Petaluma Restaurants

  • Restaurants
    by blueskyjohn
  • Restaurants
    by blueskyjohn
  • Restaurants
    by blueskyjohn

Best Rated Restaurants in Petaluma

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    Sea Modern Thai Cuisine: Great, Innovative Thai Cuisine

    by WulfstanTraveller Written Feb 1, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is a wonderful, innovative "modern" interpretation of Thai cuisine. It is used to be an old corner market where we used to go get candy and slushies when I was a kid. The basic structure is the same but is has been changed a lot and lacks the creaky off-kilter feel of the past. Anyway, it is very nice, chic, and delicious.

    The owners also have a slightly more upscale, bigger sister restaurant in Montgomery Village in Santa Rosa to go to if you're in Santa Rosa. See my Santa Rosa page.

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    McNear's Saloon & Dining House: Good Pub/Family Dining

    by WulfstanTraveller Updated Sep 24, 2007

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is a pretty good place to go for pub-style food and can be a great place to take kids since it has a large, varied children's menu and distractions for kids such as video games upstairs, plus the place is large with plenty of room. It has lots of standard American saloon-style food, plus some more British pub food like Shephard's Pie and the menu is very large. The food isn't great or different by any means, but it is relaible and generally good. It also has cocktails a a good amount of beer and cider on tap, including both apple and pear cider as well as Guinness (unfortunately draught, not extra stout), and a variety of domestic and imported beers (unfortunately, I do find the beer selection to be a little lacking, still and it is fairly standard).

    The place also has a neat atmosphere being in a building constructed in 1886, with creaky wood floors, etc., and it's right in the heart of downtown Petaluma, with patio seating on the sidewalk.

    Favorite Dish: They have good hamburgers, large stuffed baked potato, etc. They also have pretty good salads, but for those salads with crumbled blue cheese, I recommend getting the cheese on the side unless you REALLY love blue cheese since they really pile it on (a common issue with pub-type places, it seems to me).

    McNear's, Downtown Petaluma
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    Old Chicago Pizza: Deep Dish Pizza

    by WulfstanTraveller Updated Oct 13, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is a good place for rich, cheesy deep-dish pizza. It has great ambience with bare brick walls and creaking wood floors on the second story of one of Petaluma's many old buildings and the pizza is good. When I'm in the mood for this type of pizza, this is the place to which I go. However, it's not the kind of pizza I can eat very often.

    Be warned, though: sometimes the wait can be a bit long at night, although not as much as it was in the early 80's.

    As an extra note, suposedly the building used to be a brothel with an extra door upstairs leading to the next-door hotel which used to be where the adjacent empty lot currently is.

    Favorite Dish: Pizza. Otherwise, choices are limited.

    Old Chicago Pizza, Downtown Petaluma
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    Thai Issan: Pretty Good Thai Place with Cocktail Lounge

    by WulfstanTraveller Updated Dec 2, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is a long-standing Thai place downtown. It's pretty good but it's not great and is fairly standard for American Thai placees. There are two other, much better, Thai restaurants in the vicinity (see my tips on those), but this place will do fine, especially if one just wants the usual stuff. The food is standard and can be a bit one-dimensional, but it's still done pretty well overall and the location and place itself are good. Service can sometimes be a bit slow. It has a full bar and becomes more of a lounge and dancing place later at night, a fairly recent development after some remodelling and change in the restaurant's direction. Some people seem to think it's great, but I haven't experienced it.

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    Tres Hombres: Great "Gourmet" Mexican-Latin American Food

    by WulfstanTraveller Written May 26, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    When I eat Mexcian food, I usually stick to simple taquerias, which I find are not only cheap but usually have the best food. However, I do appreciate all kinds of cooking and more "up-scale" Mexican food can be great, too. Tres Hombres is one place that in fact does a great job, with a nice range of Mexican, or variations on Mexican-influenced dishes, plus a few dishes rooted elsewhere in Latin America like Argentina. The food we have had is excellent and the place is very nice. It has an attractive decor inside plus nice patio eating on the little square of the so-called "Theatre District" development downtown. It also has a good range of tequilas, plus cocktails, etc., plus a fairly good little beer range.

    Favorite Dish: The carnitas and snapper vera cruz are excellent.

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    Blu American Eatery: Great, Skilled Take on Comfort/Diner Food

    by WulfstanTraveller Written Dec 2, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is an upscale (but not too upscale) take on traditional American diner food. It has a slightly classier version of urban diner decor and the food is prepared carefully, thoughfully, with skill, and with slight twists on the traditional themes. They also have a pretty good, if small, beer selection.

    Thankfully, it doesn't suffer from the problems that helped kill off the old Center City Diner, a couple blocks away on Petaluma Blvd, some years ago. Although the idea is basically the same, Center City had a little less care and thought in the execution of the food yet was overly upscale in price and attitude.

    Some people have complained about the service, but in our experience the service is prompt and on the ball.

    It's also fairly kid-friendly, unless your kids, like mine, don't care much for "kid-friendly" food.

    Favorite Dish: The salads and the macaroni and cheese are great. The Chopped Blu salad is preapred very nicely with mixed vegetables as well as lettuce, everything is nicely chopped and evenly distributed, and there is just the right amount of dressing and bleu cheese, which are not heaped on with an overly heavy hand.

    On Tuesdays, they also have specials on burgers with beer or milkshakes.

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    Sugo: Great Italian-Influenced Cuisine

    by WulfstanTraveller Written Jan 24, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is a wonderful restaurant that opened in the old mission-revival auto shop on Petaluma Blvd S. near B Street that was recently renovated into retail places.

