundaries of haute plant-based cuisine upstairs at Little Saint, a temple to the union of food, wine, and live music that hosts free concerts most Thursday nights. Hyper-seasonal produce comes from Little Saint’s own nearby farm, and the wine program is led by a rising star sommelier who isn’t afraid to have a little fun. The multicourse, prix fixe experience is modestly priced by Healdsburg standards, at $125 per person. 

25 North St., Healdsburg, 707-433-8207.

La Bodega

The entire Mediterranean-Middle Eastern menu is vegetarian and vegan—and you likely would never even realize it. Owners Meekk Shelef and Bryan Cooper and chef Rick Vargas craft recipes so deeply layered you won’t miss the meat. The green lentil soup involves 10 items for the base and eight more to deepen the stock. Tally 15 more for the soup body, three for a finishing drizzle, and three more for garnish. That’s a ton of complexity. 

2295 Gravenstein Hwy. S., Sebastopol. 707-827-1832,

The outdoor dining patio at Handline in Sebastopol. (Courtesy of Handline)

Having an Absolute Blast

The Goose & Fern

With a room full of folks cheering Premier League football on the telly, plus trivia contests and movie nights with free popcorn, this dark, divey-cool British pub is your FOMO place. You’ll dine on local rock cod fish and chips, Guinness beef pie, and rich oxtail soup topped with a cheddar toastie. A few beers in, and you’ll be bellowing for the secret scraps: salted batter bits hot from the fryer, served for free.

116 Fifth St., Santa Rosa. 707-843-4235,


This tiki-tastic adult playground isn’t just fun; it’s an island adventure complete with bamboo huts, pirate booty, and terrific mai tais. The menu focuses on Hawaiian fare, including plate lunch faves like Spam musubi, sticky garlic chicken, and mac salad. Fried noodles are perfect for soaking up deceptively delicious tropical cocktails that—if you’re not careful—will take you down like a vengeful god.

132 Keller St., Petaluma. 707559-3665,


Pizzaiolo Leah Scurto makes some of the best pizza anywhere, including as a member of the official U.S. Pizza Team (yes, there is such a thing). But she takes a laid-back approach to the laborious art of crafting her restaurant pies, publicly telling her fans to just have fun cooking. So let Scurto focus on 72-hour-long dough fermentations and pristine toppings like hot honey and teasingly spicy Calabrian peppers. You just savor the result.

9240 Old Redwood Hwy., Windsor. 707-6200551,


Sebastopol’s cheery Handline boasts an authentic stone mill to grind its own masa for thick, rustic tortillas that feed into outstanding fish tacos. Plus rockfish ceviche, fisherman’s stew—and Straus soft serve. With ping-pong and picnic tables, there’s no better place to dine out with kids.

935 Gravenstein Hwy. S., Sebastopol. 707-827-3744,

Khom Loi Sebastopol
Thai cuisine at Khom Loi in Sebastopol. (Sonoma County Tourism)

Transported to Thailand

Khom Loi

Un-Americanized Thai cuisine is a rare find, and chef Moishe Hahn-Schuman’s menu leans heavily on uniquely Thai ingredients, some ordered directly from Asia and delivered by the pallet. The flavors are so unabashedly robust that certain Thai-American standbys—pad Thai, green curry—take on an entirely new and different appeal.

7385 Healdsburg Ave., Sebastopol. 707-329-6917,

The Cult of Personality

Golden Bear Station

Chef Joshua Smookler tested nearly 100 pizza doughs for his new restaurant, and he’s still tweaking the recipe. Smookler, known for Sonoma favorite Animo, has created a charming candlelit dining experience with handcrafted pasta and elevated woodfired pizzas. Larger format dishes (a whole lamb saddle or pork chop in dashi broth) are standouts, as is the burger. A handful of Animo favorites have hung around, like the Lobster XO with lemongrass tea over sushi rice, and the couple also plan to relaunch Animo later this year.

