Sonoma County - Not to Be Missed
For breakfast or lunch, Willow Wood in the hamlet of Graton. They just seem to make everything better than other places. Between there and Santa Rosa is DeLoach Vinyards with their excellent versions of Pinot Noir and Zinfandel. If you want the best hot chocoate you've ever had (that's true for me, anyway), it's in downtown Sebastopol at La Dolce V. The three places are only a few (several?) minutes apart.
Also, Merry Edwards is opening a tasting room. if it is open, make an appointment. it's worth it. Stryker is a great up and coming winery. Fappiano makes interesting wines; don't miss their Petit Syrah. Selby off Healdsburg Square is also one of my favorites. if they have any sweet cindy, definitely try it. Also, Barn Diva is very good and a cool dinner spot. OK, i think i am done rambling. I love Somona and 100% prefer it over Napa. you are really going to love the people, the wineries, and the food.
One other thing, in Geyserville, there is a little place called Santi. it's a wonderful restaurant! there is a wine bar next door that looks really neat; but i haven't been.
OK, now I am done.
Not to be missed, Iron Horse in the morning for Sparkling and a beautiful view. Michele Schlumberger for fabulous Pinot Blanc and award winning cabs. Joseph Swan for Zins as well as Sausal and Limerick Lane. If you head that way, stop at Jimtown store for lunch. their sandwiches are to die for, but they close early, i think 2pm. Healdsburg Square, off the square is Ravenous, AMAZING hamburger, and everything else. also, the cheese shop in Healdsburg is a perfect place to grab cheese, bread, and other fun things for a snack.
I have lived in Santa Rosa for three years my favourite place is John Ash a close second is Willi's Wine Bar both of these are in the upper price range. I also really like Bistro Ralph in Heildsburg. I could go there just for the Chicken livers its served as a starter but it's a huge portion. There is a bar in Geyserville at the road junction I cannot remember the name its a pub style, the lunches are pretty good.
Agreed on Farmhouse Inn, and most posters on this board are also very fond of it. Also consider Cyrus in Healdsburg, which has generated a lot of buzz and press, mostly deserved IMHO. Both are very refined, although Farmhouse is more homey and comfortable while Cyrus is very elegant and more formal-feeling. And Cyrus is definitely more money.
I also like Zazu, which is a little ways west of Santa Rosa proper on Guerneville Road. And Zin, in Healdsburg.
The Railroad Square area in Santa Rosa is an ever-improving zone with a couple of interesting options. There's a fine restaurant there called Syrah. And not long ago WIne Spectrum Shop and Bar opened nearby, a nice and sleek space with friendly and knowledgeable staff who pour great wines. They also have a kitchen and a small but tasty-looking menu. I haven't eaten there though...
The Kenwood Restaurant in Kenwood on Highway 12 on the way to Sonoma is great.
In Sonoma proper I really enjoyed The Girl and The Fig (though some posters here have been less charitable). I also liked Cafe Le Haye.