The best of Sonoma Square

Sonoma County offers so many food and drink options to check out that it’s hard to see it all in one visit.

This guide is perfect for you if you want to visit the best tasting rooms and restaurants without even leaving the main square.

The Best of Sonoma Square:

  • Tasting Rooms

Lake Sonoma Winery offers Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Cabernet by the bottle as well as cheese boards and charcuterie.

Roche Winery offers daily tastings, indoor and outdoor wine tasting bars, light bites, and a shaded outdoor tasting patio with fireplaces.

The best of Sonoma Square
The best of Sonoma Square

Pangloss Cellars offers a private, more focused and immersive seated tasting accompanied by a local cheese and charcuterie plate for each guest.

Sigh serves Champagne & Sparkling flights (3 two ounce pours). No reservations are necessary, all space is first come, first serve.

Schug provides seated tasting of five Schug Carneros Estate wines including our Estate and Heritage Reserve Pinot Noir and Chardonnay releases. 

  • Restaurants

El Dorado Kitchen offers California-inspired cuisine with a focus on the freshest farm- and ranch-raised ingredients and signature cocktails, all served in a relaxed-yet-refined Sonoma spirit.

The best of Sonoma Square
The best of Sonoma Square

The Girl and the Fig features a wonderful antique bar with French aperitifs, unique and traditional cocktails, an award-winning Rhone-Alone wine list, inventive French country fare, cheese & charcuterie platters, and outdoor garden patio seating.

Sunflower Cafe uses local, organic, fresh ingredients. Indoor, sidewalk & garden seating. Breakfast, lunch, wine, cocktails & espresso.

Tasca Tasca means tavern or pub in Portugal. Tapas (small shared plates) menu offers  snacking on a wide variety of delicious food while drinking unique wine.

B&V Whiskey Bar and Grille is Sonoma Plaza’s only brew pub, whiskey bar, and live music venue. B&V’s menu format is wine country inspired with farm to table elements, Italian and French influences, and good old fashioned BBQ and burgers.

  • Hotels

El Dorado Hotel offers amenities and charm of Sonoma wine country, with French doors leading to a private balcony with views of Sonoma Plaza or garden courtyard. The hotel includes as a stone courtyard for outdoor dining, a pool and an inviting fireplace lounge for private events.

Sonoma Hotel maintains its nostalgic charm, with a stone fireplace and antique Italian stained glass in the lobby. The accommodations include modern private baths, French country furniture throughout, original wine stave lobby chandeliers.

Swiss Hotel  has 5 beautifully appointed rooms with a view of Sonoma Plaza or the garden patio. All five rooms have access to the balcony overlooking the Plaza. King Rooms have private entries to the front balcony.

Inn at Sonoma features 19 well-appointed guest rooms in the main building and 8 newly opened guestrooms in the adjacent Vintners Cottage.

Ledson Hotel  offers six individually decorated guest rooms with antique grandeur and modern amenities.

Check out this article if you’re traveling with your pup and need a dog friendly accommodations.

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Michelin Star Guide Sonoma Valley

It’s clear — Sonoma County, California is a food-lover’s paradise. The wine country is famous for its wine but the food scene here is one of the best in the world. Here’s your Michelin Star Guide to Sonoma.

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What does Michelin Star mean?

Michelin awards zero to three stars based on the inspections of anonymous reviewers. The reviewers concentrate on the quality, technique, personality, and consistency of the food.

Two stars mean ‘excellent cuisine, worth a detour’. While one star means ‘a very good restaurant in its category.’ Other restaurants recognized as ‘Bib Gourmand,’ representing remarkable restaurants that serve two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less.

So where do we start?!

SingleThread Farms Restaurants and Inn is a 3 (!!!) Michelin stars restaurant in Healdsburg. This is the first restaurant in Sonoma Wine Country to earn 3 stars.

SingleThread Farm offers an eleven-course tasting menu. I recommend booking your table far in advance and try to get an earlier time slot. Waiting for an 11 course meal at 9PM is not for everyone.

Next on the Michelin Star Guide to Sonoma Valley is Farmhouse Inn. It’s an upscale farm-to-fork eatery featuring a daily changing American prix fixe menu & a large wine list located in beautiful Forestville in the Russian River Valley.

The restaurant’s signature dish is ‘Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit’, or rabbit 3 ways. Reservations are best made at least a couple of weeks in advance.

The ‘Farmhouse Breakfast Experience’ is  $35 per person and includes pastries, fresh squeezed orange juice, coffee, and tea. Selections can be ordered à la carte; room service is also available.

Michelin Guide

 

Madrona Manor is a Victorian mansion with modern kitchen and upscale vibe located in Healdsburg. You will love this magical estate! Arrive early to enjoy a sunset drink out on the terrace. The tasting menu is marvelous but the à la carte items deserve exploring too. Reservation can be made via OpenTable a couple weeks in an advance. Moreover, you can try the first come/first serve lounge and it’s own menu.

Michelin Guide

If you are looking for a more simple and casual vibe that still experience the best food, try the two Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurants in my favorite Petaluma:

Risibisi is top notch Italian spot in Downtown Petaluma serves healthy, fresh, Sonoma Italian cuisine featuring local ingredients. A table can be booked on Open Table for lunch and dinner service.

