We enjoyed a pretty good breakfast here. Since we were staying at the Sonoma Creek Inn, this cafe is connected to it, very few steps to get to.
My boyfriend ordered the special omelet with habanero chicken sausage. He thought it was okay. I ordered the eggs benedict and I enjoyed it. The potatoes were good with a few peppers and onions cooked in. Coffee was good, too!
I've been driving past the Creekside Cafe for years but only recently got around to having breakfast there. Now I wish I'd made the effort before. It's a no-frills country cafe where the staff is friendly and the food is excellent. They use local produce and baked goods.
They also serve lunch. The cafe is small, so if you have a large group, it would be wise to call ahead.
Sit inside or on the covered patio by the front door.
Favorite Dish: I have had a spinach and mushroom omelette and homemade corned beef hash with poached eggs. The vegetables are fresh, the bread for the toast is baked at the Basque Boulangerie on the Plaza, and the orange juice is fresh squeezed. Delicious!
This warm and cozy cafe is about 8 miles outside Sonoma, in the tiny town of Glen Ellen. Owned by the popular Plaza restaurant, The Girl and the Fig, The Fig Cafe offers a similar menu: country French cooking and creative variations on familiar dishes. Their bouillabaisse, for instance, includes ling cod and baby mussels in the shell, their chicken is braised in a wine sauce and served with Brussels sprouts, and their bread pudding is made with figs.
I was impressed with the staff here. They were young but professional, handling the hungry crowd with diplomacy. Our waiter was especially informative and had an easygoing, courteous manner. He treated us as real people, not just as places at a table.
Be aware that no reservations are accepted at The Fig Cafe, so if you go at peak dinner hour, you can count on a 20-30 minute wait.
This is a good place for a "splurge" dinner, expensive but memorable.
Favorite Dish: The food here prompted me to eat far more than I normally do. I started with a fig salad with pecans and moved on to a risotto made with talreggio (a creamy Italian cheese) and pistachios. Since I finished only half of the risotto, I felt justified in ordering dessert: a brownie with vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce.
Their chef's chopped salad (lettuce, tomatoes, blue cheese, bacon) is delicious.
Their pot roast with mashed potatoes is just like Mom used to make - falling-apart tender..
They also offer a nice selection of California beers and wines. There is no corkage fee, so feel free to bring your own wine.
This is a nice restaurant. A bit loud but still an enjoyable experience. Very knowledgeable wait staff and attentive. Food was very good, served promptly and well presented. We had the grill pork chop and the duck confit. Both perfectly cooked. It is difficult to get a reservation here so if you know you will be in the area and want to try it, don't wait too long to make the reservations.
We would eat here again but would try other restaurants in Sonoma first.
Favorite Dish: There was a special soup that day, sweet potato. Very good but a small portion.
Are you feeling the need for some ballast after wine tasting? Sonoma's Best, located on a quiet country road about two miles from downtown Sonoma, can fix you right up.
This deli and specialty food shop isn't on the usual tourist path, but they sell knockout food, like pulled-pork sandwiches, chicken or pastrami paninis, eggplant rollantini, lasagna, soups, and a variety of salads, beer and sodas.
Either eat on the premises - there are a few tables in and outside the deli - or order your food "to go" and picnic in the Plaza.
Favorite Dish: I love their hot dogs, which are twice the size of the ones you get out of a package. Their Sonoma Dog comes on a fresh poppy seed roll and is topped with mustard, chopped onions, hot peppers, pickle relish, pepperoncini, and tomatoes - a filling meal for only $6.
If your only experience with Mexican food has been run-of-the-mill, Americanized tacos and burritos, you must come to Maya and try authentic Mexican regional cuisine from the Yucatan.
Their Mayan chef, Manuel, creates specialties like lime tortilla soup, poc chuc (sliced pork marinated in sour orange and spices, grilled over an oak fire, and topped with tropical salsa), and chicken enchiladas with red mole sauce (savory chocolate and chilis thickened with chopped sunflower seeds).
Maya's happy hour, 5:00-6:00, on weekdays, is very popular and lively. They make their margaritas from fresh ingredients, not a mix. Their pomegranate margaritas are lovely.
Caution: The acoustics in the restaurant are echo-y. It can sometimes be too noisy for conversation when you're seated next to a table full of people tossing back tequila shots.
