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Feb 21, 2008 06:07 AM

Chicago Guy Needs Gourmet Grocery and Dining Recs in Santa Rosa

I will be taking a long weekend in Santa Rosa starting tomorrow, Feb 22nd. Since I will have a kitchen I wanted to stock up on high quality groceries and I need a heads up on where to go. Also, I need to line up some places for dinner while I am in the Sonoma area. I have a reservation at Cyrus for Sunday, but I am looking for good places around Santa Rosa. Last time I was in town I went to Willis so I will definitely go back for lunch or dinner, but does anyone have any other recs.

If you are coming to Chicago any time soon I can definitely return the favor :).

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  1. There's an Oliver's market in the Montecito Center in Santa Rosa where you can get pretty much any grocery item your heart desires. I have a slight preference for the original Oliver's in Cotati, but probably not strong enough to drive to Cotati when there's one right there in Santa Rosa. The Santa Rosa farmers' market takes place at the fairgrounds every Saturday morning, rain or shine, but it's pretty sparse when the weather is bad, which it probably will be this weekend. Imwalle Gardens, 685 West Third in Santa Rosa, is reliable for the best of the season's produce. It's early in the season, but interesting things are already cropping (ha ha - pun intended) up. For gourmet dining, my first choice would be the Farmhouse Inn. It's on River Road in Forestville, not far from Santa Rosa. It may be too late for a reservation this weekend, but it would be worth a try. They are famous for the rabbit three ways, which my husband loves. I've tried bites of his, and it is indeed wonderful. But they have a way with halibut, my favorite fish, that makes it taste so heavenly that I always order it if it's on the menu.

    1. For dining I would recommend Monti's

      Monti's Rotisserie & Bar
      714 Village Ct, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

      1. Haven't tried it. No one's reported on it. However, there is the new Stark's Steakhouse by the owners of Willi's Wine Bar. Here's a link to more info.

        Then again, coming from Chicago, maybe steak isn't what you would be looking for. If you do go, hope you will report back.

        Here's a list of places in Santa Rosa

        Mathos Cheese factory sells artisan Portuguese cheese at rock bottom prices. More info here

        Here's some info about Traverso's Gourmet Foods

        I personally love Tierra as a source of dried peppers. If they have the smoked dried onions ... you MUST get them.

        Willie Bird has excellent turkey products

        Asia Gourmet

        Cafe Saint Rose is on my 'to try' list

        Grocery Outlet has some amazing deals and quite a selection of organic groceries. It is really bargain shopping though.

        Flying Goat is a good local coffee roaster

        Lola's is a great Mexican market. I like this location the best since it is much bigger and has a deli

        If this helps, the best way to return the favor is to report back ... which helps you too on your next trip since we get to know your tastes.

        1. Lots of Santa Rosa places at this post

          Oliver's Market now has a store on Stony Point, just north of Highway 12 between Occidental Road & West 3rd Street. This is more accessible on the west side of town and just down 3rd from Imwalle's. The one on Montecito Avenue is in the east.

          The farm market may be rainy, but you're still likely to find bread, cheese, fish, greens, citrus and other treats there. It's at the Veterans' Memorial building which is across Highway 12 from the fairgrounds.

          Check out Pupuseria Salvadorena while you're there, it's in the strip mall just east of the farm market. They've breakfast too.

          Asia Gourmet is closing next week. My friend said everything is discounted. They've great cooking implements as well as food and gifts.

          On Saturday Relish Culinary Adventures (Healdsburg, CA) has a cheesemaking workshop that looks interesting. There's a big cheese event March 7-10 in Sonoma County that also looks good.

          Stay dry and drive safe!

          1. I will be in Chicago next again... Lombard to be specific... I have India Palace down... and really like the Pakistani place on North Ave across the street from Subway... great Goat Curry... what do you have for me in that area? Some Mexican equivalent to Sol de Mexico would be great... i would even stoop for something like Frontera Grill =)

            Santa Rosa... all the gourmet markets I have found are a bit bleh... some have something good others have something else... nothing I would call the complete package.

            I live down the street from Oliver's but rarely shop there... the produce department is a midget... nothing too exciting... prices that make Whole Foods look like the 99 Cent store. The meat department is decent... they are really good at giving you free bones, hocks, marrow bones etc., so if you are going to make something along those lines... that is a good place to start.

            Pacific Market... take 3 long steps and you have left the produce department... but their meat department & head butcher are the best among the high end places.

            Lola's has a lot of neat Mexican produce like Quelites, Huazontle, Guaje pods, Watercress, a great Chile section, Cremas, Bulk Yogurt etc., some of the best prices in town.... inconsistent on fruit... but they will often, miraculously have great Peaches, Melons, Mangos & Watermelons at very good prices when everyone else has the crappy $2.50 per pound to boot stuff.

            Another great place for produce is a Chinese market G&G... also good source for Asian packaged goods.

            The seafood vendor at the Santa Rosa farmers market is phenomenol... among the best I have encountered anywhere.

            The Whole Foods on Yulupa sometimes has decent seafood... I just bought some decent sashimi grade Yellowtail over the weekend but the fish monger & butcher there are pretty clueless otherwise.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Eat_Nopal

              Thanks very much all of this is very helpful.

              As far as returning the favor, I am less experienced with Lombard than Chicago, as Lombard is west of the city by about 45 minutes, but I have had I few good meals in Oakbrook at mini-chains like Mike Ditkas and Mon Ami Gabi (both high quality.) If you like Indian/Pakistani food and can make it into the city nothing beats Devon Ave. area, try Hemas Kitchen, Tiffin, and Udupi Palace. If you want Mexican in the city and like upscale as you mention Frontera/Topolobampo, Adobo Grill, Salpicon are great. If you can make it the south side and like tacquerias then start in the Pilsen neighborhood.