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Need Chowhound Help with Santa Rosa

Favorite time of the year is coming up , the grape "crush" . Will be traveling from out of state to Santa Rosa to work in a local winery for a week or so....roughly , will be on the west side of Santa Rosa , call it Piner at Fulton Road , just a little west of there .
Need recs for casual places to eat after a days work , including picking up "to go" food . Last year we would wind up tired and just eating fast food...I know Santa Rosa has better to offer .Will have a car , so can drive to Rohnert Park or Sebastopol . THANKS in advance , and don't hesitate to mention nice restaurants , as we don't work hard every single day .

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  1. Antojitos La Texanita on Sebastopol Rd
    Taco Trucks of Sebastopol Rd
    Govindas on Mendocino Vegetarian buffet
    Cafe Japan 4th and Mendocino
    Wednesday night farmers market in SR
    Underwood in Graton ("Nice")
    Wildwood in Graton Breakfast
    West County Grill Sebastopol ("nice")
    Papusas Salvordenas County fair exit off 12

    Hope this gives you some help.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kare_raisu

      this is most appreciated.....what is a good time for the taco trucks on Sebastopol Rd ??

    2. Lee's Noodle House, Hopper Ave. in SR
      Mel's Fish & Chips, Hopper Ave in SR
      Willi's Wine Bar, Old Redwood Highway - Santa Rosa/Larkfield (njce)
      Ume Japenese Bistro, Old Redwood Highway - Windsor
      Jhanthong Banbua- Mendocino Ave, SR - Thai
      Pearson's & Co. - Mendo Ave, SR (catering co w/excellent local goods)

      1 Reply
      1. What type of food do you like, are you looking for something you've never had before? What roughly have had before... etc.,

        3 Replies
        1. re: Eat_Nopal

          Nopal , pretty much anything : Chinese , American, Mexican , etc . A down and dirty hamburger joint would be great ( I know of the In and Out in Rohnert Park ) . I guess I'm dreaming here , because with the price of real estate in Sonoma County , I don't see how any simple reataurant can afford to pay the rent . Still , I hope....

          1. re: pinotho

            Actually Sonoma County is full of simple restaurants... its the Mid Range places that seem to have a hard time. Unfortunately you are a year late... otherwise I would recommend Heavenly Hamburger (RIP)... they were around since the time when I wouldn't have been allowed to eat there... American banners & memorabilia a true Roadside Eatery pre dating the 101.... it is now replaced by Phyllis Giant Burgers (not bad... but new wave) on Middle Rincon & Highway 12 (many people around here like it)

            Ozzie's (Middle Rincon & Montecito) is more of a dirty hamburger joint that caters mostly to the high school kids. The place is hit or miss... but the guy manning the griddle right now is quite good... and he is a good homeboy. We recently had a mushroom burger that was very good.

            I second Antojitos La Texanita.... a true gem for the area... and would also invite you to try the Shrimp or Mixed Molcajete at La Palapa on Lewis Rd just off Mendocino.

            I dig the Chicken Fried Steak at Chubby's Dinner on Santa Rosa Ave (in the Costco Shopping Center)... the guy who works the fryer on Fridays really knows what he is doing... and the sweated vegetables make a great side. Although I should note there is place called Marvins in Cotati that is supposed to be IT for CFS in this area... which I haven't tried.

            I highly recommend the Green Curry at Mekong Thai at Mission Blvd & Highway 12.

            I really dig Annapurna in the down town area for Tibetan Himelayan... its gone down hill as a Dinner destination place... but the lunch buffet is still one of the best chow values in the entire area.

            The Mushroom pizza by the slice at Mombo's (on Mendocino Ave) is just a notch below average slice joints in Manhattan (which I think is a huge compliment for California pizza joints).

            If you head down to Petaluma do try Taqueria Los Gallos... for the Shrimp a la Diabla (ask them to make it spicy) as well as the great Flan. Another Petaluma favorite is Graffitti which dishes out Calfornia cuisine that in my experience has been as good as any of the big hitters in the area... with a lot less pretense, hype or price tag.

            1. re: Eat_Nopal

              Nopal , being a year late is the story of my life . Can't thank you enough for this excellent post...I will put your suggestions to the test...thanks again .

