Sonoma city hall

Despite the fact that Napa gets all of the attention, Sonoma is an equally charming wine-centered town located in the rolling hills of NorCal. According to Sonoma County, Sonoma is only about 30 miles north of San Francisco, making it a great destination for city dwellers looking to escape for a fun weekend filled with great wine and great food. Though the downtown area of Sonoma is super small, it is scattered with incredible tasting rooms and restaurants that showcase the fresh fare of wine country.

Whether you’re seeking vineyard views or good eats without all of the flair, Sonoma has you covered. From French cuisine that pairs wonderfully with local wines to comforting Mexican food that caters to the most specific of cravings, there really is something for every kind of eater in Sonoma. That said, we’ve rounded up the best restaurants in Sonoma for locals, visitors, and wine lovers alike.

the girl and the fig

Wagyu coulotte steak

If you’re looking to enjoy a true taste of Sonoma’s impressive food scene, the girl and the fig is a great place to start. This legendary restaurant is one of the most popular in town, for good reason. Upon walking into the restaurant, guests feel as though they have been transported to the middle of France. The interior is very cozy and classic, with the bar acting as the focal point of the restaurant. However, there is also a spacious patio out back for larger groups.

When it comes to the menu, the steak tartare and chicken-fried oysters are must-order appetizers. The duck confit is a popular main course for good reason, but the wild flounder meunière is a delicate and flaky entree that seafood lovers will fawn over.

Wit & Wisdom

Mixed Baby Greens

Located at The Lodge at Sonoma, Wit & Wisdom is an elegant and sleek restaurant helmed by celebrity chef, Michael Mina. The restaurant has everything from cozy booths to a fresh patio, making it a great option for hotel guests and locals looking to get a true taste of Sonoma. The diverse menu has something for every diner, but the pizzas are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Those looking to branch out will find bold flavors in the clam pizza, but guests should also ask about special pizza offerings that are off the menu.

The hand-made pasta rotates with the seasons, and the seafood entrees revolve around sustainability. That said, the W&W steak frites is a top-notch main that is served with the crispiest and most decadent duck fat potato wedges.

Animo

Lobster and koshihikari rice

Animo is perhaps one of the most unexpected finds in Sonoma. Animo combines Korean American and Basque cuisine to bring a one-of-a-kind experience to this wine-centric town. Die-hard carnivores will appreciate the meat-forward menu that showcases everything from lamb to pork chops to prime rib. When it comes to seafood, the whole turbot takes the cake. If you’re looking to start off simple, the Bib and wedge salads allow you to enjoy a refreshing taste without filling up before the main course.

Despite the fact that some of the most popular restaurants in Sonoma have been around for decades, Animo just opened in 2022 and has still managed to wow locals and visitors alike. The focus on heart cooking at Animo ensures that freshness is at the forefront, followed by innovative flavor combinations and presentation.

Folktable

Folktable's summer spread

With the vision of bringing Sonoma’s flourishing agriculture to the forefront of the menu, Folktable is focused on serving seasonal fare that is fresh and clean. Sourcing the majority of the ingredients from local organic farmers and artisans allows Folktable to create a dining experience that highlights the high-quality food being grown across the Sonoma Valley, as well as the beautiful community of chefs, farmers, and wine experts working together at Folktable.

The menu at Folktable is creative and ever-changing with the seasons. However, every iteration of the contemporary California menu features a wide array of bright and delicately seasoned dishes. The soup and farm salad menu allows the organic local produce to shine, offering chef-created combinations of the freshest vegetables, seeds, spices, and dressings with the choice to add any protein for the perfect fall meal.

Taste of Himalayas

Bowl of tikka masala

If you catch a craving for Indian food in Sonoma, Taste of the Himalayas is your answer. Combining Indian, Nepalese, and Tibetan flavors from across the Himalayan region, this spot brings authentic and unique flavors to the Sonoma Valley food scene. Whether you are looking for a welcoming sit-down experience, or take-out for a cozy date night in, Taste of the Himalayas guarantees bold, spicy, and comforting cuisine each and every time.

Start off your meal with the samosa appetizer. This crispy fried pastry is filled with a spiced potato and pea mixture and served with a bright mint herb sauce. If you choose to dine in, the tandoori selection is a must-try. Choose from a wide array of perfectly seasoned proteins cooked in the restaurant’s traditional clay tandoor oven.

