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Mar 19, 2008 07:37 PM

Sonoma in April! Good lunch suggestions?

I am thrilled to say that we will be staying in a cottage in Sonoma for the first week of April (and I recommend to all those who are inspired to do the same). We will be taking day trips all the way up to Mendocino and closer by. Do chowhounds have some good ideas for places we can stop for lunch? Already plan to have dinner locally at the Girl and the Fig and may return to the Jimtown Store outside Healdsburg, but we are open to any and all suggestions. Also, what day(s) of the week is the Sonoma and Healdsburg farmer's markets? Eagerly awaiting your suggestions, with thanks!

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  1. Isn't Mendocino about a 3 hour drive from Sonoma? That would be awfully far for a day trip (for me, anyway.... I don't want to spend more time on the road than at my destination!)

    Personally, I'd recommend a visit to West Marin, especially Point Reyes Station. It's not quite as far a drive, and is a great food destination. Cowgirl Creamery for cheese (they have tours on Friday mornings), several places for oysters, Bovine Bakery.

    Sonoma's Farmers Market is Friday mornings. Hector's Honey is usually there, with great local honey (and particularly their honeycombs, which pair well with cheeses).


    11 Replies
    1. re: waldrons

      The Tuesday night Sonoma market should start in April.

      You can use the above link to find other farmers markets.

      1. re: rworange

        Sonoma also has the Farmer's market on Fridays right now. It is in the parking lot of next to The Depot restaurant, where the baseball fields are (behind the Barracks).

        The Swiss hotel does a great lunch. They have some nice pasta dishes and an outstanding burger.

        The Ledson hotel has a great, but pricey lunch. If the weather isn't too rainy, their patio is fun to dine on.

        Basque Boulangerie doesn't have a lot of seating, and can often be crowded, but they make nice soups and sandwiches, and have nice desserts.

        The Sunflower Cafe has a very cool back patio, and they have nice salads and decent sandwiches, and good coffee.

        I've never had a bad meal at the Thai place that is in the Victorian right off of the Square, on Napa, either. And it's not super expensive, either.

        And, the poster who mentioned Mondocino being several hours away from Sonoma is right. It would be a tough day trip. How about taking a look at the Russian River Valley instead? Or the Bodega Bay area? Bodega's about an hour and a half from Sonoma, at the most.

        1. re: wineaux73

          Thanks so much, everyone! I'm all in favor of shorter trips, especially to all these beautiful sounding places (dyed-in-the-wool new yorker, so glad you all know about these!). Any restaurants in Bodega Bay you especially like or favorites in the Russian River Valley? We're already planning to go to West Marin/Point Reyes as suggested!

          1. re: west village foodie

            some people may argue with me, but I really like the Sandpiper in Bodega bay. They have decent chowder, the view is of the marina is nice, and it's a well-kept restaurant with a nice local wine list. The staff is pretty friendly, too. I had grilled salmon the last time I was there, my friend had fish and chips, and my s/o had a sort of seafood stew and it was all quite good. It's been about a year, but I ate there several times last year and thought it was good and not too touristy.

            1. re: wineaux73

              Always nice to know about a place that might not be amazing, but good for what it is.

              Sandpiper Restaurant
              1410 Bay Flat Rd, Bodega Bay, CA 94923

            2. re: west village foodie

              A great restaurant option exists in Valley Ford, on the way to Bodega Bay. Rocker Oysterfeller. Just went back for our second visit in a month (and we live in SF)! The pork shoulder, fried chicken and mac & cheese are all quite delicious. Service is very friendly. Atmosphere is casual. Also, a nice, comfortable full bar is available off the dining room.

            3. re: wineaux73

              I thought Ledson had closed their restaurant in Sonoma and turned it into a tasting room?


              1. re: wineaux73

                You are thinking of Rins Thai which is a GREAT place for lunch; it was a favorite of mine when I lived there. There is also Red Grape Pizza which has nice fire-grilled individual pizzas and hearty, hefty, healthy salads.

                1. re: Carrie 218

                  I second Red Grape pizza, especially their garlic knots, which are stuffed with whole roasted garlic cloves. It's right in Sonoma, just off the town square.

                  1. re: stomachofsteel


                    Red Grape Pizzeria
                    529 1st St W, Sonoma, CA 95476

                  2. re: Carrie 218

                    I second the comments about Rin's. Good food and the people who own it are very nice. They have a patio at the side that they use depending on the weather.

            4. Oh, and I should say that the Seaweed cafe in Bodega was good too. Organic, and they change their menu seasonally and have some unique stuff, usually. And it's a pretty restaurant. But, it's kinda expensive. Well, so much is around there, but at least it isn't mediocre and run of the mill in taste, like Inn at the Tides. Rip off 'O Rama!

              3 Replies
              1. re: wineaux73

                I just thought of another one in Point Reyes. It's probably been mentioned somewhere on this board at some point, The Station Cafe. They have a really nice garden, and I beleive the majority of their food is local, organic. I had oysters from Tomales bay (nearby) and they were absolutely delicious. They use Neiman ranch beef, which is good quality stuff, IMO. The veggies in my salad were tasteful. Service was ok, but the atmosphere was even better.

                Try the Point Reyes Bleu cheese! yum...........................

                1. re: wineaux73

                  Second the rec for Point Reyes Station -- and highly recommend the oyster fettuccine with mushrooms. I've also had really great breakfast/brunches there as well but prefer to go for lunch when the oysters on the menu!

                  1. re: wineaux73

                    I admit that I've not tried many places in Point Reyes Station, mostly because I've been so pleasantly surprised with the Station Cafe. Agreed that they oysters are great (even the fried version), the sandwiches and all lunch entrees are fresh and tasty.

                2. Since you plan to be in Healdsburg, you should just go a few miles north to Geyserville and try Santi. It's a wonderful Italian restaurant that uses many ingredients from their own garden. I live in the area and it is a favorite. Check to see which days they are open for lunch. Enjoy

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: chadders

                    I agree w/ those who said the Red Grape is good. My last experience there wasn't that great though, service-wise.

                    I haven't lived in Sonoma for about a year, so I am not sure if Ledson shut down the restaurant. I'd be surprised if they did. I thought the shop next door was their tasting room? The one w/ lots of high priced kitchen stuff and linens? I could be wrong. I never went in.

                    1. re: wineaux73

                      According to the websites there's the Harmony Lounge at the Ledson Hotel which has small plates

                      There is also a deli at the winery

                  2. Cafe Saint Rose which is moving from Santa Rosa to the old Two Crows retaurant on Bodega Hwy outside Sebastopol. i am not sure if Mark does lunch but that he is a special local chef.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: baconspit

                      What's the "old" Two Crows restaurant? I was just in whatever the current one is today, and it didn't look either terribly new or on the verge of closing up shop. Didn't get a chance to try the food, but I did ask about the fish and when they have it on the menu it's fresh from Bodega Bay.

                      Edited to add: Press Demo's "biteclub" says it will be Two Crows Roadhouse through sometime in April, then become Cafe Saint Rose, whose chef lives a stone's throw from Two Crows. Two Crows will not have a "new" location.

                      1. re: SteveG

                        Cafe Saint Rose had its soft opening last thursday, I heard. Anyone checked out the new digs (and chow!) yet?

                        Cafe Saint Rose
                        9890 Bodega Hwy, Sebastopol, CA 95472

                    2. Thank you all so much for your mouthwatering suggestions! I will give you a full report upon return and please know that I will check in here right up until we leave on Friday if anyone else has one more place that you think we should try. Yum!