Best Restaurants & Places to Eat Sonoma | Local Wally's Sonoma Tourist Guide
From cheap eats to 5 star dining, Trust Local Wally to find the BEST Places to Eat in Sonoma. No bad meals on vacation if you eat where the locals do. The honest Sonoma Restaurant Guide.
BEST RESTAURANTS AND PLACES TO EAT IN SONOMA, GLEN ELLEN AND KENWOOD
The Honest Sonoma Restaurant Guide... From the Sonoma Plaza to Glen Ellen and Kenwood
There's nothing more disappointing than sitting down to what some online review site promised to be a great meal only to be served mediocre food. Maybe I'm guilty of being a bit of a foodie but I like every meal to be worthy of an instagram post when I go out. I took this philosophy to heart when I wrote my Sonoma Dining Guide - I only list the places that I love, the places I go back to again and again and recommend to my friends.
I've also made it easy for you to get to the info you want - click the photo to go to the restaurant's website, click the address to get to googlemaps, and click the phone number to call. Now go eat - it's going to be delicious.
PRICE GUIDE: AVERAGE ENTREE
$ = $10's | $$ = $20's | $$$ = $30's | $$$$ = $40's
Don't Forget Your Wine Pass
I know, I sound like you Mom telling you to change your underwear but you come to Sonoma without a Priority Wine Pass don't blame me if your wallet is screaming at you by the end of the trip. That's because spending $15 to $25 per person at every stop is for the birds. Instead get the popular Priority Wine Pass and get VIP 2 for 1 tastings - half off - at some of Sonoma's best wineries. Plus I have special offers with the Wine Pass for my readers that no one else gets. So get the pass, just $39.99 per couple, and save at every winery stop.
Discover the Best Restaurants and Places to Eat in Sonoma
Cafe La Haye
Tiny bistro setting with a dozen or so tables, expect modern American fare with the freshest ingredients, an eclectic menu with everything from chicken to quail, seafood to steaks. Upscale cooking, not your Mom's recipes.
What's Good: The glazed pork chop is a standout and the butterscotch pudding with whipped cream and candy bits will have you forgetting your manners and licking the bowl. $$$
Romantic dining, a beautiful outdoor patio, this is the place on a great Summer evening when you want authentic Italian dining under the stars. Slow romantic dining, service can be slow at Della Santina's but who cares? You in a rush?
What's Good: The Cena for two or more people, you get an antipasta plate, a pasta, roasted meats, and then dessert. Don't miss the gnocchi and anytime they have the wild boar that's your decision. $$$
The Depot Hotel Restaurant isn't your typical "hotel" eatery but rather a foodie friendly destination run by a worldly chef with credentials from The French Laudry, Redd, and El Dorado Kitchen, all winners. Fresh, inventive, menu changes daily.
What's Good: Lots of good options at fairly affordable prices like the Penne Pasta with langostinos, clams and mussels ($18) or the fabuouls 12 oz ribeye for less than $30. Surprisingly affordable wines. $$
El Dorado Kitchen
Hotel restaurant serving creative upscale American food in a sophisticated setting, El Dorado Kitchen pleases both tourists and locals. Sit under the fig tree in back or next to the fireplace in the lobby seating area. Private dining room for large parties, popular with wedding & corporate groups.
What's Good: Burger and fish tacos under $20 for lunch, dinner kicks it up a notch or two with Seafood Paella or a NY Steak for around $30. $$$
El Molino Central
You might want to drive past this roadside taco shop but don't if you want authentic Mexican food, everything fresh and homemade - notice the farm workers and local lining up? Nothing fancy, dine on a picnic table next to the parking lot. Not as cheap as you might think though worth it. $
What's Good: The beef in the tacos comes from Niman Ranch as does the pork in the tamales, two of my favorites, though the ahi poke tostada is perfect summer fare.
Farm at Carneros Inn
At the southern tip of Sonoma on the road leading back to Napa is Farm at Carnero's Inn, a high end dining experience with white tablecloths combined with casual elegance. Creative craft cocktails, farm to table fresh ingredients, stunningly beautiful plating and extravagance.
What's Good: 5 course tasting menu with wine pairings for under $200, or go a la carte where entrees hover around the $35 mark. Brunch for $45 per person. $$$$
This funky dive is so authentic that even Guy Fieri missed it, a hipster sort of funked up diner serving foodie quality comfort food for reasonable prices. Picnic table diner dive joint, beer, wine, and milk shakes. Open 8am to 9pm Th-Sun, closes at 3 on other days.
What's Good: Spicy fried chicken with a side of cracklin's and a salted caramel milk shake. Save room for some homemade pecan pie. $
The Girl & the Fig
The girl & the fig is Sonoma's signature restaurant, a casual yet elegant French bistro with local friendly bar and summer perfect outdoor patio. Food is a fresh California French mash up. If you only can have one meal in Sonoma make it here and you won't be disappointed.