8445 Sonoma Hwy., Kenwood.

Joshua Smookler
Owner and chef Joshua Smookler finishes and checks each plate before delivering to the tables at the Golden Bear Station Thursday, Jan. 11, 2023, on Highway 12 in Kenwood. (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)
Street Social

When a chef promises you “damn good food” and the mixologist tells you her drinks will “expand your experience of the spirit,” you know they’re aiming high. Jevon Martin and Marjorie Pier think big and deliver even bigger on stunners like seared pink grouper dipped in jeow som, a spicy-sour sauce from Laos. With just six tables, the space has become an intimate community hub, as diners discuss unusual ingredients like Japanese ashitaba powder and Yemenian red zhoug puree.

29 F Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma. 707-774-6185,


Wine Country diners took notice of uber-talented, ultra-charismatic chef Fiorella Butron when she ran Sonoma’s upscale Edge restaurant. Now, she pours her biggerthan-life personality into bold dishes for her small Peruvian deli. Meals are grab-n-go but magical, like boudin blanc sausage with Mendocino black trumpet mushrooms, tucked in a ciabatta roll with arugula and fermented yacón root.

678 W. Napa St., Sonoma. 707-934-4900,

De Havilland

For nearly 13 years, Mark Malicki spent his Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights spinning magic out of a closetsized kitchen at The Casino Bar & Grill in Bodega. Now, he’s created something a little more expansive—but no less inspiring—at a morning café he borrows several nights each week. The menu doesn’t follow any set pattern; it’s more of a watercolor portrait of what’s in season and what Malicki is currently obsessed with. Go without expectations and with your sense of whimsy.

316 Western Ave., Petaluma. 707-623-5141,

The Madrona

Healdsburg’s The Madrona is a swanky, design-forward destination hotel (on Travel + Leisure’s 2023 It List) with a spectacular dining terrace and flamboyant bar scene—plus elegant dishes like grilled peaches with burrata and prosciutto from chef Patrick Tafoya. 

1001 Westside Rd., Healdsburg. 707-395-6700,

J&M’s Midtown Cafe Santa Rosa
Louisiana Hash with onions, bell peppers, bacon, potatoes, cheddar, eggs, herbs, mushrooms and spicy seasoning from J&M’s Midtown Cafe, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024, in Santa Rosa. (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

Breakfast is the Most Important Meal

J&M’s Midtown Café

This corner diner has the soul of a great greasy spoon but the heart of a chef who truly elevates breakfast and brunch. It’s a passion project for Joel Shaw, formerly of Ramen Gaijin, who has kept a few old favorites from the Dierk’s Midtown era while offering new twists on standbys like ciabatta French toast and smoked salmon hash. Plus a NY pastrami sandwich with a permanent place on my Top 10 list. 

1422 Fourth St., Santa Rosa. 707-545-2233,

Willow Wood Market Cafe

Since 1995, this charming spot has welcomed west county neighbors, farmers, and winery folk for excellent French folded eggs mantled in fontina and basil leaves or golden polenta crowned with perfect poached eggs, crispy prosciutto, basil oil, and a sprinkle of parmesan. 

9020 Graton Rd., Graton. 707-8230233,


The husband-and-wife owners have created a cafe that’s as warm and sweet as their signature crebble (a croissant-meets-muffin dusted with cinnamon sugar). The pastry cases are full of decadent treats with cartoonish proportions: You couldn’t possibly eat that whole croissant until, oops, you did. The team recently added popular twice-monthly Friday night fried chicken pop-ups as well as Sunday brunch. 