        2. Bangkok Blvd in Rohnert Park for Thai
          Cafe St Rose in Santa Rosa (I only ate lunch there, but I believe he does dinner. He is amazing)
          Willow Wood in Graton - down home deliciousness
          Screaming Mimi's in Sebastopol - you must, they make it all there, the ice cream, the fudge, the waffle cones - I miss it greatly as I have yet to find decent ice cream in the San Diego area
          Sushi Tozai in Sebastopol

          1 Reply
            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              thank you robert , much needed information....do you have favorites ?

            2. You say out of state, but where? I would say that if you were from anywhere that has respectable sushi, there isn't anywhere in Santa Rosa really worth going to for sushi. Granted, I haven't tried Cafe Japan which I hear positive reviews of, so it's very possible that that is the exception. Just be prepared to spend some money for it.

              For the kind of burgers you would make at home, go to Superburger on 4th. For deliciously moist burgers, I would actually go to Adel's. To the locals, I know it sounds absolutely crazy, and I have had the worst waffle of my life there years ago, but they cook up a mean burger. The fries have a slightly off putting sour flavor, but those burgers are darn good.

              Like Eat_Nopal said, there are plenty of simple, cheap restaurants in Santa Rosa so no worries there. I think Santa Rosa does Vietnamese quite well. Pho Vietnam seems to be a local favorite and I liked it quite a bit until I went to Simply Vietnam on Dutton. Both have delicious pho, but you don't have to deal with the cramped room and the wait at Simply Vietnam. I also prefer their bbq items. Lee's Noodle House is also good. Their pho was a lot better than the well-seasoned but extremely dry chicken we ordered. I like that it's closer to my house, but were I to choose between all three, it would be Simply Vietnam.

              For Mexican, I would go to Antojitos La Texanita first. Some dishes would qualify for me as home runs while others are just solid. I especially love how much care they clearly put into their rice, beans, and tortillas. For whatever reason, I keep putting off a taco truck crawl, but the last one I went to was absolutely phenomenal. I had 4 different tacos for 4 dollars and had myself a delicious party. The flavors are phenomenally clean.

              I don't eat Chinese much in Sonoma County. I haven't been anywhere that I've had crave-able food. I think China Room on Mission is the best around. I had Gary Chu's years ago and thought it was pretty good, but they are pretty expensive, if I remember correctly.

              For Thai, my favorite has been SEA Thai in Montgomery Village, though I haven’t tried any of the curries (supposed to have gone today). The Thai restaurant upstairs on 4th street was pretty good in my visits to it years past.

              LoCoco’s has simple Italian food with a couple of real hits (I love their grilled shrimp salad with fennel and beets) and an olive spread that is absolutely delicious, though very garlicky. Mombo’s has good pizza. Their pesto’s a bit too salty. Hot Dog City has quick dogs. Screaming Mimi’s has great ice cream, especially their signature coffee flavor. Close to it is Patisserie Angelica, which I love dearly but have not been to recently because I know how I tend to scarf down their incredibly rich, buttery treats. Annapurna’s good, though when I went a while back, it was the dinner that was better than its buffet.

              There’s plenty of good food in Santa Rosa and to get more information about just about anywhere that’s been mentioned on this thread, just put in the restaurant name on the search. Hope you have fun, eat well, and report back!

              1 Reply
              1. re: LikeFrogButOOOH

                I ate at Gary Chu's last year , got it out of the yellow pages...your summary is spot on....appreciate your efforts , hope to reciprocate sometime.

              2. I think this will be the longest "link to place" list I've done yet. You guys went restaurant-list nuts! Pinotho will be one stuffed crush worker! I'll try to list these by area. I'm not sure how the linktoplace will list them though.