What's Good: The fixed 3 course meal with wine pairings for around $50 is an excellent choice for those who hate making decisions. $$$
Harvest Moon Cafe
Owned and operated by a husband a wife team with impressive credentials from Chez Panisse and La Toque, it's like eating in the backyard of your cool friends house. Expect impressive food in a relaxed garden setting at Harvest Moon Cafe, sit outside for the best experience.
What's Good: The menu changes daily depending on what's fresh and available from local farms so just go with the flow as everything here is delicious. $$
Down an alley off the main square is a beautifully rustic eatery serving up contemporary takes on traditional Portuguese food. Seafood, braised meats, lots of garlic, it's all so good. A locals favorite and hidden gem, it's an adventurous dining experience.
What's Good: Arroz de Camarao rocks the house, basically a Portuguese version of Paella or the Portuguese Fisherman's Stew with sea bass, scallops, clams, mussels and shrimp, excellent. $$
The Red Grape
Ultra casual yet modern setting (sort of like a California Pizza Kitchen restaurant) serving up thin crust pizzas with unusual toppings. When all you want is good food in a non-fussy setting, come to The Red Grape. Not fancy at all, but not a pizza joint dive, either.
What's Good: Get a table on their lovely patio in back and start with truffled onion rings, giant rings of earthy deliciousness. Gourmet pizzas all excellent, do half with white sauce and the other with red. $
Vegetarians beware! Saddles is a high end steakhouse featuring top cuts of meats and a large selection of martinis. Great ambiance for a fancy dinner, a Ruth's Chris caliber restaurant. Winner of various "best beef" awards, steak lovers will not be disappointed.
What's Good: Awesome 32 oz bone-in rib eye big enough to share. Steaks are a la carte but you can turn it into a complete meal with potatoes, veggies, mushrooms and sauce for just $7 more. $$$$
The Best Places to Eat in Glen Ellen and Kenwood (North Sonoma Area)
Aventine Glen Ellen
Higher end Italian cuisine served in a rustic setting along Sonoma Creek. If weather permits get a table on the casual patio. Pizzas and pastas reasonably priced, meats and seafood around $30, it's the "fanciest" place in Glen Ellen, a great bar to hang out at, casual setting with upscale food.
What's Good: Get a gourmet pizza for budget dining in a nice setting but the steak special with a side of mushrooms is hard to beat. $$$
Cute neighborhood restaurant with typical Italian fare - pizzas, pasta, roast chicken. Pick your pasta, pick your sauce, the food might not win a Michelin star but it's won't disappoint after wine tasting all day. Ultra casual, nice patio, come here when you want simple, inexpensive Italian cuisine.
What's Good: Pick up your sandwiches for your winery picnic here. Very good roasted chicken, kick up your picnic a notch and get it "to go". $
Sonoma's popular girl& the fig restaurant opens a more casual cafe in Glen Ellen with similar food if lacking a bit of the charm. Still, the food is stellar and the complimentary corkage fee makes this a good pick for casual yet refined dining. A local favorite.
What's Good: Plats du jour, the $29 fixed 3 course dinner, should be on your short list. Other standouts include duck confit and steak and frites with blue cheese butter. $$
Glen Ellen Star
A true foodie destination, Glen Ellen Star is a tiny little eatery where everything is cooked in a real wood fired oven. Sit at the bar to watch the chefs pound out the food like it's a Top Chef competition. Chef credentials from The French Laundry, it's got to be the best restaurant in Sonoma.
What's Good: Don't miss the brussel sprouts with brown sugar bacon marmalade to go with your whole roasted fish. Save room for homemade ice cream served with a wooden spoon. $$$
St Francis Winery
OK, so it's not really a restaurant but the St Francis Winerie's Food & Wine Pairing is nearly a full meal, served Thurs-Mon at 11, 1 and 3. Reservations required, it's a seated tasting and dining experience with exceptional food, one of the best wine & food pairing experiences anywhere.
What's Good: It's all good, expect 5 or so small plates brought to you with expertly paired wines to compliment. Salmon, pork collar, duck breast, even dessert, sit back and enjoy. $$$$$ (includes wine)
Nepalese-Indian cuisine in a casual neighborhood restaurant. Located in Jack London Village on the Sonoma Creek, the outdoor dining area is peaceful and the interior rustically charming. Authentic Tandoori Oven sets the tone for this authentic eatery.
What's Good: Try the momo's, a bit like Indian dim sum dumplings, then go straight to the sizzling tandoori platters with prawns, lamb boti kebab, fish and chicken tikka. $$