208 Davis St., Santa Rosa. 707-852-4091,

Austin's Southern Smoke BBQ
A tray full of ribs and brisket and all the fixings of Austin’s Southern Smoke BBQ at Old Possum Brewing Co. in Santa Rosa, Friday, May 6, 2022. (Erik Castro/ For Sonoma Magazine)

Epic BBQ Collab


Local barbecue powerhouses Austin’s Southern Smoke BBQ and Marvin’s BBQ have joined forces for the ultimate Texas ‘cue. Owners Kris Austin and Marvin Mckinzy both grew up in barbecue-loving households, Austin in Kansas City, Memphis, and Texas, and Mckinzy in Kentucky. “We let the smoke do the work, and we don’t try to cover up the meat with sauce, so you can taste the time we put into it,” says Austin. 

495 S. Main St., Sebastopol. 707-861-9623

Summer Nights

Iggy’s Organic Burger

The Iggy Biggy isn’t a Big Mac, but it’s adjacent. With two beef patties, cheddar, caramelized onions, pickles, and not two but three buttery brioche buns, it’s what overpromising fast food burgers wish they were— but never are. Did we mention the spot shares space with an ice cream parlor?

109 Plaza St., Healdsburg.

Molti Amici

Summer sunsets were made for convivial Italian aperitifs, gourmet woodfired pizza and bocce ball at this neighborhood trattoria, which opened in 2023. The name translates to “many friends,” which you’ll undoubtedly make while lazing away with a cocktail under fringed umbrellas or leaning back into summery lime-striped cushions. 330 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg.

Lavender Angela’s Organic ice cream is served in a sugar cone at Iggy’s Organic Burgers on the plaza, Friday in Downtown Healdsburg June 30, 2023. (Chad Surmick / The Press Democrat)
Lavender Angela’s Organic ice cream is served in a sugar cone at Iggy’s Organic Burgers on the plaza in Downtown Healdsburg. (Chad Surmick / The Press Democrat)
fish sandwich Valley Swim Club
Battered Cod Sandwich from opening day at the Valley Swim Club restaurant in Sonoma, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023. (John Burgess / The Press Democrat)
Valley Swim Club

The only diving at this popular roadhouse is straight into a bowl of clams in buttery garlic noodles. VSC is a casual, walkin- only sibling to downtown’s Valley Bar + Bottle, with a focus on coastal seafood, plus salads, milkshakes, smash burgers, and plant-based options. On the drinks menu, tasty porch pounders and standout natural wines are de rigueur , including the Valley team’s own Le Lube. 

18709 Arnold Dr., Sonoma. 707-2433032,

Bloom Carneros

A half-acre, historic garden flanks a newly designed, elegant alfresco lounge with couches, fire pits, and an artsy-rustic wine bar. Feed all your senses with chef Jennifer McMurry’s portrait-worthy dinners of locally sourced, seasonal dishes like housemade pappardelle tossed with tangy organic apricots and a spring-onion fondue, showered in edible blossoms. 

22910 Broadway, Sonoma. 707-412 0438,

Buck’s Place

From the retro-cool experts behind Lou’s Luncheonette and Jack’s Filling Station, the new-ish Buck’s Place is a neon-heavy neighborhood joint in El Verano with live music, dancing and some of the best thick-crust pizza anywhere. 

401 Grove St., Sonoma.

Mom-and-Pops: Nothing Better

Himalayan Grill and Dosa

The key word here is dosa. These thin Indian crepes filled with potatoes, paneer, or other goodies are nearly impossible to find in Sonoma County. Though the owners of this Petaluma eatery are from Nepal, they’ve nailed this fermented rice and lentil south Indian street food, as well as thick momo and incredible apricot curry.

5306 Old Redwood Hwy. N., Petaluma. 707-665-0644,


Chef/co-owner Julio Ortiz is a Petaluma native—but his parents, Jorge and Gloria, came from Jalisco, Mexico, and the restaurant celebrates regional dishes from that western state, plus Mexico City, Oaxaca, and more. The whole family pulls together to create mouthwateringly different cuisine, like sincronizadas, chiltomate, salsa de aguacate, raspadas and ayocote.

