Did you hear the one about California lifting its face mask mandate just in time for Sonoma County Restaurant Week (Feb. 21-27)? True story! A week-long celebration of Sonoma County’s unmatched culinary landscape, the annual event encourages diners to explore some of the region’s finest epicurean establishments at pocketbook-friendly prices ($10, $15, $25 for lunch; $25, $35, $55 for dinner; $5 for sweet perks/desserts).
Now is a great time to try that schnitzel spot you’ve been eyeing, give in to your concha craving and show your support for Sonoma County’s vital hospitality industry, which has been hit hard by the pandemic.
With almost 80 local restaurants participating, there are a lot of choices for both casual and high-end dining. To help you narrow it down, here we list our top 10 picks for Restaurant Week.
Blue Ridge Kitchen ($25 lunch, $55 dinner): Blue Ridge Kitchen is Chef Matt D’Ambrosi’s gift to Sebastopol’s The Barlow, where his Southern-inspired fare comingles with California cuisines. For Restaurant Week, a two-course lunch will feature burrata with blueberry compote and smoked paprika oil, followed by a fresh take on shrimp Louie salad. The three-course dinner will include smoked tomato soup, wood-grilled mahi-mahi with grilled artichokes and lavender panna cotta. 6770 McKinley St., No. 150, Sebastopol, 707-222-5040, brkitchen.com
Canneti Roadhouse Italiana ($25 lunch, $35 dinner): Raised in Massa, Italy, Chef Francesco Torre highlights local, sustainable ingredients on his Tuscan-inspired menu. Choose from three courses for dinner, like crispy-skin young rooster atop fresh corkscrew pasta or Tuscan pork shoulder preserved in olive oil. Or venture out for a lighter two-course lunch of sugar pea soup with ricotta or a pork sausage sandwich on house-baked rosemary focaccia. 6675 Front St., Forestville, 707-887-2232, cannetirestaurant.com
Kivelstadt Cellars & Winegarten ($25 lunch): A two-course wine-paired lunch will be on offer at Kivelstadt Cellars & Winegarten in Sonoma where housemade wines on tap and growlers to-go challenge the traditional tasting room model. Sit beneath the sycamore trees for a salad starter paired with Kivelstadt Family Secret Sauvignon Blanc, followed by buttermilk-brined and smoked Cornish game hen and Sibling Rivalry Estate Pinot Noir. Bonus: Dogs are welcome. 22900 Broadway, Sonoma, 707-938-7001, kivelstadtcellars.com
Sausage Emporium ($15 lunch/dinner, $5 sweet perk): The origin of the Scotch egg is highly disputed in Britain, where the venerable London department store Fortnum & Mason claims to have invented it in 1738 as a traveler’s snack. Nearly 300 years later, the iconic British sausage-wrapped egg can be sampled at Sausage Emporium, where a pasture-raised egg is enveloped in heritage pork and coated in a crispy crust. For $15, you can try this historic treat with housemade pickles and french fries. Still hungry? Grab a colossal cookie and house-label coffee for a sweet $5. 31 E. Napa St., Sonoma, 707-934-8814, sausage-emporium.com
Seared ($55 dinner): Steak and seafood are in the spotlight at this popular Petaluma steakhouse where you’ll find a variety of options on the three-course Restaurant Week menu. First course choices include smoked butternut squash bisque or ahi crudo, followed by a Wagyu flat-iron steak with coconut curry mash, wild gulf prawns with local grits and smoked Andouille sausage, or zinfandel-braised short ribs. And then there’s dessert! A gorgeous smattering of cocktails are also available, along with local wine and beers. 170 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma, 707-762-5997, petalumaseared.com
Tía María Panaderia y Pasteleria ($5 sweet perk): Opened in 2019 by Will Seppi of Costeaux Bakery, Tía María is a vibrant panaderia y pasteleria (bakery and cake shop) on the eastern edge of Roseland in Santa Rosa, where customers flock to buy traditional Mexican sweet breads (pan dulce), sandwiches and Euro/American desserts. What truly steals the show, however, are the conchas, a butter-and-sugar-enriched roll capped with a colorful cookie-like crust. For $5, you can get a pastry of your choice with a cup of Bella Rosa coffee. 44 Sebastopol Ave., 707-540-9864, tiamaria.world
Underwood Bar & Bistro ($55 dinner) A delicious jewel in the petite town of Graton, Underwood rarely disappoints with its robust cocktail list, bistro- (and Thai-) inspired fare and, dare I say, fantastic frites. On the three-course Restaurant Week menu, you’ll find these frites saddled up to a steak, along with a soup or salad starter and additional main courses of fish or baby back ribs. For dessert, expect a warm chocolate torte or mascarpone cheesecake. 9113 Graton Road, Graton, 707-823-7023, underwoodgraton.com
Valette ($55 dinner): Healdsburg natives Chef Dustin Valette and his brother, Aaron Garzini, continue to impress at this beloved restaurant, where Sonoma County cuisine truly comes into its own. Local farmers, ranchers and purveyors showcase their best wares here, which become even more ethereal under the magic hands of Valette and his team. For Restaurant Week, expect four courses to knock your socks off, including a honey-brined pork porterhouse or charred Japanese eggplant falafel. 344 Center St., Healdsburg, 707-473-0946, valettehealdsburg.com
Warike Restobar ($25 lunch, $35 dinner): Warike Restobar opened its doors in fall 2021 and is Santa Rosa’s newest foray into Peruvian cuisine. Sister restaurant to Ayawaska in Petaluma, Warike shares its sibling’s focus on Peruvian food with a modern twist, along with stellar specialty cocktails and pisco sours. For Restaurant Week, try the two-course soup and sandwich or opt for the three-course dinner and choose from Peruvian paella, linguine with Peruvian style pesto, flat tenderloin steak and more. 527 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, 707-536-9201, warikesf.com
Wit & Wisdom ($55 dinner): Wit & Wisdom is Chef Michael Mina’s first restaurant destination in Sonoma Wine Country, and we are oh so glad he’s here. The $55 Chef Tasting Menu is sure to delight with starters including king crab and endive Caesar salad with caper aioli and main dishes like seared ahi tuna with butternut squash caponata and tangerine citronette pistacchio. All table guests must participate in the tasting menu (poor you). 1325 Broadway, Sonoma, 707-931-3405, witandwisdomsonoma.com
Respect the rules. Restaurants can still enforce their own mask and vaccination rules. Check their protocols before you go.
Be patient. Restaurants are experiencing worker shortages and need extra time to sanitize surfaces. Budget more time for your meal.
Make a reservation. You don’t need tickets for Restaurant Week, but reservations are recommended. Reservations also help restaurants give you the time, safety and attention you deserve.
Order delivery. Still wary about dining out? Order delivery or takeout. Some restaurants are offering their Restaurant Week specials to-go.
Grab a glass. Join Master Sommelier Thomas Price for a virtual wine tasting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23. Visit socorestaurantweek.org to register for the event.
For more information: socorestaurantweek.org