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Jun 5, 2008 10:14 AM

ISO Russian River Family Eats Recs

Friends and I are renting a couple house in Forestville (on river) for two weeks in August. Bunch of little kids -- ages 6 down to 2.5. Unfamiliar with the area so looking for advice in following areas:
* recommendations of good family-friendly eating places. From casual to nice. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
* Ice cream shops too.
* Any river-side dining/beach food.
* Farms that serve meals -- were kids can literally see where there food is coming from.
* Places to buy good local produce, groceries, wine.(have some good cooks in the mix)

*Any "must-eat" grown-up restaurants in the area

Have transportation -- so a bit of driving not a problem.


*** ALSO if there have been threads already posted on this, please let me know.

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  1. I'm not very familiar with the area, but here's what Places turns up for Forestville. Some will have linked reports

    This is a longer list that has businesses in the Russian River area. Sorry, it includes a lot of wineries. When I was adding records I didn't realize they couldn't be excluded in searches.

    You might also search by city as all of the Place records might not mention "Russian River" So search on Guerneville to get more info for that town.

    Here's my winery map which you can use to eyeball the cities nearest Forestville

    For grown-up restaurants, Farmhouse Inn gets lots of positive mentions.

    If you get down to Sebastopol, Screamin Mimi's has great ice cream.

    In Healdsburg there is Bovolo gelato and Downtown makes wonderful ice cream. It tastes like summer.

    Here's a list of farmers markets. If you search by Sonoma County you will see all for that county by day of the week. The Saturday Healdsburg farmers market is a great place to get picnic foods.

    Have a nice time. I hope you will report back which will help other visitors like yourself.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      Oh great. Thanks! This is really helpful! Will be sure to report back.

      1. re: bite bite

        It looks like the link for the California farmers markets didn't take. Here it is

    2. May I suggest the Union Hotel in Occidental, just a few minutes south of the river?

      This is an old-school Italian-American, family-style dinner house and bar. The unabashedly retro menu hasn't changed much in 50 years.

      There may be no Chowhound consensus on the Union Hotel. Some people will slam the food for being boring or bland or reactionary. (A search here or on might be in order.) I would say I appreciate the Union Hotel for all the things it IS, rather than for all the things it is not. A lot of happy family roadtrip memories over the decades, superb vegetable soup and chicken, among other things.

      Sushi Monster

      4 Replies
      1. re: Sushi Monster

        I agree with the Union Hotel in Occidental (15 minutes from Forestville if you go via the town of Graton) for family style Italian. Very basic pastas and meats with good minestrone soup (and very affordable versus S.F. prices) Perfect for the whole family. I recently had an incredible meal at Mosaic in Forestville (right on Hwy 116 or "Main Street"). Perfect for the grownups. Coffee rubbed filet was great and the special mushroom appetizer with Brie are not to be missed. Sit outside if it's warm enough.

        1. re: grubber4

          I also like the Union Hotel - their prices in the main dining room have gone up recently, but the pizzeria dining room is great for families and reasonably priced. They have spumoni ice cream that is out of this world - its made by a dairy in Petaluma. There is also a little restaurant on the same side of the street - Howard's Cafe and Juice Bar - great food, organic. If you get into Windsor, KC's Grill is a great family place - it's on the town green

          1. re: sonomasal


            Union Hotel Restaurant
            Main St, Occidental, CA 95465

            1. re: sonomasal

              I haven't been to the Union Hotel in at least thirty years (though those are some good memories)....and thanks for this tip about spumoni! Are you listening, JanetofReno? ....though I couldn't find any mention of it on the website menus:


              It sounds like the dairy mentioned is probably Clover Stornetta (?):


              hmm...road trip in order to search out spumoni to serve BIL when he next comes to town <g>.

        2. We used to like Topolos Russian River Vinyard, which went belly-up and is now Stell'a's. It is in Forestville on Gravenstien Hwy. Haven't been there, but reviews are good.

            1. Wow. This is great! So excited for our trip now. Thx all!