121 Kentucky St., Petaluma. 707-774 6130,

El Milagro Cloverdale
Mole verde Pipián, chicken with green pumpkin seed mole sauce, is served at El Milagro in Cloverdale, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022. (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)
El Milagro

Bask in the beauty that is Oaxacan mole verde pipián, a sumptuous chicken guisado alongside creamy mayocoba beans. Chef-owners Alan Valverde, Julio Velazquez, and Marco Zamora opened this inventive regional Mexican showpiece just three months before the pandemic. The three met 20 years ago at entry-level kitchen jobs and say shepherding El Milagro through the roller coaster of the past few years has made them like brothers.

485 S. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale. 707-894-6334,

Multicourse Tasting Menus

The Farmhouse Inn

Some dainty tasting menus leave you feeling peckish. Not this seven-course, freewheeling fantasia of French, Japanese, Chinese, Italian and Californian cuisine, fed by the property’s orchards and gardens. It’s a most memorable, $275 tasting menu, enhanced with splendid amuse-bouches (yes, please, to a magical confit of green almond marinated shell-on in olive oil until velvety and served with a salty anchovy caught that morning in the San Francisco Bay).

7871 River Rd., Forestville. 707-8873300,

Table Culture Provisions

Chefs Stéphane Saint Louis and Steven Vargas somehow manage to make haute cuisine approachable—maybe because they spent most of the pandemic serving luxe fried chicken and onion dip to fund their dream restaurant. The young bootstrappers create magic in the tiny galley kitchen of a former chilidog diner with a seven-course, $135 menu that includes braised beef cheek ravioli with Taleggio foam and a tartare tartlet with sunchoke cappuccino.

312 Petaluma Blvd. S., Petaluma, 707-559-5739,


Chef Dustin Valette’s tongue-incheek “trust me” tasting menu is a romp through classic restaurant dishes (including the signature scallops en croute) plus off-menu surprises. You can even do a side-by-side tasting menu with a friend and compare different dishes—a rarity with tasting menus. Desserts shine, especially the ItsNotA ‘Snickers Bar’ made with dark chocolate and peanut powder. $20 per course, 5-course minimum.

344 Center St., Healdsburg, 707-473-0946,

Geyserville Gun Club
Next-level bar food at Geyserville Gun Club in Geyserville. (Emma K Creative/Geyserville Gun Club)

Champions of their Neighborhood

Geyserville Gun Club

This former Masonic lodge masquerading as a neighborhood dive is the most next-level bar in Sonoma County. Though their craft cocktails would spit in your eye if you actually called them that, the She Devil (mezcal, cherry liqueur, a squeeze of citrus, and a dusting of ghost pepper) is certainly crafty in my book. The bar menu reads like a line cook’s munchie fantasy—fat Korean tacos, calamari with Kewpie mayo and bonito flakes, and one of the tastiest burgers known to humanity.

21025 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville. 707-8140036,

Grossman’s Noshery & Bar

This hip, always hopping Jewish-Mediterranean deli fills the bill for neighborhood goodness. Vintage wood bar? Check. Black-and-white checker floor? Check. A rock fireplace lit with a “shalom” neon sign? Sure. The upscale deli food rocks Sonoma County—you know you want to kick back and kvetch with your buddies over juicy, overnight braised brisket plopped atop golden latkes and horseradish cream.

308 ½ Wilson St., Santa Rosa. 707-595-7707,

The Shuckery

Despite our proximity to the ocean, finding a local restaurant dedicated to seafood is surprisingly tough. Saluting the humble oyster (though there’s plenty more on the menu), Petaluma’s bustling The Shuckery is a seafood lover’s dream.

100 Washington St., Petaluma. 707981-7891,

Psychic Pie

The joy begins with thick, crispy, pillowy housemade sourdough multigrain crust, then builds to toppings like whipped Double 8 Dairy ricotta from Italian water buffalos, garlic roasted potatoes, chile oil, crème fraîche, and showers of fresh herbs. Purchase by the (square) slice, then happily argue with your friends over whose pie is the best. (You’ll all be correct, BTW.)