                Underwood Bar & Bistro
                9113 Graton Rd, Graton, CA 95444

                Sea Thai Bistro
                2323 Sonoma Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95405

                Antojitos La Texanita
                1667 Sebastopol Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95407

                Screamin' Mimi's
                6902 Sebastopol Ave, Sebastopol, CA 95472

                Willow Wood Market Cafe
                9020 Graton Rd, Graton, CA 95444

                Lococo's Cucina Rustica
                117 4th St, Santa Rosa, CA 95401

                Hot Dog City
                631 4th St Ste 1, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

                Hot Dog City - CLOSED, moved
                804 Coddingtown Center, Santa Rosa, CA 95401

                Pearson & Co.
                2500 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

                Willi's Wine Bar
                4404 Old Redwood Hwy, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

                West County Grill
                6948 Sebastopol Ave, Sebastopol, CA 95472

                Pupuseria Salvadorena
                1403 Maple Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

                Govinda's Restaurant
                1899 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95401

                Cafe Japan
                98 Old Courthouse Square, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

                Lee's Noodle House
                1010 Hopper Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

                Mel's Fish & Chips
                1016 Hopper Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

                Jhanthong Banbua
                2400 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

                Ozzie's Grill
                799 Montecito Ctr, Santa Rosa, CA 95409

                Chubby's Diner
                2032 Santa Rosa Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95407

                Mombo's Pizza
                1880 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95401

                Mombo's Pizza
                560 Gravenstein Hwy N, Sebastopol, CA 95472

                1501 4th St, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

                456 College Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95401

                Pho Vietnam
                711 Stony Point Rd Suite 8, Santa Rosa, CA 95401

                Simply Vietnam
                966 N Dutton Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95401

                China Room
                500 Mission Blvd, Santa Rosa, CA 95409

                Gary Chu's
                611 5th St, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

                Annapurna Restaurant
                535 Ross St, Santa Rosa, CA 95401

                Sushi Tozai
                7531 Healdsburg Ave, Sebastopol, CA 95472

                Patisserie Angelica
                6821 Laguna Pkwy, Sebastopol, CA 95472

                Bangkok Boulevard
                6358 Commerce Blvd, Rohnert Park, CA 94928

                Marvin's Restaurant
                7991 Old Redwood Hwy, Cotati, CA 94931

                101 2nd St Ste 190, Petaluma, CA 94952

                UME Japanese Bistro
                8710 Old Redwood Hwy, Windsor, CA 95492

                Seed Restaurant
                463 Sebastopol Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95401

                1 Reply
                1. I'll second and third everyone's rec of Screamin' Mimi's, La Texanita (pretty easy to get to from the Piner Rd area as well), SEA Thai, Cafe Japan, Pearson's, Mombo's, Willi's, Willow Wood, Underwood, and Simply Vietnam. I think Kare mentioned the Wednesday Night Downtown Market in Santa Rosa...but next week is its last time, so if you aren't gonna be here for the 29th, you'll miss it.

                  I have a few other places that came to mind as well, some of them very close to the Piner/Fulton area.

                  Pizza Gourmet, http://pizza-gourmet.com/ in the Raley's shopping center on Fulton (corner of Fulton and Guerneville Rd), has great pizza, calzones, pasta and a pretty good variety of salads as well. (I like the Burbank a lot: sliced chicken breast, new potatoes, walnuts, egg, roasted red peppers and fontina cheese) And, if you have a place to cook while you are staying here, they sell dough balls so you can make your own pizzas. I've gotten dough from them a few times for home pizza parties and it's pretty darn good.

                  I've been quite happy with the thai food I get at Tipp Thai Cuisine, on Piner (corner of Piner Road and Coffey Lane). They do take out (I ride my bike there a lot when I have the thai craving, as it's in my neighborhood) and I haven't had a bad dish there yet. Love their green curry, pumpkin curry, larp and soups. Oh, and their brown rice is the best I've tasted yet.

                  For vietnamese, my new fav is Simply Vietnam, but My Ha (off of Airport Blvd, in the same little center as the Airport Cinemas) was one of my go-to vietnamese places. I've heard iffy things about their lunch buffet, but I've only ever eaten there for dinner (many times) and it was good. Enjoyed their pho and fresh rolls w/peanut sauce (could live on those!).

                  In Petaluma, I love Old Chicago Pizza. I'm not an expert at deep dish pizza by any means, but the ones they crank out there are delish. Huge and hearty. Usually can only manage two slices and then the rest is leftovers for breakfast the next morning. *gryn* It's a neat place too, apparently back in the "old days" it was a "house of ill repute". You get a little bit of old west Petaluma history with your meal. They also do take out/to go orders.