Stockhome is a new addition to Petaluma serving modern Swedish cuisine with a Mediterranean twist. Open for lunch and dinner, Stockhome takes reservations on Open Table.

Best Breakfast in Petaluma

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Looking for a great breakfast spot in Petaluma? It’s difficult to pick one because Petaluma is full of yummy breakfast eateries. To help you, I put together a list of the best breakfast spots in town (in my opinion). Enjoy!

WISHBONE is a quirky, unique and intimate breakfast/brunch spot just a few minutes away from downtown Petaluma. It has whimsical decor with tree brunches hanging from the ceiling, mystical drinks and food items on the menu and, most importantly, the friendliest staff.

The highlight of my visit was the Beekeeper Latte (lavender, honey and salt). All breakfast item are fresh, delicious and have a weird twist. Just like the Wishbone itself.

NORTH BAY CAFE is your friendly neighborhood diner. It’s a large open space with lots of tables. Everyone is friendly and the food is made with love. North Bay cafe is perfect to work at, grab a bite and some coffee. Located right in downtown it is a spot to check out.

They offer breakfast classics like tacos and burritos as well as salads and sandwiches. It’s family and kid friendly and easy to find in Petaluma.

DELLA FATTORIA has become my go to, even though I’m trying to explore more new places in the area. The breakfast/brunch menu is amazing and has a large variety of sandwiches, egg dishes and salads.

They make their own bread at the bakery next door so you can’t go wrong with any of the items here. Plus, they also serve delicious mimosas and wine and you wake up feeling “responsible”. Moreover, they do not take reservations over the phone. You need to come in and put your name on the list so be ready for a 20-40 minutes wait depending on time of day.

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All and all, you have many options for great breakfast restaurant in Petaluma and I hope you check out my favorites.

Cheers. xox

Valentine’s Day Dinner in Petaluma

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and it’s the perfect excuse to try a new restaurant. Many places around the area offer a special holiday menu or add ons to their regular menus. Sonoma County is flooded with good restaurants so I put together a list of amazing exciting options around Petaluma:

Petaluma Guide Valentine's Day
The Shuckery, Petaluma Guide

The Shuckery – an amazing seafood restaurant/oyster bar will be offering a  6 course tasting menu for $60 per person. Knowing how delicious their food is on a daily basis, the special menu will be out of this world. To make the evening even more special, book a room at the Petaluma Hotel. Reservations available on Open Table.

The Wild Goat Bistro – a more casual option for a romantic dinner will be offering a prix fixe menu ($60 per person) with options like a lobster bisque, smoked salmon terrine, wild kind salmon, house made fettuccine and hanger steak. You can find the menu and book on Open Table.

Seared –  voted best steak house in Petaluma, Seared will be offering their regular menu as well as specials. You can’t go wrong with a juice steak on Valentine’s Day.

Just a short drive away in Sonoma, El Dorado Kitchen will serve a three-course multiple choice menu, at $69 per person.  Menu includes seared scallops, octopus salad, candy ravioli and beef 3 ways.

Central Market in downtown Petaluma will be offering their regular menu with a couple of nice Valentines day specials. The restaurant will be charging $25 per couple, with that, you will receive 2 glasses of champagne or apple cider and a nice amuse bouche to share.

Petaluma Guide

I hope everyone has a great Valentine’s Day eating delicious dinner with a loved one and enjoy everything Petaluma and Sonoma Wine country has to offer.

Cheers! xox

PETALUMA RESTAURANTS – WHAT ARE YOU CRAVING?

AYAWASKA

Modern Peruvian cuisine with a focus on Pisco sours and traditional Peruvian dishes. You will find a lot of seafood dishes here like ceviche, ahi tuna and a catch of the day. If you’re more into meat, you’re in luck. You can pick from tons of options such as Lomo Saltado Clasico (beef tenderloin) or Aji de Gallina (Shredded chicken in creamy sauce). The presentation and attention to detail is the key here. The dishes are bright, bold, colorful and full of texture.

The cocktail are a must try as well. As a wine drinker, I almost never order mixed drinks but I recommend trying a couple of cocktails at Ayawaska. From the craftmanship to the choice of the glass, everything is perfect.

The service is another focus of this restaurant. Everyone genuinely cares about your experience and wants you to enjoy the environment and the food.

 

Where do I even begin?! This place always seems to be packed and for good reason. Della Fattoria offers brunch, lunch and dinner. The food is amazing! From in house baked bread (the bakery is located next door) this unique restaurant is a must when in Petaluma. Their main items are soups, salads and sandwiches with a twist. I just can’t get over how delicious everything is!

Moreover, the eclectic decor and people watching will keep you busy. Multiple lamps and chandlers, art on the walls, and mirrors make for great conversation pieces. They also service a great variety of teas, wine and mimosas depending what you’re in a mood for.

Be ready for a 25-45 minutes wait based on time of day, but so worth it.

