Casual, Mid-Priced in Sonoma/Santa Rosa
Looking for spots to recommend to my wedding guests. Most of the usual suspects (La Haye, GD, Harvest Moon, LaSalette) are a bit on the spendy side. Looking for something good with dinner entrees in the $15 range. Rosso is on my list.
Also looking for casual, lunch spots. Citti and Olive & Vine are on the list.
Oh, and sense this is not for me, you can ignore my standard "organic food or death" requirement :)
On the Diner front... people may think I am crazy... but Chubby's makes some of the best CFS west on the West Coast (just ask for Gravy on the side). We just ate there over the weekend... and I had a solid Split Pea Soup with Bacon (large bowl), succulent CFS with a huge portion of coarsely mashed, chive Potatoes, a decent serving of expertly roasted sliced carrots & zucchini, a small bowl of gravy, and 2 slices of garlic bread.... for $8.95
The OP did....
1) Burrata tasted like Cottage Cheese
2) Cesar Salad Piadini is terrible on many levels
3) Chickpea Spread was tasteless and lacked character
4) Still no cocktails or desserts
Honestly, for about the same money I would rather eat at California Pizza Kitchen even if I got kicked off Chowhound!
Oh DOH...I completely missed the mention of Rosso in the OP's post. Apparently it's time for me to get some glasses in my "old age". Oof...well, I understand why you feel that Rosso disappoints, with that list.
I've been to Rosso twice so far (haven't tried the chickpea spread though), and have enjoyed it both times. I am bummed, however, about the lack of desserts as well. I mentioned that to them last week on the phone, and that I think an affogoto (shot of espresso over ice cream) offering would be a great dessert choice for them, seeing as how they serve lovely Ecco coffee/espresso shots. I was told that they would want to make the ice cream or gelato themselves (I got the impression that they don't have the resources currently to get into making their own ice cream/gelato), and they don' t currently have a freezer in the place, (and probably not much space for one either...space is at a premium there I think). )-:
For a drinking lunch and GREAT beer, check out Russian River Brewing in downtown Santa Rosa. Good for happy hour specials too, if you need to host another gathering.
I've only had the hot dog, but others recommend the burgers at Happy Dog in Sonoma. Other than that, I haven't eaten in the town of Sonoma or Glen Ellen for a while. Maybe someone else can update us on ones that I liked before: Taste of the Himalayas, Fig Cafe, Follini & Eichenbaum, Fig Pantry, and Garden Court.
Lococo's Cucina Rustica
117 4th St, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
18762 Sonoma Hwy, Sonoma, CA 95476
the fig pantry
1190 E Napa St, Sonoma, CA 95476
40 Calle del Monte, Sonoma, CA 95476
Russian River Brewing Co.
725 4th St, Santa Rosa, CA 95404
13690 Arnold Dr, Glen Ellen, CA 95442
Taste of the Himalayas
464 1st St E, Sonoma, CA 95476
421 1st St W, Sonoma, CA 95476
Garden Court Cafe
13647 Arnold Dr, Glen Ellen, CA 95442
Follini & Eichenbaum
19100 Arnold Dr, Sonoma, CA
re: Melanie Wong
Forgot one, Worth Our Weight, a culinary apprenticeship program that offers Friday lunch and Sunday brunch in downtown Santa Rosa. I'm sure the "seed to plate" mission will resonate with you. I've only had a sample of the baked goods at the farmers market, but it was good and reports here have been favorable. I picked up a sample menu on Saturday and it seems to be ala carte now and not buffet. Lunch and brunch items range from $5.50 (e.g., biscuits and gravy, cornmeal pancakes with real maple syrup, homemade granola with Straus yogurt) to $8 (e.g., masala dosa with Fulton Valley chicken, pork chop with garlic mashers, fattoush).
Worth Our Weight
1021 Hahman Dr, Santa Rosa, CA 95405
re: Melanie Wong
My most recent lunch at Fig Cafe, perhaps four months ago (?) was excellent; particularly the mussels and frites my father and I both ordered. Hubby had a quiche on special which he really enjoyed, but which I didn't taste...and IIRC my stepmom really liked a salad, but unfortunately can't remember which one it was...
re: Melanie Wong
The Garden Court Cafe & Bakery continues to please. Sunday breakfast today was Granny's Sausage Gravy with 2 biscuits $7.75 and the special of the day - Tuscan Frittata $11.25 - both dishes were delicious.