980 Gravenstein Hwy. S., Sebastopol. 707-827-6032,

The Altamont General Store food
(Clockwise from center) The Boho Bowl, gluten-free summer squash tartlets, Mochi donuts, Earl Grey polenta olive oil cakes, at The Altamont General Store. Photo taken in Occidental on Thursday, May 13, 2021. (Beth Schlanker/Sonoma Magazine)
Altamont General Store

Renovate an 1876 clapboard hotel into a chic café and gourmet marketplace, and the community will come—in droves. Linger over a yolky egg, havarti and kimchi banh mi; the Boho bowl with French lentils, rice, and pickled veggies; or kalua pork tacos stuffed with pickled pineapple and Hawaiian chile slaw.

3703 Main St., Occidental. 707-874-6053,

Guiso Latin Fusion

Hidden between tented rice chicharrones, two curled octopus tentacles peep out from a bed of quinoa atop a rough granite slab dotted by lime foam. This edible seascape is almost too beautiful to eat. Almost. At this cozy Healdsburg hideaway, chef Carlos Mojica does gastro-magic in a way that isn’t precious just for the sake of being impressive, from his grandmother’s secret recipe for Latin-style tomato sauce to his mother’s daily preparation of Salvadoran pupusas stuffed with flower buds and cheese. This local favorite still floats under the radar of most dining guides—a hidden gem in a town dominated by showy Michelin stars.

117 North St., Healdsburg. 707-431-1302,

Underwood Bar & Bistro

Sit at the big, loud, nickel-topped bar to rub shoulders with west county winemakers, farmers, and other cool kids. All around, folks indulge in French onion soup molten with Gruyère, lavish duck confit with lentils, and goat cheese toast, or–interestingly–mighty fine Thai dishes.

9113 Graton Rd., Graton. 707823-7023,


Hidden in the mixed-use clamshell of Petaluma’s southwest waterfront district, Pearl’s Mediterranean flavors are well-known to locals but often overlooked by tourists. Chef/ owners Brian Leitner and Annette Yang’s menu features tried-and-true dishes—fiery red shakshuka, Persian meatball tagine, and Levantine-spiced brisket. Don’t miss the Moroccan rice pudding: a warm, perfumed embrace of a dessert.

500 First St., Petaluma. 707-5595187,

Rocker Oysterfeller's
Server Mia Cormier with a tray of Rocker Oysterfeller’s oysters on Friday, March 8, 2024, in Valley Ford. (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

Absolute Classic Sonoma

Willi’s Wine Bar

This Santa Rosa institution is a not-so-secret clubhouse for the county’s movers and shakers. It’s classy without being fussy, offering a suitably adult wine list and something-for-everyone mixandmatch small plates. We like to consider it our office away from home for roséand- crab-taco meetings you can semi-conscientiously put on the company card.

1415 Town and Country Dr., Santa Rosa. 707-526-3096,

Glen Ellen Star

Owner Ari Weiswasser is all about saluting perfect ingredients at this wood-fired oven driven neighborhood hotspot. Think roast chicken, flattened under a heavy piece of tile, then set atop fregola alla primavera and black trumpet mushrooms or Brussels sprouts roasted in an iron skilled with an earthy-sweet brown sugarbacon marmalade.

13648 Arnold Dr., Glen Ellen. 707343-1384,

Gourmet Au Bay

Is there any more perfect place to soak up the Sonoma Coast? The heavens part for marina views, wine flight boards shaped like surfboards, and visits from seagulls (hold onto that smoked clam pizza, those birdies will dive in and snag it from you). You are steps from boats bringing in the fresh catch, so load up on petrale sole, crab, and an excellent paella studded with calamari, shrimp and salmon.