LaSalette

Roasted Asparagus, Egg Yolk Vinaigrette

Since 1998, Chef Manuel Azevedo’s LaSalette has been serving a unique fusion of contemporary Portuguese meets California farm-to-table cuisine. Blending traditions, ingredients, and flavors from his homeland of Portugal with local California produce has allowed Chef Azevedo to create a breathtaking seasonal menu. Chef Azevedo also brings bold flavors into the mix with exciting seasonings from around the world.

The menu at LaSalette is concise yet full of variety. The Tasca Board starter is reminiscent of the undeniably trendy charcuterie board with a Portuguese flair, and pairs beautifully with any selection from the carefully curated wine list. The main plates section of the menu features everything from traditional fisherman’s stew to wine and garlic-braised pork shoulder. Each dish is perfectly refined and boasts an impressive articulation of successful food fusion.

Layla

Fall menu selections

Located in the beautiful MacArthur Place Hotel, Layla is an inviting and communal-style Mediterranean spot that is perfect for gathering with friends for any occasion. Layla is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as a full weekend brunch. This local hotspot serves everything from small light bites to rich and hearty full plates. With a focus on seasonal, local, and fresh ingredients, Layla is the perfect spot for locals and travelers alike to enjoy a taste of some of the best food and wine Sonoma has to offer.

Layla’s Weekend Brunch is a prime example of simple yet elevated excellence and is a must-try for any fans of this farm-to-table spot. One of the sweetest highlights includes the balanced Olive Oil Pancakes with cinnamon toast crunch and whipped cream served with whipped butter and vanilla syrup. If savory is more your style, the American Wagyu Hanger steak and eggs are a great go-to. It is served with crispy potatoes, a classic béarnaise sauce, and a baby arugula salad and covers all of the cravings.

Cafe La Haye

Spot Prawn & Scallop Ceviche

Located just off of central Sonoma Square, Cafe La Haye is serving up simple yet delicious California-style cuisine. A small menu of carefully curated dishes drives the dining experience at Cafe La Haye, allowing the chef to conceptualize, refine, and execute the highest quality plates for guests to enjoy.

The menu of this charming local spot changes seasonally and the ever-changing chef’s specials are listed on the blackboard daily, ensuring even the most loyal regulars are excited by new dishes. From crowd-pleasing appetizers like fried cauliflower and broccoli & cheddar soup to extraordinary entrees like the grilled marinated filet mignon and the market price seasonal fish, every dish is a lesson in taste and technique. The wine list at Cafe La Haye is just as impressive as the food menu. With bottles ranging in price from $44 to an incredible $3,450, the selection of local Sonoma wines is truly impressive.

El Dorado Kitchen

Ceviche and tuna tartare

Located in the heart of the historic Sonoma Square, El Dorado Kitchen’s farm-to-table cuisine is a must-try. The award-winning menu created by Executive Chef Armando Navarro is grounded in fresh, approachable, yet refined California cuisine and highlights the wealth of local produce and protein being farmed across Sonoma County. With seating available in the main dining room, a corner cafe-style room, an adorable tree-lined patio, and a swanky bar top, El Dorado Kitchen caters to every kind of vibe.

The restaurant is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as for an incredible Sunday brunch, each with a unique and delicious menu. Start with a bright bite of local cherry tomatoes, house-made arugula pesto, and artisan burrata for a true taste of California produce. Then check out one of the impressive entrees, ranging from vegan delights like the spicy Mediterranean-style chile relleno to the decadent duck confit with polenta and a wealth of fall vegetables.

Oso Sonoma

Short Rib Tacos

Nestled in the charming and historic Sonoma Plaza, Oso Sonoma is bringing wine-country fare to a casual yet inviting dining room. The mission is to deliver the same flavor and high-quality ingredients as some of its fine-dining counterparts in a more relaxed setting. The menu created by chef and owner, David Bush, boasts simple yet undeniably tasty dishes across the board.

The start of the menu offers chef-inspired renditions of classic American bar bites that are designed to pair perfectly with one of the many cocktails, wines, and draft beer "libations" Oso Sonoma has to offer. The entree section of the menu is where Chef Bush’s skills really shine, offering local selections like a seared halibut, miso-glazed king salmon, and seared New York steak, highlighting the true finesse and fine cookery at this no-frills establishment.

