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dinner in Russian River

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My 30th birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks, and I'm planning on spending the day at the Russian River Food and Wine Fest with a couple of friends. I'm looking for a place to have dinner that night -- I had been planning on going to Cyrus, but I left it too late, and we're on the waiting list. Could anyone suggest a special occasion place in the Rio Monte/Guerneville/Healdsburg area as an alternative?
Also, if anyone can recommend a cheap but fairly nice place to stay in the area, that would also be much appreciated -- we'd like to save our money for the food, but I'd prefer to avoid staying in a Motel 6.
Thanks for any advice.

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  1. The Farmhouse in Forestville!!! It is on River Road, right in the heart of RRV.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Madge

      I saw that people on the boards loved that place, but when I looked at their online menu it didn't look like what I was looking for -- it looked a little classical, and I was looking for something a little different. Did you find the dishes unique/creative?

      1. re: jctl

        I've been a number of times and it has always been damn tasty. If you like cheese, they do a beautiful cheese service.
        All aspects of the experience have always been spot on for me. The wine list, wine service, table service, deliciousness of food, the decor of dining room, all of it rings true. It is gracious, humble, and gives a pitch perfect feel for a sense of place.

        1. re: jctl

          I have to agree with Farmhouse Inn. It is not cutting edge, but it is the best damn food in Sonoma.

          1. re: whiner

            In Forestville, I hear that Mosaic is really good, but I have not been myself. You should try doing a seach for other topic threads discussing the RRV.

            I can reccommend Underwood in Graton (about 10-15 minutes from Guerneville). It is commented on in another post from a couple days ago. If you want to stay somewhere close you could look into the Holiday Inn Express in Sebastopol. It's right on Hwy 116 and about a 25 minute drive to Guerneville. If you stay there, you can eat at GTO's- right downtown Sebastopol. It has a delicious, cajun inspired menu and awesome cocktails. There is also the K & L bitro. It's been a few years since I've been there, but it was recently michelin rated.

            If you can make it to Healdsburg there are plenty of delicious food options from casual to formal. Good Luck!

            1. re: misscotati

              here's a thread:
              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/386481

              I haven't had dinner yet at Mirepoix in Windsor... but I am curious.
              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/424868

      2. I'm not sure if it's fancy enough for you but I've had great dinners at Zin in Healdsburg.

        1. No need to go so far from Monte Rio! There was a very recent thread about this area, so I'll try to be brief. For a special place for dinner, I'd say that you can't go wrong at Farmhouse Inn (I posted a long review of my last meal there in June or July) but even closer is Applewood Inn, in Guerneville. I also posted a long review of my last meal there, but that was probably a year or so ago. It's a lovely setting and the service is impeccable. I had the best roasted duck breast I have ever eaten there, and a blood orange creme brulee that was heavenly. The menu changes seasonally. A bit less "special occasion" but still very good is Bistro des Copains in Occidental. It's more casual but the food is still excellent. The oysters are perfectly fresh. Even more casual is Cafe des Jumelles, in Monte Rio right across the street from the Food and Wine Fest. There have been several mentions of this place recently. The chef has experience at some high end places in San Francisco, but chose to simplify his life and has opened a very simple coffee shop with some really excellent food. Short but workable wine list, or free corkage for any bottle purchased at Sophie's Cellars, right down the street. We aren't supposed to get into hotel recommendations here, but suffice to say that there are many charming, reasonable hotels and cabins for rent right in Monte Rio. You could easily find something in walking distance of the Food and Wine Fest.