Favorite Dish: The only dish I would not recommend is the taco salad, which is dull and out of sync with the rest of the menu.
My two favorite dishes are the cheese enchiladas with guacamole, and the cochinita pibil: pork slow-roasted in banana leaves until it's falling-apart tender, served with chopped onions and tomatoes.
i was getting hungry after spending the day visiting sites in Glen Ellen and Sonoma. A lot of the places in downtown Sonoma looked a little too formal or unappealing. I had read reviews of the Sunflower Cafe before so when I found that it appeared to be not to busy I went for it.
The place is interesting. The first thing that surprised me when i went in around 3;30 p.m. was that happy hour was in full swing. It appears that the management changed happy hour to mid afternoon to help them with slow time. A few folks were already hitting the vino. They offer $ 4 wines and $ 2 beers from 3 to 4 p.m. weekdays. Not sure about weekends.
The place does breakfast, lunch and dinner. You order from the counter and then they bring your food to you. Not too many places to sit but in mid afternoon it was no problem. I went for the roasted duck breast sandwich. It is one of their signature dishes. It was a bit pricey at $ 13.50 for a non sit down sandwich but it sounded good. I was not disappointed. It arrived on a baguette with carmaelized onions, goat cheese, duck breast, mustard with assorted greens. It tasty great. The duck itself tasted a little gamey but it was tender and good. I can now add a duck breast sandwich to my bucket list.
Sorry no pics. I didn't take my camera with me during lunch.
Favorite Dish: Roasted duck breast sandwich. Don't be fulled it tastes great even if it a bit pricey.
Most tourists see only the Mary's Pizza at Sonoma Plaza, but if you have the time, take a short drive to the original Mary's, about two miles away on Highway 12, in Boyes Hot Springs. That's where the local families hang out, and the atmosphere is more authentic: friendly, busy, and noisy. While you wait, you can watch pizza chefs toss big circles of dough into the air.
The late Mary Fazio started the restaurant out of her own kitchen in 1959, and today there are Mary's Pizza Shacks in 15 locations in Northern California. It is still a family operation; her children and grandchildren now run the business.
You'll find good, hearty food at affordable prices at Mary's. Besides pizza, you can order different kinds of pasta, salads, and sandwiches.
Favorite Dish: The menu is still based on Mary Fazio's recipes. It's like going to your Italian Nonna's for dinner, except, of course, that Nonna didn't present you with a bill at the end of the meal. Unless you made her mad.
I especially like the eggplant (aubergine) parmigiana and the He and She, two giant meatballs in marinara sauce. My husband likes the penne pasta with sausage. High school students -- big on appetite, low on money -- have been known to make a whole meal out of Mary's breadsticks and pizza sauce.
I enjoy their salads, too. I'm not a big fan of plain lettuce; I like the stuff that goes on top. At Mary's, you get all kinds of "stuff on top": hard-boiled egg, beets, shredded carrots, red kidney beans, and salami.
Mary's now offers gluten-free pizzas. A friend of mine who has celiac disease tried one and really liked it.
There are no hairy beasts at this warm and comfortable restaurant in Glen Ellen, only excellent Indian and Nepalese food. Friends of ours took us there (many thanks, Adam and Dawn!), and we have been back since then. The food is amazing, and the staff has been so nice to us.
Favorite Dish: I have had the chicken tikka masala, a mild curry dish with a savory sauce made of onions, tomatoes, ground almonds, and paprika (sooo good with steamed rice!), the fish curry, the chicken saag (with fresh spinach), and the garlic cilantro naan.
Order extra naan. It's so good that you'll be fighting each other for the last piece.
Saddles is essentially the renovated barn area of an historic country inn. It is now attached to MacArthur Place one of Sonoma's many inns and spas. It's not the least expensive place in town but for what you get the food is wonderful and prices not extremely over the top although expensive.
Favorite Dish: It would have to be the filet dishes. All four of us ordered the 6 oz filet and all four wanted it cooked very differently from very rare to very well done including inbetween. The resulting dishes were served all at the same time and done to perfection.
Side dishes are ordered individually and each was done extremely well something even very expensive restaurants find it hard to accomplish.