HopMonk Tavern

Potato, egg, hot sauce

HopMonk Tavern is an all-encompassing beer garden experience bringing craft beer, live music, and delicious bites to the heavily wine-dominated Sonoma scene. Built in an old farmhouse from 1888, this funky establishment has been renovated into a year-round space for foodies, beer fans, and music lovers looking to come together and let loose.

In addition to the incredible HopMonk draft beers, the tavern also boasts a full bar serving specialty cocktails and wine, ensuring that there is a beverage for everyone to enjoy. The menu offers a large section of shareable bites, further encouraging the communal energy HopMonk has so carefully curated. Roll out a couple of orders of the grilled artichoke with lemon aioli, Korean fried cauliflower, and the famous pickle fries to pair with your brew.

The Red Grape

 Fig & Goat Cheese pizza

The Red Grape is a family-owned and operated spot serving crowd-pleasing hand-made pizzas, pasta, and other Italian-inspired favorites in Sonoma. For over 15 years, this local favorite has mastered thin, crispy crust pizzas topped with ingredients sourced from local farmers, merchants, and purveyors of quality Sonoma goods. Whether you choose to dine in the charming dining room with a view of the wood-fired pizza oven or on the charming patio lined with trees, you’re sure to feel right at home. That said, you can also order take-out and indulge from the comfort of your couch.

From classic cheese pizzas topped with The Red Grape’s signature house-made plum tomato sauce to more unique fixings like the seasonal special that recreates your favorite Thanksgiving feast on top of a pizza, every pie is supremely delicious.

Mamma Tanino’s

Handmade pasta and red wine

Mamma Tanino’s is an authentic Italian restaurant located in the heart of town. This charming and quaint spot is a local favorite and has a very tight-knit vibe. It is only open for dine-in on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, so making a reservation is encouraged. Considering Mamma Tanino’s chef was born in Sicily, patrons can expect a pretty classic and timeless Italian experience.

Everything from the open kitchen to the white table cloths works together to set the scene for a cozy and romantic evening in Sonoma. The appetizers range from classic calamari to a simple caesar salad. When it comes to main courses, the pasta takes center stage with the spaghetti alla carbonara boasting a rich flavor made with pancetta, egg, pepper, and parmesan cheese.

Tasca Tasca

Bright octopus salad

Another standout restaurant from chef Manuel Azevedo is Tasca Tasca. This beloved spot draws inspiration from bar-style dining found in Portugal. The menu of tapas-style bites ranges from classic and approachable American favorites like mac and cheese with handmade sausage, to more unique dishes like the fried spicy pig’s ears or goat stew with fingerling potatoes. Because the menu is designed to encourage tasting and sharing, guests pay a fixed price for a select number of any dishes on the menu, allowing for playful culinary exploration.

That said, it wouldn’t be a true Tasca experience without a trip to the bar. Enjoy a selection from the diligently curated, exclusively Portuguese wine and port selection to fully immerse yourself in Southern European delight. If wine isn’t your thing, check out the list of signature cocktails or draft beers to savor with your tasting bites.

Valley Bar + Bottle Shop

Salmon poke bowl

Valley Bar + Bottle Shop is a locally-owned and operated restaurant, wine bar, and bottle shop that is driven by a sense of community engagement and support. The food is simple and vibrant, featuring seasonal produce. The menu is based on the personal and culinary history of chefs whilst upholding environmentally conscious business ideals. The restaurant only offers outdoor dining in the charming patio area, so be sure to make a reservation in advance and dress according to the weather.

The menu at Valley Bar + Bottle Shop is ever-changing with the seasons. Though the menu changes often, local favorites include the farmer’s ricotta with stone fruit, which is a nice combination of tart and creamy that highlights the beauty of each local ingredient. Pair with a selection of one of the many local, biodynamic wines for an environmentally sound dining experience.

El Molino Central

Tostadas de Lomo

El Molino Central is bringing authentic Mexican Food to the Sonoma restaurant scene. This inviting family-owned spot takes family recipes and elevates them with ingredients sourced from local farmers, creating the perfect blend of Mexican heritage and Sonoma Valley produce. The menu is accessible and delicious offering a wide array of crowd-pleasing Mexican dishes.

El Molino is known for its bright and citrus-forward Bohemia Beer Battered Fish Tacos, served with salsa de Arbol and a house-made avocado-lime mayonnaise. The crisp, perfectly fried fish is balanced by the creamy yet tangy mayo and the spice from the salsa. Enhance your meal by pairing it with a selection from the local wine and beer list and experience the truly ultimate level of comfort food.