                  Again in Petaluma, great fish and chips place, 4th & Sea, (on, go figure, 4th and C streets). They make a mean fish sammich...crispy fish, batter isn't too thick or dry and the fries are chunky and cooked just right. (Chunky with the skin still on...good stuff) Garlic fry option is great if you don't mind having garlic breath for the rest of the day. Their shakes are yummy as well, and sometimes they will have a special flavour of the week. My go-to shake is cherry/chocolate. (Yes they will combine flavours for you) Bonus points for having a dessert called the Sea Biscuit: deep fried twinkie with whipped cream and raspberry sauce. I haven't had the guts to try it yet, but from reports I've heard, it's tasty, if you go for that sort of thing.

                  Burger-wise, I really enjoy Mike's at the Crossroads, in Cotati. http://www.mikesburgers.com/ Big juicy burgers, but the thing is, he doesn't serve fries or shakes. You have other side options such as chips, potato salad, slaw, etc. If you can live without fries with your burger, I think Mike's has some of the best burgers in the county.

                  Oh, and here is a link to the "best take out food type place" discussion that might be helpful to you as well: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/428114

                  Hope all this helps you have a Chow-worthy trip to Sonoma county!

                  Pizza Gourmet
                  1415 Fulton Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

                  Tipp Thai Cuisine
                  1778 Piner Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

                  My Ha Restaurant
                  385 Aviation Blvd, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

                  Old Chicago
                  41 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

                  Fish & Chips 4th & Sea
                  101 4th St, Petaluma, CA 94952

                  Mike's At the Crossroads
                  7665 Old Redwood Hwy, Cotati, CA 94931

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: chocolateninja

                    this is most appreciated , I can taste the fish and chips/garlic fries already........love your name,chocolateninja .

                    1. re: chocolateninja

                      "Burger-wise, I really enjoy Mike's at the Crossroads, in Cotati. http://www.mikesburgers.com/ Big juicy burgers, but the thing is, he doesn't serve fries or shakes. You have other side options such as chips, potato salad, slaw, etc. If you can live without fries with your burger, I think Mike's has some of the best burgers in the county."

                      Mike is THE legendary burger nazi of Sonoma County right? I can't wait to try this place out.

                    2. Hey Pinotho- Other locals have given you a great list of places to go. Getting anywhere can be problematic because of street closures & heavy traffic areas. I suggest getting a map and studying before going out. This is an old post I made on SR, detailing food choices in different regions of town with tips for getting around (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/376275).

                      A couple of nicer places in the neighborhod that didn't get included are Zazu (http://www.zazurestaurant.com/index.html) and Stella's Cafe (http://www.stellascafe.net/) - Stella's recently moved a couple miles north into the old Russian River Vineyards, I haven't been since the move, but the site is gorgeous (organic gardens, views).

                      Enjoy your visit!

                      Zazu Restaurant
                      3535 Guerneville Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401

                      Stella's Cafe
                      5700 Gravenstein Hwy N, Forestville, CA 95436

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Stephanie Sugars

                        Stephanie, thanks for your suggestions , and I will take to heart your suggestion about the map and the traffic.

                        1. re: Stephanie Sugars

                          Speaking of Stella's...I went there when it was Topols, and one of the best things about it were the bats that would come out at dusk. They lived in the rafters of the winery right by the restaurant. Actually, it doesn't sound so cool now that I'm writing it, but it's not like they swooped down on your meal or anything. You'd barely even notice them if you didn't know to look. But if you did look--it was very cool. Plus, you could dine out on the patio without ever worrying about mosquitoes and other bugs. But, I haven't been there since the place reopened as Stella's . Does anyone know if the bats are still there?

                        2. With those coordinates, you'll want to pay attention to recs in Graton, Forestville, Windsor, and Sebastopol too.

                          Don't forget about the vintage drive-in, Carrs in Forestville. Love the southern Italian pastries at Sfoglia in Sebastopol.

                          Old post on Carrs Drive In -

                          For grabbing a sandwich and meal to go, Fiesta in Sebastapol or the local favorite, Speer's Market in Forestville.