1412 Bay Flat Rd., Bodega Bay. 707-8759875,

Rocker Oysterfeller’s

The town of Valley Ford has a population of 148, and a half-mile downtown along Highway 1. But this 1846 saloon draws folks from all over for briny fresh Tomales Bay oysters fried crisp in cornmeal with bacon and cream cheese and local rock cod tacos jazzed with spicy rémoulade, sweet apple-fennel slaw, radishes, and jalapeños on housemade tortillas.

14 415 Highway 1, Valley Ford. 707-8761983,

Dry Creek Kitchen salad
Grilled Russian River Organic’s Gem Lettuce with miso “Caesar” dressing, radish and shallot bread crumbs from the Dry Creek Kitchen Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023, in Healdsburg. (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

Wine Bars that Center Great Food

The Redwood

If you’re a natural wine geek, you’ve found your tribe at this friendly wine bar. But you won’t be limited by simple nibbles of tinned fish and charcuterie—the accompanying menu punches way above its weight class, like grilled maitake mushrooms with za’atar, braised lamb shank, steelhead trout dip with crème fraîche, and the world’s best hummus served alongside warm, fluffy pita.

234 S. Main St., Sebastopol. 707-861-9730,

Valley Bar + Bottle

Grab a seat at the intimate bar or spread out at a courtyard table in back and pop the cork on a bottle of small-production, low-intervention wine. Then let loose on small plates of oustanding Cal-Mediterranean fare. What wine goes best with a velvety, slow-boiled egg crowned with its custardy yolk and dollops of briny XO sauce? Or a slab of succulent braised pork nested on leeks and prunes? Sample and discuss.

487 First St. W., Sonoma. 707-934-8403,

Maison Healdsburg

Just when you thought Healdsburg couldn’t get more swanky, here comes an oh-so-posh salute to global wines from a trio of SingleThread alums, with vintage and rare California treasures, small production French bottles—and sake, just because. Guest chef pop-ups with full menus are what make this spot notable on the dining front, but there are also sublime snacks like smoked oysters or caviar with potato crisps and crème fraîche. Gasp—they’re open until 2 a.m., too!

210 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg.

Dry Creek Kitchen

Executive chef Shane McAnelly (formerly of Chalkboard and The Brass Rabbit) has recently taken over the day-to-day at Charlie Palmer’s clubby Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg, adding his own twists while remaining true to Palmer’s “Progressive American” cuisine.

317 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg. 707-431-0330,

Augie’s French Santa Rosa
Escargots, from left, Boursin butter, lemon & pepper / black truffle butter / buffalo / garlic butter, parsley, Pernod from Augie’s French Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023, on Courthouse Square in Santa Rosa. (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

So French

Augie’s French

Augie’s is all about hearty Gallic dishes like French onion soup, braised boeuf bourguignon with duck-fat roasted potatoes, and bowls of steaming mussels swimming in creamy Dijon sauce that’s begging to be soaked up with a crusty housemade baguette. Champagne starts flowing at 3 p.m., and happy hour bites like croque madames, buckwheat crepes, and the Prime Burger Royale transport to a timeless Parisian moodscape.

535 Fourth St., Santa Rosa. 707-531-4400,

Maison Porcella

Marc-Henri and Maud Jean-Baptiste specialize in tiny batch, artisanal pâtés, glistening rillettes, liver mousses, chunky terrines, and andouillette, a coarse-grained sausage made from pork intestine, wine, onions and seasonings. Each takes days to create. Entrées are just as elegant, in Slow Food sensations like cassoulet rich with Toulouse sausage, duck confit, and pork belly.

8499 Old Redwood Hwy., Windsor. 707-955-5611,

Troubadour Bread & Bistro

The nightly tasting menu trips the light fantastic through a haute French lineup of dishes such as trout doused in red wine reduction with five spice and black trumpets, or tender pork dressed in persimmons, nasturtiums, and hazelnuts.