 

Opened on January 1st 2020, Street Social is an upscale addition to the Petaluma food scene. It’s a tiny hole in the wall restaurant with an ever changing menu, impressive wine list, and intimate interior. The menu is influenced by the availability of produce from local farms which means you get the best and freshest ingredients for your meal.

The highlights of my visit here are the bone in short rib with yams, Dungeness crab with avocado and blood orange, and Bourbon creme brûlée. Oh and don’t forget the homemade ricotta on Della Fattoria’s bread!

They serve local and European wine by glass and bottle. In my opinion, this is the best date spot in Petaluma! So romantic but casual, intimate and friendly.

THE SHUCKERY

Best happy hour in town?! I’d come here every day for the oysters. Another small and quaint restaurant right in downtown, it’s a unique seafood focused spot to check out. The options are endless… baked oysters (Bingo, Rockefeller, or chef’s special), raw oysters, shooters, crudos, tuna, you name it.

The quality of food is outstanding, staff is friendly and knowledgable about the menu and specials. Shuckery is prefect for a date or a night out with friends. The counter seats are great if you’d like to watch the chef shuck the oysters and prepare your delicious meal. 

STOCKHOME

Where to go for dinner in Marin?

Need a new dinner spot in Marin? Here’s my top 5 new spots to check out for a casual and flavorful dinner date or a get-together with friends.

Roma Antica is the one of the newest additions to the Marin food scene. The owner, Alessandro moved here from Italy and opened the original Roma Antica in the Marina district in San Francisco. In June 2019, they opened their second location in Larkspur. This restaurant has everything you can ask for – a cozy environment, comfortable seating, two outdoor patios, and a modern interior. The service is always top notch – fast, and friendly with Italian flare. The food is authentic Roman flavors, European wines and sparkling water. Just like back in Rome!

Guest House – another new hit in Marin! Located in Kentfield, by College of Marin, Guest House is a mix between seasonal flavors and speakeasy like bar. This restaurant is perfect for dinner, happy hour or drinks at the bar. The service is excellent, food is always fresh and flavorful, atmosphere is trendy and modern and just what Marin needs. One of the owners is a well known bartender that helped to open many amazing restaurants in San Francisco and North Bay.

Burmatown – is a family owned restaurant and a hidden gem. Located on Magnolia between Corte Madera and Larkspur, it’s easy to miss. It’s a tiny building with a little outdoor bar area for a nice wine while you’re waiting for a spot! They don’t reservations for parties of 5 or less so be ready for a wait. However, it’s so worth it! The kitchen is run by the mom and her kids are the servers. They’re the most genuine and happy staff which shows in the quality of food and service.

 

Marin is in need of new and trendy restaurants and I’m sure I will be expanding my list of “must try” restaurants soon. Talk later!

Silver Oak Cellars Food & Wine Pairing

A quick summary of the amazing tasting experience my fiancé and I did for his birthday back in July.

Silver Oak is one of the best wineries in Napa county that specializes in Cabernets. We wanted to do something more interesting than just a wine tasting so we opted for the wine and food pairing experience.

Not going to lie, I expected a simple cheese and meat selection, maybe a main course… BUT the experience we received was so much more.

We got there about 15 minutes early and were greeted by our amazing host. She asked us to browse for a bit since we were waiting on 2-3 more couples to arrive. At 11 o’clock, she asked us to meet her at the tasting station to start with our first pour. She didn’t make anyone wait for the people that were late and we went right into the tour. We learned a lot about the history of the winery, the owners, their processes and culture.

After a little tour, we went upstairs for the actually food pairing. We were seated in a large rustic room decorated with black and white photos of the people who work there. The winery definitely seems like a family run operation and feels comfortable and inviting.

The chef presented us the first course  – Hamachi Crudo. Amazing start! Complemented by Twomey Sav. Blanc.

Cauliflower Risotto – not usually my thing, but it was delicious. Paired with Twomey Pinot.

Followed by A5 Wagyu steak which was my first time trying this grade of steak. Juicy, melts in your mouth… I will never forget. The steak was paired with two of their Cabs – 2013 Alexander Valley and 2013 Napa Valley.

For dessert, we had an interesting take on a classic cream brûlée made with gouda cheese. Again, couldn’t get enough.

The tasting menu is seasonal and I am very excited to go back for a different experience. Perhaps this winter?

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Crudo

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Risotto

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Steak

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Gouda cream brûlée

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Wine selection

 

 

 

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Wine Cellars

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Tasting Room

 

#LifeisaCabernet

The Pelican Inn

Do you ever feel like getting away from everything and everyone to clear the head? Find inspiration? Set new goal for yourself?

Well, one of my go to places when I need some space is The Pelican Inn located next to Muir Beach. It’s a small English castle with an authentic English pub, bed and breakfast, and beautiful lawn.

It has a relaxing atmosphere, friendly service, pretty views and comfort food. My favorite is the beef stew. They have dinner service as well that has more options.

After a nice cup of soup, I love walking around the lawn watching  the horses roam around at the ranch next door.

I definitely recommend this spot for anyone who loves architecture, food, beer, and authentic experience.

Just keep taking chances and having fun. Garth Brooks