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Your Picks: Top 25 SoCo Restaurants 2010

Vote for your favorite restaurants in Sonoma County in 2010

There are hundreds of restaurants in Sonoma County, but only 25 that can be named each year to BiteClub’s Top 25 Restaurants of Sonoma County.
Last year, I asked for your top picks for Sonoma County’s favorite restaurants. And in the end, there were more than 22,000 votes. The biggest vote-getter? “Other” — meaning many of you have a soft spot in your heart for some of the less-usual suspects on the list. This year, I’m asking for your opinions again (although the final picks for BiteClub’s Top 25 will be mine). I love to find out what restaurants you love, who can rally the most votes (yes, I know there are some who rally) and who we’ve forgotten.
I’ve started a list of restaurants that are among my favorite “destination-worthy” spots. It doesn’t necessarily include my favorite burger joints, pizzerias or hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese eateries, no matter how much I love them.  Instead, these are restaurants that really define Sonoma County’s culinary scene: A combination of a great chef/kitchen, service, food and ambiance.
So, if you’re inclined to add a restaurant (and no doubt I’ve forgotten some good ones) please keep in mind that they should capture the essence of SoCo’s culinary sensibilities. Think about the kinds of restaurants you’d send someone from out of town that really showcases what we’re all about.

Vote for as many as you’d like, but you’ll only be able to vote once per day. Rally your friends to vote as well. The results will be posted in early December.

[polldaddy poll=”4056180″]
(PS: The list will change order each time you reload the page, so no one gets an “unfair advantage”. I’m not a programmer, so yes, there are probably ways to cheat the poll, but I have set it to recognize cookies, you can vote once per day. Other than that, this isn’t a scientific poll, so don’t get your panties in a wad. Just have fun.)

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62 thoughts on “Your Picks: Top 25 SoCo Restaurants 2010

  1. It’s morning, I’ve just turned on my computer and went to vote for Riviera, when once again it says “Thank-you, we have already counted your vote. No, not possible! This has happenned at least a dozen times. Why am I being cheated out of most of my votes? Can you fix it, it hardly seems fair. I’m on a wifi with another pc user in the same home but they have another email address. Just hoping you can fix it, thanks
    Kathleen

  2. I have had terrible meals at Rosso and Diavola. But always great experiences
    at Ravenous in Healdsburgnd the Fig Cafe in Glen Ellen.

  3. I think Sea Thai shouldn’t be listed as one restaurant. I haven’t eaten at their Santa Rosa location but their Petaluma location is way too loud. Their food is some of the best but I don’t recommend them because I like to be able to hear the dinner conversation. The physical part of the restaurant should count towards its ranking and to have them together means that they will likely rank much higher than they would individually. I know it is too late to change the voting but maybe this should be considered for next year and could probably be considered for how this year’s poll turns out. If you were take them as only their SR or Petaluma location, would they even make the list? If not, it isn’t fair to the 26th vote getter that they get pushed off the list just because they only have one location and can’t combine votes from multiple locations. We are voting on single locations, not chains. Doesn’t John Ash have more than one restaurant? We only vote for them individually. I bet there are other restaurants on the list that are owned by the same people yet we vote for them individually. As far as Petaluma, if they push a Petaluma restaurant, like Cucino, Le Bistro, Central Market, or Sugo, it would be a shame since all of those have a better total dining experience than Sea. Risibisis…LOL…not so much. It is interesting to see that even with all their “best in Petaluma” rankings from Zagat, Michelin, where ever, the people that eat in Petaluma clearly don’t agree. They are great at marketing (don’t you pay to be on Zagat and Michelin?) but apparently (and I agree) their dining experience isn’t so great.

  4. I think that French Garden is by far the best. Local and fresh. Music in the Bistro and a really great Menu that is always changing with what is fresh on the farm to give you the best flavors.

  5. PLeaes add the French Garden in Sebastopol. Great food, bar, and entertainment.All veggies come from the owner’s bio-intensive farm.
    Thank You.

    1. Received the message below from the French Garden so suggest that you disregard votes for this restaurant. I also urge others who received similar messages for this restaurant or other restaurants to turn them in.
      There are hundreds of restaurants in Sonoma County but only 25 that can be named each year to Bite Club’s Top 25 Restaurants of Sonoma County.
      So please follow the link below to vote for French Garden Restaurant.
      Thank you

  6. Many great restaurants on this list, and some not so great. For my taste buds and money though, it is all about Scopa! Great food, impeccable service, and I always leave feeling like I got a great deal. Half the price of many of the others here, and the flavors are ALL there. Yum!

  7. Sante at the Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa is definitely in the top of all restaurants. It is the most amazing experience. The food is filled with so many amazing flavors, the presentation is impressive, and the service is outstanding. If you havent dined here, you must make a reservation immediately.