381 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg. 707-7563972,

Fern Bar Sebastopol
Interior of Sebastopol’s Fern Bar, a vibe-y lounge and restaurant with astounding craft cocktails and super shareable plates for the table. (Sonoma County Tourism)

Cocktails Make the Meal

Fern Bar

A vibe-y lounge and restaurant with astounding craft cocktails and super shareable plates for the table. The menu switches with the season, but favorites like the Umami Bomb, a vegan dish with greens and mushrooms, are always winners. The patio is a favorite summer spot to people-watch.

6780 Depot St., Sebastopol. 707-8619603,

Lo & Behold

Come for the cocktails, stay for the food. The founders of Duke’s Spirited Cocktails created a high-low menu that brings in locals, industry folks, and out-of-towners. Adult chicken tenders are the juiciest strips of crunchy, salty, fried chicken bits I’ve ever had. Dipped in housemade ranch with a side of pickles, they’re worthy of a standing ovation. Perhaps that’s my fourth cocktail talking, but dang, they’re tasty. Open late.

214 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg. 707-756-5021,

Exquisite Sushi

Hana Japanese Restaurant

Daily fish specials impress with seasonal rarities, but even the everyday menu celebrates premium, rare catch like joyously fatty sashimi of bluefin tuna belly. Chef Keita Tominaga woos with more contemporary takes, too, like a sweet-briny oyster crowned in uni, ikura, tobiko, and ponzu crème fraîche, or an elegant sushi roll of toro with uni, golden Osetra caviar, and freshly pounded wasabi.

101 Golf Course Dr., Rohnert Park. 707-586-0270,

Sushi Koshō

What a delight it is to watch chef-owner Jake Rand behind his sushi counter, slicing and arranging pristine fish from Japanese markets or gracefully adorning nigiri with delicate flakes of edible gold. Regulars pounce on the chirashi, looking like a jewel box of a half-dozen different types of sashimi fanned over ginger-flecked rice, pickled vegetables, and shimmering salmon roe.

6750 McKinley St., Sebastopol. 707-827-6373,

Stockhome Petaluma
Airy Swedish understatement at Stockhome in downtown Petaluma. (Emma K Creative/Stockhome)

Swedish Comfort


Husband-and-wife team Roberth and Andrea Sundell are as much of a draw as their cuisine, matching their warm, welcoming personalities with top-notch Swedish-Mediterranean comfort food like wildly-delicious roasted cauliflower with pepitas and tahini sauce or crispy wienerschnitzel with buttery marble potatoes and peas. Be sure to stock up on the rainbow array of bulk licorice and other candy—the charming Swedish tradition of lördagsgodis, or Saturday sweets.

220 Western Ave., Petaluma. 707-9818511,

The Big Splurge


Fun fact: California has more two- and three-Michelin star restaurants than any other state, including this three-star landmark that offers the third most expensive tasting menu in the country. The $475 kaiseki journey spans 10 courses of dazzling Japanese finery, each ingredient sourced with great purpose and presented with a healthy dose of storytelling.

131 North St., Healdsburg. 707-723-4646,


Here is a fantasy feast, flowing over a 20-course, $295 tasting menu of seasonal, exquisitely imagined California fare. The Michelin-star meal transports— literally—as guests move from room to room during the course of an evening, from Champagne and canapés in the Bubble Lounge, hors d’oeuvres at an interactive chef’s table in the kitchen, entrées overlooking Alexander Valley vineyards, and intricate sweet truffles in the Chocolate Room.

275 Hwy. 128, Geyserville. 707-723-5999,

How We Picked

Sonoma’s dining editor Heather Irwin and food writer Carey Sweet sorted through recommendations from staff and colleagues, then put their heads together in an hours-long meetup to land at this cohort of favorites. Irwin and Sweet each dine out several nights a week over the course of the year to cover the breadth of Sonoma’s restaurant scene, and they pay their own way for reviews. To reach them, email