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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fancy contemporary joint on the Petaluma Riverfront; lots of your typical upscale choices. They really emphasize their ties with art, and it's pretty evident in food presentation.
Favorite Dish: anything with pt. reyes blue cheese
This is a great deli in the northern edge of Petaluma. It is conveniently located for one going to that area or headed north out of Petaluma. The food is great, with great sandwiches, salads, etc. They have cold, hot, and pressed "panini" sandhwiches.
Favorite Dish: Various things are great.
Tolay ~ formerly called the Jellyfish Grille ~ is located on the main floor of the Sheraton Petaluma Hotel at the marina. While the view of the swimming pool and freeway is less than exciting, the accents and furnishings are very attractive. Walking into the restaurant you pass an elegant curving glass staircase leading to the upper floor. The dining area has an Asian influence with water features and interesting metal serving pitchers. The lunch menu was enticing ~ items are prepared with local and organic ingredients. We found the wait staff to be very attentive and friendly. While we did arrive in jeans ~ I would recommend something a little nicer since most of the clientele wore business attire. The food was nicely presented and quite good. After lunch we stopped by the hotel desk to ask directions. The desk clerk was extremely helpful and offered complimentary use of the business center to check our email. Tolay is a classy place.
Favorite Dish: My friend and I ordered clam chowder and a veggie burger to split. The veggie burger was good ~ it came with fries. The clam chowder was GREAT!!! Some of the best I've had.