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Apr 23, 2007 03:29 PM

Nice, but not frou frou Friday night (b-day) dinner in N. Marin or Southern Sonoma Co. w/Chinese Grandma who likes "American Food"?

My mom and grandma are going to be in town for my mom's birthday. We'd like to take them out to a nice, but not frou frou dinner. We've taken them to Wild Fox in Novato before and they were definitely fans, but we'd like to take them somewhere new if possible. My Chinese grandma likes good old "American Food", but we'd like to take them somewhere on the nicer side since it's a birthday dinner. We also need menus that aren't too complicated (translating some Sonoma specialties into Mandarin can be tricky), yet are beyond just "ok" food. Any ideas for places anywhere from Novato to Santa Rosa (we don't want to deal with Friday night traffic into SF or southern Marin)?

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  1. Have you tried Boca in Novato? It has some Argentinean specialties, but has a pretty varied menu, with many 'American' favorites. I haven't been in a few months, but liked it last time I was there. The interior space is also lovely. You can check out the menu at:

    2 Replies
    1. re: TerriL

      Thanks for the suggestion! I had forgotten about Boca...I will definitely include it as a condender...have you been there multiple times? We've been there a handful of times...half of the visits were wonderful and the other half were just so so...but either way, thanks for reminding me of Boca!

      1. re: lj2899

        We just went to Boca Sat night for the first time. It was really good. I had the smoked chicken empanada, hubby had the house salad. Since there were two empenadas, we each got one, but I took one bite of his salad and that was enough - too vinegary for me, but he liked it. He had the filet and I had the ribeye - both really good. The duck fat fries were tasty, but I wasn't sure if that was due to the duck fat. No dessert, we had to catch a movie - which, we mentioned to the waiter, so service was very prompt.

    2. J.M. Rosen's Waterfront Grill in Petaluma has always worked for our family -- good food, nice rooms.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Sarah

        Ah, I didn't realize this was still open. Shortly after we moved here last year they closed their Eastside Grill restaurant and I was under the impression they had closed all of their operations. Will definitely look into it! Thanks!

        1. re: lj2899

          Here's how it's listed on the chamber of commerce website, so I'd expect some changes.

          Waterfront Grill
          Sami Nazzal
          54 East Washington Street
          Petaluma, CA 94952
          (707) 773-3200
          fax:(707) 763-3274

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Ah, so from this post and the one below it looks like it has new owners. Anyone been to it since it changed hands? Same quality of food?

      2. While not in Sonoma/No Marin, I'd try AdHoc in Yountville. A little bit of a drive but it's excellent. It's $45 prix fix, casual but very nice, basically American comfort food set up by Thomas Keller. You can check the night before what they're serving.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ML8000

          JM Rosen's is still open - same menu but new owners
          another suggestion would be Hilltop in novato - nice view varied menu