In Travel

Where To Eat And Drink In Sonoma County, California

Planning a visit to Sonoma soon? Among the new and classic, here’s what’s worth checking out.

Just 48km north of San Francisco, Sonoma County is one of California’s top food and wine destinations and home to more than 425 wineries ranging from rustic to luxurious. More than 100 organic farms are dotted within it, and miles of gorgeous Pacific coastline stretch alongside it.

best restaurants and bars in sonoma county

Sonoma County is one of California’s top food and wine destinations. Credit: Sonoma County Tourism

Now, despite the recent devastating bushfires that spread through Sonoma, the resilient wine country is back to what they do best: wining and dining.

Stronger than before, the area has recently seen the opening and the renovating of several new eateries and bars.

Planning a visit to Sonoma soon? Here are just a few of the best restaurants and bars in Sonoma County.

Where to eat in Sonoma

Glen Ellen Inn Oyster & Martini Bar

best restaurants and bars in Sonoma County

Head to Glen Ellen Inn Oyster & Martini Bar for a casual California fresh dinner. Credit: Sonoma County Tourism

While Sonoma has always been known for its amazing wines, visitors to the region can also indulge in fresh seafood and produce as well. The popular Glen Ellen Inn Oyster & Martini Bar has emerged from the bushfires refreshed and renovated, allowing guests to once again enjoy a casual California fresh dinner and drink.

While you’re in Glen Ellen, it’s worth a stop to check out Les Pascals French patisserie. Chef Pascal has worked as a pastry chef at leading French patisseries for almost four decades, and the husband and wife team bring a deep love for the art of pastry-making. In partnership with Boulanger (bread maker) Sean Perry, you’ll find authentic and delicious pastries, flans, croissants, and brioches.

Parish Café

Also new to the region and renowned for serving up chicory coffee, beignets, po-boys, and crawfish is the acclaimed Parish Café. The café has expanded from its original location in Healdsburg and added a second location in downtown Santa Rosa. Chef Rob Lippincott is a Louisiana transplant so you’re guaranteed authentic. His menu features traditional New Orleans cuisine using local California ingredients.

Fern Bar

best restaurants and bars in Sonoma County

Newly-opened Fern Bar focuses on house-made beer and small-production wines. Credit: Sonoma County Tourism

Fern Bar has also debuted in the area giving diners a place to lift their glasses in an airy, plant-filled space over a menu of shared small plates. The main focus here, however, is on the house-made beer and spirit-free elixirs, locally-sourced and small-production wines, and innovative garden-to-glass cocktails. The Whiskey For Breakfast cocktail includes Brown Butter bourbon, lemon, aged balsamic, maple syrup, and bacon.

Grandpa’s Coffee features whiskey-infused-with-Retrograde coffee, Fern Bar nocino, Amaro Montenegro, and orange bitters. The Moscow Mule is made with Charbay vodka, local apple cider, rosemary, house-made ginger beer, and Angostura bitters, with the rosemary charred with a torch just before the drink is served, for a savory, rich aroma. Live music is also on here nightly.

Where to drink in Sonoma

Rockpile Vineyards

Rockpile Vineyards is another newly-opened tasting room. Credit: Sonoma County Tourism

Another new tasting room to open its doors is the Rockpile Vineyards tasting lounge in downtown Healdsburg. Here you’ll find small lot, single-vineyard wines from the Rockpile Vineyard itself, as well as fruit sourced from other spectacular vineyards nestled high above the fog in the Rockpile wine region in northern Sonoma County.

GrapeSeed Wines

Art lovers can enjoy the best of both worlds as GrapeSeed Wines now have a tasting bar at the distinctive Paul Mahder Gallery.

Housed in an iconic double-Quonset shelter with 10-metre-high ceilings, the Paul Mahder Gallery presents works by national and international artists, offering a wide range of paintings, sculpture, photography, and drawings.

The Jade Room

best restaurants and bars in Sonoma County

The Jade Room features wines from around the world and six taps of craft beer. Credit: Sonoma County Tourism

Night owls can continue enjoying the wine region long after the tasting rooms and cellar doors have closed at the newest little bar in Sonoma County’s Santa Rosa.

The Jade Room was founded by the same owner behind the famed Sift Dessert Bar Andrea Ballus. After founding Sift in 2008, she soon took it to national fame on the Food Network.

The Jade Room features local wines as well as a rotating selection of wines from around the world, a stellar champagne list, and six taps of craft beer. The simple-yet-elegant food menu by executive chef Ben Davies includes oysters, cheese and charcuterie trays, salads, other sharable items, and delicious desserts.

Here, Sonoma locals know that the beauty of the region speaks though the quality of the food, wine and hospitality so there’s never been a better time to support their resilience and solid sense of community than right now.

Corté Riva Vineyards

Food aside, it’s also the wineries that make Sonoma Country such a hotspot. Over the last year, the region has burst at the seams with more for visitors to enjoy including a new tasting room at Corté Riva Vineyards in Santa Rosa.

Over the years, their wines have consistently won top scores from Wine Spectator and Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. They now have two wine labels, Corté Riva and Cortez 78. The new tasting room is open Friday through Sunday, and weekdays by appointment.

(Lead image: The new Fern Bar is airy and plant-filled / image: supplied)

Published 07 March, 2019