  8. Thai House has been under new ownership and the food is amazing! It’s fresh and unique. Those who haven’t been there a while should give it a try. Excellent Thai food!!

  9. I second whoever said Sushiko in Rohnert Park, I had never been there until tonight, maybe just because i had a bad taste left over from that Stix restaurant that was there before it. It was AMAZING. Im a culinary student, and every dinner I have is basically “oh this could of/ should of happened this way or that.” But we sat down, tied to order sake but they were out of both… got a little sad, then came our plates. Absolutely beautiful, there was a dragon, cut, and oragmi-ed out of a slice of carrot, and a frozen jade looking rock held my sashimi! My boyfriend ordered a… flaming tiger roll, expecting a spicy masterpiece after seeing mine, and then it came out, ON FIRE, it was quite the dinner, felt like I wasn’t in Rohnert Park for about 25 minutes. Lots of attention to detail, nice atmosphere, and absolutely great prices.

  10. The Union Hotel is amazing! We have been going there several times a year with our family for over 30 years. The owner is a sweetheart. We love the UH! The food is consistently good and the atmosphere is wonderful. We had out daughter’s wedding there. Everyone told us it was the best wedding they had ever been to.

  11. I am so glad that Viola Pastry Boutique was added to the list. I eat there very often and always really enjoy it. My favorite thing about the restaurant is their use of fresh, seasonal, local, organic ingredients…they really support the community of Sonoma County!

  12. Where is Ume’s Japanese Bistro in Windsor?!!!!! Best, freshest Sashimi and Sushi around. I’ve been totally spoiled by the quality of the food in this place. Great atmosphere and open 7 days a week.
    LOVE IT!!!!!!

  13. Union Hotel????? You must be joking. Their food, their service, everything about them has deteriorated through the years. Not to mention the rude owner.

    1. YUCKO – Can only speak of their location off of 12 & Mission, but the food was salty, cold, and downright gross. The staff was rude and obviously inexperienced. We gave this location 2 tries to get it right, and both times EPIC FAIL. Won’t be back!

  14. We take our out of town guests to Cafe Europe and have never been disapointed. They offer great food and service at a resonable price. They deserve to be in your top 25 list.

  15. Cafe Europe is an excellent choice for dining out, for lunch or dinner.
    The food is consistantly good and the menu always offers ‘fish of the day’ as well as a good selection of entrees.
    The restaurant is immaculate and the service is great.
    The prices are reasonable ……so…
    Cafe Europe more than qualifies for a listing of ‘the top twenty five’….

  16. Cafe Europe Restaurant has been in Santa Rosa for more then 18 Years and should be on your List.
    Authentic German/Austrian/European and Contiental Cusine at its best. Austrian Chef Robert is part owner and very consistance in test, quality & presentation.
    One of the very view places left where you stll get also Soup or Salad with your dinner. The service is great, so is the very reasonable wine list. If you dine Tue/Wed/Thu there is no corkage fee and a
    Three Course Dinner for $ 20.00. Jeff Cox rated it 3 stars. Not into European cusine? Try his Filet Mignon, Veal Rib Chop or Lamb Loin Chops or just have a lite dinner from a 10 choice salad menu.

    1. The thing about Cafe Europe is the food is GREAT and CONSISTANT. I have never had an ‘off’ meal there…always fresh, good, and the best ingredients.

      1. We’ve eaten at Cafe Europe for about as long as they have been in Santa Rosa.
        the food is always excellent, the atmosphere always friendly, and we eat there in a relaxed comfortable setting.
        foood al

  17. Della Fattoria Bakery and Cafe in Petaluma. Local folks, very very fresh produce off their farm, wonderful bread baked by them (for top restaurants too–see list above 😉 ), delish bear claws, croissants, etc., pies cakes etc. Breakfast and lunch most days inc Sat and Sun plus dinner on Fridays (see website for links http://www.dellafattoria.com/della.htm ) and in the summer dinners on the farm. How more SoCo can you get? Plus, the noisy, fun cafe itself where Kathy watches and chats with everybody who wants to. Did I mention the food???? wonderful sandwiches, salads, entrees, specials, cookies, Wonderful flavors and the best ingredients… Embodies Sonoma County

    1. PS Forgot the large menu of teas and the incredible coffee lattes Haven’t tried the chocolate yet but the lemonade is fresh etc

  18. What about Viola in Montgomery Village?? It should definitely be on this list. The food and pastries are amazing! And the service and ambiance are just as great!

  19. The Farmhouse Inn does not belong.
    I mean, am I the only one that recognizes the fake accents?
    The food is so-so and the service questionable, especially for such high prices.
    Sorry, too pretentious for me.

    1. Totally agree…gave this place a chance many times as a local. Got treated so rudely, we wrote a letter, and they responded with “tough, this is the way it is, so don’t come back if you don’t like it.” You got it, buddy. And I work at a winery too, so I also tell all the guests there to avoid it, too. Way to go.

