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May 23, 2008 09:49 PM

First time to Sonoma

Like every other wine geek out there, I know what vineyards I am visiting, but I would love to here where is the best eats in town.

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  1. Where in Sonoma County, which is a vast area? The city of Sonoma, just to be clear, is located at the southern end of Sonoma County. Where will you be staying and winetasting? The Russian River, Dry Creek and Westside Road areas are all near Healdsburg, northern Sonoma County. In which case, you can do a city search for whatever city you'll be near and get lots of good info to fine-tune your question.

    15 Replies
    1. re: maria lorraine

      We are spending 2 days in the town of Sonoma at 2 different wineries, then 2 days in Healdsburg(unconfirmed to which wineries we are staying). We are going to Bistro Ralph which was highly recommended but from there it is fare game. Being in the restaurant industry and traveling with a regional wine sales manager we am at the whim of some of the wineries as to who will take care of us and how.

      1. re: rouellet

        Sounds like you are in the hands of an expert. If you want, do a search on the cities of Sonoma and Healdsburg. Lots of reports here.

        1. re: rouellet

          Rouellet, hook a brother up, please. What are the wineries you recommend? My wife and I will be in Santa Rosa for a few days soon.

          1. re: PeterB

            I have never been to Sonoma so I am giving you my recomendations buy who wine I like to drink, plus I am planning on visitiong all of them when I go out there. Siduri, Matanzas Creek, Martin Ray, Sebastiani(Sonoma), Chateau St.Jean(Kenwood), Jordan and Clos du Bois both in Healdsburg. I know most of these all have tasting rooms but call and check on the times with each one. Let me know what you think and how you like the wine.

            1. re: rouellet

              Bistro Ralph is great and right around the block is a fun restaurant called Ravenous (American/Italian food), depending on the time of year you go, ask to sit on the back porch!

              Great breakfast/art place is a place called Palette Art Cafe.

              As for wineries, I recommend going onto Dry Creek Road and just past the General Store on the right is a place called the "Family Wineries" They are all amazing small time wineries, with my favorite pinot from a place called Papapietro Perry

              1. re: Shana Ray

                I already called Bistro Ralph for a reservation and they said they book 60 days out. Ravenous looks neat with some fun food. I am very curious about this Family Wineries. Are they a one stop tasting room for several wineries? Do I need to make reservations?

              2. re: rouellet

                Thanks. Several of those overlap with a list from a friend of mine who is a wine writer and particularly likes the Dry Creek Valley. His list includes Dry Creek Vineyards, Quivira, Nalle and/or Frei (Gallo owned), Peterson, B.R. Cohn,Dashe Cellars, Robert Stemmler, Buena Vista,Ridge (Lytton Springs), MacCrostie, and J Vineyards . So many choices! I can't wait.

                1. re: PeterB

                  Food - Willi's Seafood, Dry Creek Kitchen, Cena Luna all good.

                  Wineries - Lynmar, Porter Creek, Quivara, Nalle, Arista, and Gary Farrell are all worth a stop.

                  1. re: noladude

                    just to expand on this...will be staying in Santa Rosa. What is the best place to eat at?

                    1. re: trinyc

                      Looking for dinner options last Friday night, I did a search on this board for Santa Rosa restaurants, and came away with 19 printed pages worth. Many threads asked the same question as you.

                  2. re: PeterB

                    Ridge is one of my favorite Zinfandel producers and there Monte Bello generally awesome.Dry Creek is also very good.

              3. re: rouellet

                Its not in Healdsburg, but a tiny spot called Forestville about a 25 min drive, but one of my favorite restaurants ever is the Farmhouse Inn. Open for dinner only and should definitely make a reservation.


                1. re: miamisage

                  I am a big fan of Sonoma west and north of Sebastopol. Iron Horse has great views and lots of sparkling wines. The small town of Forestville has a place called Mosaic - had a good inexpensive lunch there on the back porch. Quiet and peaceful. West County Grill is also a nice place in Sebastopol. The western side is a little more country than upscale Healdsburg.

                  Had a nice tasting at Lynmar - you get to sit outside and look at their garden. Wines are pricey and tastings are not free - so you need to pay for all that beauty.

                  Odysseus in Windsor was great when I went, and Mirepoix was good as well.

                  1. re: Pavement2112

                    thanks pavement 2112--is west county grill still good? I had read that it was going downhill.

                    1. re: trinyc

                      Not sure that West County Grill was ever "uphill", never got any love on this board that I can recall, and mostly seemed to be a big disappointment.

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