                          Fiesta Market
                          550 Gravenstein Hwy N, Sebastopol, CA 95472

                          Carr's Drive In
                          6533 Covey Rd, Forestville, CA 95436

                          Sfoglia Bakery - CLOSED, now T-Rose Cafe
                          2661 Old Gravenstein Hwy, Sebastopol, CA 95472

                          Speer's Market
                          7891 Mirabel Rd, Forestville, CA 95436

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            Melanie , you're terrific...thanks for this.

                          2. Battaglini? Tara Bella? Sunce? Pellegrini? Harvest Moon?
                            If you have any wine recommendations, let us know.
                            Did anybody say Zazu? I haven't been there in a while, but it's high-end food but not formal. You could go to Geurneville Road by olivette and avoid all traffic. Also, getting to Graton from where you are would be more restful than going anywhere near 101.

                            Zazu Restaurant
                            3535 Guerneville Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: wearybashful

                              Bashful...thanks for this , 'tis appreciated . I ate at Zazu once , and it was great....disappointed that the traffic this year will not have improved ; I can just imagine how you locals feel about it .
                              Benovia Winery is somewhat new , but excellent....their winemaker , Mike Sullivan is of some repute , but more important , his wines are yummy...Pinot , Zin , and Chardonnay . Go to www.benovia.com , and get on their mailing list .

                              1. re: pinotho

                                Pinotho, that barrel tasting looks like a good opportunity to find out about the winery, even though I'm not really a good enough taster to extrapolate how the wine will turn out from the barrel tasting.

                                1. re: wearybashful

                                  Bashful : if you like Zin , call the winery and see if they have any of the 2005 left.......I had a bottle a week ago , and it was outstanding . I promptly ordered more , so a week ago they still had inventory . By the way , there is buzz about this wine on eRobertParker .(don't have to belong to access it)

                            2. Almost time for me to depart for God's country , so I thought I would kick this around one more time . Admittedly , there may be no more to kick around . THANKS to all you CHs .

                              10 Replies
                                  1. re: Stephanie Sugars

                                    mexican , chinese , hamburgers , fried chicken , you name it....

                                    1. re: pinotho

                                      Hamburgers: chocolateninja listed Superburger. Not on your side of town (it's on 4th street between College and Farmers Lane) but this place is not trying to look like an old-time diner. It's the real thing. They have pie. And malts. Real ones. There are no tables; just one U-shaped counter.

                                      1. re: wearybashful

                                        Alright... now I am seriously interested in trying this place. Somehow it always seems closed when I drive by it... any idea about hours?

                                        1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                          Eat Nopal, I guess Superburger's been rated lower than Mike at the Crossroad for the hamburger, but I still like the whole experience better. I'll try to spot the hours when I go by it.

                                          1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                            I think it is closed Mondays and tuesdays and is only open till around 4-5pm.

                                            Its always busy when I walk by.

                                          2. re: Eat_Nopal

                                            Okay, Eat Nopal, the sign on the door of Superburger says:
                                            Tues-Fri 11-6
                                            Sat 11-5
                                            closed Sun and Mon
                                            I think it must have been open later once upon a time.

                                            1. re: wearybashful

                                              Thanks... I must just notice it on Sundays & Mondays when I tend to drive by it!

                                    2. re: pinotho

                                      Please do let us know where your eating travels bring you while you are here. (: Safe travels and tasty eating!

                                    3. I'm a local girl and I am so impressed with the many recommendations and links in this thread. What a resource -- this thread is its own guidebook! Many thanks to the extensive posts and links to chocolate ninja (a ninja indeed!), kare raisu, eat nopal, melanie (the ne plus ultra resource), like frog, stephanie and others...

                                      Pinotho, I think you hit the jackpot...now, please report back! All best during the crush...M.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: maria lorraine

                                        Hi Maria hopefully you can get to some of our chow downs... Stephanie, Kare Raisu, HomerandSatchi... the wife & baby and I just got back from Pupuseria Salvadorena... and it was quite good (improved since I was last there).

                                      2. Hi- Just curious...now that you've spent a week in Santa Rosa, worked hard and recuperated...I wonder what and how well you ate. Any reviews to share? Thanks.

                                        1. Superb California style pizza at Pizza Gourmet. Located in north corner strip mall at corner of Guerneville Rd and Fulton Rd. We often go for half BBQ chicken and half Mexicana. I'm a transplanted New Yorker and think Pizza Gourmet rocks!