  20. Heather…Pls include Don PEDROS Mexican Restaurant(Bright Yellow Bldg@ Corner Sebastopol and StonyPt. Rd across from Food Max where Pepes was…Jeff Cox raved over it…Killerr Salsas,Fresh ingreds,..Heads above Texanita and all the Taquerias in the County…Try “The Don Pedro” burrito…Biggest in World”…Excellent food even compared to non-Mex restaurants…Anglos and Hispanics love it…Gourmet Dinners 7 -8 bucks!…..

    1. Sigh. I love don pedros and all, but um, yeah. I wrote about it a long time ago. Really, we’re putting this up against Cyrus? Again, this isn’t your favorite restaurant. This is the TOP 25 restaurants.

  21. There are several duplicates – and you completely forgot Stormy’s in Bloomfield. In my humble opinion, the best steak in the county – whenever I don’t feel like cooking my own steak.

  22. Checkers in downtown Santa Rosa serves delicious, consistently-prepared food at a fraction of what you would pay for a meal at many of the restaurants on this list. The service is wonderful and they treat you like family. I CRAVE their tomato basil soup- especially this time of year. What’s not to love?

  23. Frankly, hardly any of these qualify–I’m personally sick and tired of food pomposity and will showcase to visiting friends places with good food at appropriate prices that doesn’t take itself more seriously than it deserves.
    Everything that can be done to resist the turning of Sonoma County into a playground for the idle rich is a good thing to do, and not blowing sunshine at places like Cyrus is one of them. I’d rather eat at at taco truck than encourage yet another snobby cult-of-food temple. It’s only a MEAL, people.

  24. I love Checkers, I always crave their butternut squash ravioli…yum.
    I love the casual rustic dining yet elegant setting and most especially their superb service at Rustic Francis Ford Coppola. I love their eggplant appetizer and their bread in a little white paper bag, always get seconds.
    The best Japanese restaurant in SoCo is… Sushi Hana in Sebastopol.
    And the best smoked salmon in the whole wide world is found at Santa Rosa Seafood. I stayed many years at the Pacific NW and found ‘the one’ right in SR.
    Oh BTW, nothing can beat the mouth watering Nelly’s bbq oysters and delish fish taco and Lata’s Indian samosas, tikka, and saag paner every Sat at the SR Vets Bldg.
    Just sayin’ !

  25. Bruno’s of Fourth (Santa Rosa)
    Sushi Tozai (Sebastopol)
    Sushiko (Rohnert Park)
    Cafe Citti (Kenwood)
    Viola (mongomery Village)

  26. Ca Bianca. They have yummy food and a great building and friendly staff. I send people there especially in the summer when you can have drinks & dinner on the GREAT porch or a bench in the garden

  27. Where would I take out of town guests theater really showcases what Sonoma County has to offer? Mateo Granados’ Tendejon de la Calle. I guess you can not include it as it is not a brick and mortar building. If you can look past that, I think he deserves to be on the list – he certainly fits the criteria. Every time I go I meet out of towners – and they are bowled over by the experience. Viva Tendejon de la Calle!!!

  28. I’m a huge Carneros fan, but why wasn’t the Swiss Hotel on the list? I have found memories sitting outside in the square drinking Fernet and eating all sorts of yummy things there.
    It’s a terrific hang out and the food is delicious.

    1. Okay, while I agree that many of the suggestions below are wonderful, keep in mind what we’re talking about…THE BEST 25 SONOMA COUNTY RESTAURANTS. Last year I included a huge list of restaurants and ultimately it diluted the list and made the whole thing really confusing for me to actually take seriously. The most popular vote was “other”…which really made the voting seem kind of silly. Continue to write in your choices.

  29. Hey Heather, I already voted, but then I forgot to add one of my favorite Japanese- Ume Bistro in Windsor. They really take good care of their customers! The food is always wonderful!
    Clare

  30. Doce Lunas is often overlooked in lists like yours. The food there is great. The owners are there in the restaurant and make sure that everything that comes out of the kitchen is very, very good.

  31. Heather, I really think Diavola should be on the list since you put Rosso on. I have never eaten at Rosso but have heard mixed reviews from others. I have NEVER had a bad meal at Diavola! Thanks for your wonderful info & insights!!!

  32. Heather, Why isn’t In-Out on the list? Betcha none of the places listed above are snarling traffic. LOL LOL Love Bite Club. You do a great job!

    1. LOL @ In’n’Out! That is SOOOO predictable and hilarious that all these fatties that just couldn’t live without a sodium+grease factory are now all whining and crying because they’re stuck in their cars. Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha Didn’t See That One Coming har har har!!!! Thanks so much for a great belly laugh….
      I make my own burgers by the way. They taste like BEEF, not salt and grease. Thanks everybody!

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