Great Sonoma Valley Restaurants

I've been eating out a lot more of late and mainly here in my neck of the woods: Sonoma Valley. With that in mind and with thoughts of travelers coming to Sonoma Valley, here's a list of my 10 favorite Sonoma Valley restaurants

The Girl & The Fig
Sandra Bernstein's The Girl & The Fig is on the verge of becoming an institution in Sonoma Valley. I've never had a bad meal there. We are talking classic California cuisine with fresh ingredients with an emphasis on savory meals. The bar is one of my favorites in town. The Manhattans are outstanding, they have a nice selection of pastis and it attracts and convivial combination of travelers and locals.

Rins Thai
It's all about the "Puffies" and "The Ribs" at this good looking Thai restaurant just off the Plaza in Sonoma. I have to force myself to stray away from these items, which is why I tend to lunch here on business—it gives me the chance to share other dishes. Very friendly, comfortable, lovely Thai Cuisine.

Again, right off the Sonoma Plaza, Meritage is something of a gathering place for locals who want great food. Chef Carlo Cavolo brings on the oysters of all types, sets a friendly tone and serves up eclectic renditions of mainstream California/Italian plates. The bar is outstanding.

This tiny little hole in the wall in Glen Ellen fabulously romantic. Probably no more than 10 tables in what was a little shack on the edge of town that has been gussied up. The lights are low, the candles lit and the tiny kitchen is just behind that wall. The fare, again fresh Californian, is always very good. Bring a date.

Schelllville Grill
This is all locals and they all seem to be blue collar, grizzled and friendly as hell. The plates are big with things like steak and eggs, country fried chicken, great burgers, barbecue. It's a Sunday morning kind of place to go if you want to be called honey and dig in.

Cafe La Haye
Many call Cafe La Haye the best restaurant in Sonoma and if it isn't it's darn close. The small menu is executed in spectacular fashion. I've never had an average meal. Quail, fois gras, and such tend to end up on the menu. Try to get a seat on the upper level on the edge. It's a good people watching venue. But there are not that many folks to watch as it's pretty small. Excellent wine list.

BlueGrass Bar & Grill
This barbecue house came to town about a year ago and Glen Ellen needed it. It seems somewhat pricey for a barbecue place but the sliders are outstanding, the fries crunchy, and the barbecue is drier than it is wet and very appetizing. It's set inside the old grist mill a little complex on the edge of Glen Ellen where you will also find a Cheesemonger, a chocolate maker, a deli, and an Indian restaurant.

The Fig Cafe
This is the little sister of the Girl and the Fig. Located in central Glen Ellen in the building that its older sibling began its existence. This place is always packed, the menu looks like the Girl and the fig and it's a great place to go if you a happy, fun atmosphere where you can get a little louder, people watch, observe the kitchen and eat great food.

Kenwood Restaurant
Located in a lovely little white ranch-style building between Kenwood and Glen Ellen, the Kenwood Restaurant is among the priciest and most popular restaurants on this list. Its also probably the largest with a great outdoor seating area for the summer and fall months. Myself, I like the bar. The drinks are usually outstanding, you are bound to see local vintners coming in so there's always someone to talk to and if you get hungry the food is spot on.

Garden Court Cafe

Located in Glen Ellen across from the Fig Cafe and from Saffron, this is my favorite breakfast spot in the Valley. Great Eggs Benedict, they always scramble my eggs softly when I request it, the owners are very nice to me, the orange juice is fresh, the food is perfect. There is almost always a wait during peak weekend hours, so be prepared to wait 15 minutes or so.

10 Responses

  1. Joe - January 13, 2009

    Go to the Glen Ellen Inn! It’s Fantastic!

  2. Dylan - January 13, 2009

    Thanks for all the spots. I’m a big fan of barbecue, so next time I’m in the area I’ll have to investigate BlueGrass Bar and Schellville Grill.

  3. David McDuff - January 14, 2009

    Hey Tom,
    Thanks for the dining list. It’ll come in handy then next time I’m in the Sonoma area. On the last trip, I had a fine meal at The Girl & The Fig, where I dug the Rhone Ranger-centric wine list. Our most memorable meal, though, was at The Farmhouse Inn — — in Forestville.

  4. Tim Price - January 14, 2009

    What?! You left off the Boonfly?

  5. Michael Wangbickler - January 14, 2009

    I’d also add El Dorado Kitchen to this list. It is some of the best food in town.

  6. austin - January 15, 2009

    These are all fantastic establishments,especially Girl and the Fig. I’d recomend you also check out Harvest Moon as well, right there in the square as well. Jen and Nick Demarest create warm, heartfelt dishes all in a super comfy enviornment. Cheers!

  7. frannie - January 21, 2009

    Here are some more I came across while planning a trip:

  8. Tracy Hall - January 22, 2009

    Great List, I’d have to add The Red Grape. It’s just off the square in Sonoma. Family friendly too. A week doesn’t go by that I’m not in there.

  9. Sarah - March 19, 2009

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

  10. Las Vegas Hotel - November 1, 2009

    Great List, I’d have to add The Red Grape also. everytime i come to the city after i book at ticket via easy click travel i go there asasp!

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