    Favorite Dish: Everything we have had is excellent. The salads are lightly seasoned but very tasty and fresh. The risotto here is particularly excellent. I have long stopped eating risotto because it is so often made very clumsily, being overly heavy, creamy, salty, etc. Sugo, however, seems to get it just right, and the risotto has been light yet very tasty.

    Sugo, Downtown Petaluma

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    Dempsey's: Great Brewpub

    by WulfstanTraveller Updated Dec 2, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Dempsey's is the local Petaluma brewpub and it has been here since 1991. It's right across the river from downtown proper, in the Golden Eagle shopping centre. However, since it's right on the river and there is a pedestrian bridge across the river from Water St. near the foot of Western Ave. right to Dempsey's, it's essentially downtown.

    The place is nice, lively, and has great food, certainly better and more varied than the norm for brewpubs.

    The beer is the weaker link here, actually. It's standard, there's a limited range, and it's fairly basic and one-dimesional beer but it is still basically good.

    Favorite Dish: The braised pork shoulder with squash and greens is very nice, as are the fried onions with chipotle ketchup, a welcome change from the usual glorified mayonnaise or ranch dressing that most places have.

    Dempsey's Brewpub, Petaluma
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    Banyan Tree: Great Thai Food

    by WulfstanTraveller Written Aug 14, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is a great, fairly new Thai place that is a bit different from the normal ones. There is some nice variety in the dishes and the cooking is always very good and fresh. The decor is nice, but it is very dark inside (I remember that for many years this was a Chinese place and although the interior now looks very different, that place was dark inside, too, during the day).

    It is, however, in the ugly old Golden Eagle Shopping Center which for years was declining and looked like it would go but has picked up recently.

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    So many excellent restaurants...

    by twings Written Oct 4, 2002

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    So many excellent restaurants Giacamo's is always tops though.
    Combination of an intimate setting, but not so stuffy that you feel like you need to dress in your absolute best. And the food is magnificent!

    Favorite Dish: It's been a while, but I love the veal parmasean....and yes, I hate myself for liking veal.

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    Star of India: Pretty Good Indian Restaurant

    by WulfstanTraveller Written Jul 23, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is a pretty good Indian place, decent and pretty standard, but pretty solid and enjoyable. The people are pretty friendly but the atmosphere is pretty basic and the location, in an ugly shopping centre on the generally cookie-cutter, drab east side, leaves a lot to be desired. If you're visiting town, there is little reason to come to this part of town except to go to the drug store or to pass through, or if you really need to have Indian food.

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    Semolina: Decent, But Not Great, Italian Food

    by WulfstanTraveller Written Feb 5, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Semolina is a pretty good, but not great, Italian restaurant located in a converted old A&W. The food is standard American Italian food and is overall good, but hardly great. It is pretty reliable and tasty, and not too expensive, but the food lacks finesse, true care, or any real spark and there is a general lack of professionalsim here.

    It is certainly better than many places, and far superior to the chain garbage one finds in, say, most of the Central Valley or typical suburban housing developments anywhere, but in this area there are many much better Italian restaurants.

    That said, it's probably a pretty good place to take kids without too much trouble and still get decent Italian food.

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    Lala's Creaamery: Ice Cream Parlour

    by WulfstanTraveller Written Nov 25, 2011

    This is a lovely, old-fashioned ice cream parlour that opened fairly recently, filling what was for a long time a major gap. I think every region needs at least one good, old-style ice cream parlour and Sonoma County has been sorely lacking in them since the mid-1990s at least.

    Anyway, this has a great location in the heart of downtown Petaluma on Petaluma Blvd near Western Ave, and it looks great, with a lovely, old-fashioned decor that both fits rights in with the downtown and also looks the part of an old ice-cream parlour.

    However, the quality of what one gets is, though decent, not that great. The ice cream tends to be a bit bland and it all has the same, somewhat icy texture that I don't find all that great. Service is decent generally friendly, but not very skilled from my experiences. On the other hand, it is a local place with home-made ice cream, the place is wonderful and charming, some of the flavours are good, and it is better than mass-produced chain stuff.

    Lala's Creamery Lala's Creamery
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    Topsey's Kitchen: Average food and small portion

    by blueskyjohn Updated Jul 21, 2015

    I stopped in to Topsey's for lunch one afternoon. It is definitely a nice looking place with outdoor patio seating on the side of the building. There is also adequate seating inside. At the back of the restaurant is a counter with a glass case. Here they have bakery items and desserts. Some looked very tasty.

    I ordered the pulled pork bbq sandwich. It came with chips and a slaw that is usually on top but I requested to have it on the side. In the photo the sandwich looks big but it really wasn't. I left still feeling a little hungry. Many places in this area for lunch so I would likely try another place.

    Hours:
    Monday Closed
    Tuesday 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
    Wednesday 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
    Thursday 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
    Friday 10:00 am – 2:00 pm, 5:30 – 8:00 pm
    Saturday 8:00 am – 2:00 pm, 5:30 – 8:00 pm
    Sunday 8:00 am – 2:00 pm

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    Fruit in Motion: A not-so-great version of my favorite

    by blueskyjohn Updated Jul 21, 2015

    This is a large shop for a juice bar. They do sell some food like bagels but that is it. It is all about the juice and smoothies. One of my all time favorite things to drink is a chocolate and banana smoothie. Juice in Motion has a huge menu. So big that, two of the wait staff kept recommending a chocolate, banana and peanut butter smoothie and just leave out the peanut butter but they had a chocolate and banana smoothie. I had to point that out to them. They were surprised!

    The smoothie was ready fast. Maybe too fast because after I left and started drinking, it wasn't smooth like a smoothies. There was still small chunks of banana that didn't get blended. Oh well, it was still chocolate. I would give them another chance.

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