The sausage gravy bowl is generous with chunks of sausage and the milk gravy is just to my liking - not too thick, not too salty. The biscuits are light, flakey and big. The frittata of roasted red peppers, tomatoes, spinach and cheese came with a choice of grits or potatoes and a choice of bread - we highly recommend the whole wheat toast! This should be added to the regular menu offerings - it's that good.
To stave off hunger as you wait for a table on a bustling weekend morning, coffee and nibbles of the orange brioche and the pecan roll are offered on the back patio while you wait for your name to be called off the sign-in sheet at the front door. Service was quick, warm and friendly.
re: Mick Ruthven
It would have to have improved since last year when a poster called the food shockingly bad and like something from El Torito. On the bright side he was impressed with the 150 tequelas ... so if you drink enough ...
Looking around on the web to see if they improved since then. It seemed likeit closed for a while and reopened in 2007.
The people who thought it was delish and yummy and thought it authentic Mexican liked the fried jalepeno poppers filled with cream cheese and the pomegranite martini. However there were mentions of taco sauce that was too sweet, stale chips, chewy Swiss chard Someone concurred in sentiment with the linked post above calling the food unbelievably dreadful.
The shrimp enchilada wrapped in a green flour cilantro tortilla in tarragon sauce might have visual appeal
Looking at the menu the quail salad peaked my interest till I saw the ingrediants ...
pan-seared quail / mixed greens; tomatoes, avocado, mango & strawberries / dijon-balsamic glaze
They do have $3 margaritas at happy hour with all the free chips and salsa you can eat.
Seems more Cal-Mexican. so maybe with those expectations...
Maya's version of chili relleno - pasilla pepper stuffed with cornbread & habanero jack cheese / orange-tomato sauce
Another family friendly dinner place in Sonoma is Breakaway Cafe (in the Lucky's shopping center on hwy 12 north of town). Looks like a Denny's, but is actually local and decent. Can easily get a dinner for $15, also has full bar for out of townies who don't like wine! Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, coffee shop type food.
For a very casual, taqueria-style dinner in Sonoma (or Boyes, I'm not sure where the division is), try Tacos El Cactus. It is off highway 12, behind a little Mexican market called La Morenita. Address is 40 Calle del Monte. My husband (a big eater) and I can eat there for about $24 total. They have a nice little patio, and you are right in the middle of little Mexico. Nice folks, will do whatever you like even if it's not on the menu. Not professional, but very friendly and clean.
Big fan of Rin's Thai food, in Sonoma, right off the square/plaza. Tasty, affordable (I think the dinner entrees would fit the $15 range easily, and for lunch as well).
In Santa Rosa, Lo Coco's Cucina Rustica, in old railroad square is good for yummy, affordable Italian for lunch or dinner. Cafe Japan, in Santa Rosa, has excellent bento box lunches that run from $9 - $15, and great hot pot/udon noodle dishes...nice sized portions as well, not to mention excellent sushi. (: Oh, and Dierk's Parkside Cafe serves lunch every day (including weekends) til 2:30pm. Don't let the "hole in the wall" location fool you...it's great food...focus on local ingredients, etc. I've only had their breakfast options so far, but I've been very pleased with it.
Oh, and there is a thai place on the outskirts of Santa Rosa, off of Hwy 12, on the way from Sonoma into Santa Rosa, that I haven't tried yet, but I know that Eat Nopal really liked it...let me find it...Here it is, Mekong Thai, http://www.chowhound.com/topics/432299
Chloe's French Cafe is also excellent for the weekday...breakfast, lunch or dinner (They are open til evening on Fridays).
Oh, and if you/your guests are feeling adventurous, Abysinnia for Ethiopian/Eritrean food...it is located in downtown Santa Rosa on 4th Street.
Lococo's Cucina Rustica
117 4th St, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Thai Mekong Restaurant
52 Mission Cir Ste 111, Santa Rosa, CA 95409
98 Old Courthouse Square, Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Dierk's Parkside Cafe
404 Santa Rosa Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Chloe's French Cafe
3883 Airway Drive 145, Santa Rosa, CA 95403
913 4th St, Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Rin's Thai of Sonoma
139 E Napa St, Sonoma, CA 95476