Amy's is tucked away in a corner of a small shopping center, five blocks west of Sonoma Plaza. There are a few tables inside and outside the restaurant, but most people come for the takeout.
If there's a line, no worries; it moves very quickly and is worth the wait. This may be Chinese fast food, but it's excellent, and a good bargain. A large, three-sectioned box -- either fried rice or chow mein, plus two other choces -- is only $6.95, and I manage to make two meals from that.
Don't neglect the tip jar by the cash register! Amy's employees work on their feet all day in a hot restaurant but still manage to be friendly and efficient.
Favorite Dish: I'm partial to the string bean chicken, but the broccoli beef and spicy eggplant are good, too. Their won ton soup is excellent.
La Salette is a charming little restaurant tucked away in a side alley mall just off the Sonoma Plaza. The food is excellent and Portugese based. A choice of appetizers will start your meal: any 3 for $15, 5 for $20, etc. There are lots to choose from, but if you are into it, they have some of the best blood sausage ever. His tripe appetizer is delicious, but so rich it needs to be split with friends.
Much of the food is cooked in a wood oven which provides ambiance and a lovely crunch to many of the dishes. Chef Manny does a great job with sardines, all types of Portugese stews and the traditional caldo verde. They even serve a delicious portugese fish and chips at lunch time.
There is a fine selection of wines with a large percentage of wines from Portugal. The staff is well versed in the menu and can answer any questions you might have.
My only complaint is that the menu rarely changes, nor does it offer regular changing specials. If you go there regularly, you are almost forced to have the same things again and again. Still, the food is excellent, unique and reasonably priced.
Favorite Dish: Blood sausage, tripe.
Mike and Gia Ghilarducci have welcomed diners to their beautiful restaurant for 21 years. Located just two blocks north of the Sonoma Plaza, the Depot Hotel has beautiful gardens, shaded decks, and a pool. The waitstaff is very experienced and as good as it gets in Sonoma. The Depot Hotel is casual, “Country Inn” style featuring Northern Italian cuisine. Locals love Mike’s food especially the tortellini, which rates as the Wine Patrol’s best ever in a restaurant.
As of May 2008, Mike's son Tony has come on board running a delightful antipasti bar featuring his own house cured meats. Any 3 plates for $12. A sampling of all of the plates for $25. Hell of a deal. Open Wednesday to Sunday after 5 pm. Recently Tony and his wife had a baby, and the baby occupied the aging room for his salumi, so homemade salumi went away. They should be up and running again by summer of 2011.
The wine list has a wonderful selection of local California wines as well as plenty of fantastic Italian wines. The list runs to about 100 different offerings and more than half are under $30. The Ghilarducci’s own Lake County vineyard produces a delightful Wildhurst Reserve Sauvignon Blanc for $20 and a Cabernet Sauvignon for $24. Real treasures dot the list like a 2001 Donatella Columbini Rosso di Montalcino for $25.
Favorite Dish: Tortellini is to die for. Crab canneloni when in season is heavenly. House cured Braseola and pancetta are incredible.
This is some of the best Mexican food in Sonoma. It's served from a truck parked on Hwy 12 just next to La Favorita Mexican store about 1/2 block from Mountain Ave. They open around 7 pm each night. They are open until MIDNIGHT Sunday through Thursday and OPEN TILL 3AM Friday and Saturday.
Walk up to the window, order your food from the menu displayed on the side of the truck, and in 10 minutes your food will be ready to go. Everything is delicious, except the chicken which is dull. Bottom line, this is as real and local as it gets in wine country, and you won't run into any tourists.
La bamba is still the best truck in Sonoma, but they've moved five blocks down the highway just next to Golden West Glass.
Favorite Dish: Torta de pierna is a terrific sandwich made from pork leg . The Chicharron gordita is sublime and worth the risk that the cholesterol will kill you. The carne asada is very good in either the burrito or as tacos. Carnitas are pretty tasty.
Situated on the west side of the plaza, Harvest Moon is a comfortable little restaurant and wine bar. They have a small inside dining area, with a huge outdoor secluded courtyard that seats maybe 50 guests. We enjoyed some of their daily entrèe specials for about $25 each plus a few glasses of wine. While the wait staff was casual, they were very professional and efficient.
Overall, this was one of the best restaurants we tried during our 10-day journey on the west coast from Monterey to Vancouver and back.