Memorable dinner for 8 in Sonoma
Hi! We are 8 girlfriends traveling to Sonoma later this month. We rented a fully stocked villa in Glen Ellen and will be cooking most meals there...but we wanted to plan one great meal out. We are open to all kinds of cuisine but something that incorporates the flavors and character of the region would be nice. Ideally we'd keep it within short driving distance from Glen Ellen. I have found a lot of lists displaying top restaurants, but I wanted to call on the assistance of the hounds. :) Thanks in advance!
What sort of price range and how close is a 'short driving distance'? The town of Sonoma is only about 15 to 20 minutes drive depending on traffic, so you might want to do a search for Sonoma restaurants and then ask a few questions depending on what sounds good. Lots of posts to search to help narrow it down...as for my personal preferences near the Sonoma Plaza, I really enjoyed Harvest Moon Cafe, but it might be a bit small for a group of eight (unless you can get a seat on the patio in back), and have had very good group meals at La Salette. Unlike many on the boards, I am not a fan of the food at The General's Daughter, though in summer their patio could be quite nice...
There are also several options in the town of Glen Ellen, most of which I haven't tried, so perhaps others can chime in. One I do like is Fig Cafe, though it may be more informal than you are seeking and doesn't take reservations, which could be problematic for eight. Free corkage though!
My father and stepmother, who live in Glen Ellen, have been enjoying the new place in town, Bluegrass Bar and Grill. Don't think it is necessarily what you have in mind, but may be worth checking out. Only one CH report that I could find (see the link), from shortly after they opened, which was decidedly mixed but did say the place had promise. I do intend to check it out myself before too long...
Have fun, its a great town, and please do report back on your thoughts!.
452 First Street East, Suite H, Sonoma, CA 95476
Harvest Moon Cafe
487 First Street West, Sonoma, CA 95476
13690 Arnold Dr, Glen Ellen, CA 95442
The General's Daughter (CLOSED)
400 W Spain St, Sonoma, CA 95476
Bluegrass Bar & Grill
14301 Arnold Dr, Glen Ellen, CA
In Glen Ellen, I second the recommendation and concerns about Fig Cafe. I'd skip Bluegrass - we went a couple of weeks ago and while it wasn't awful, it was loud and the food was mediocre. Full bar and decent cocktails, though, so if you get tired of wine, it's not a bad stop for drinks.
In Sonoma, I'd recommend El Dorado Kitchen for a girls night out. It's more contemporary than the other restaurants in town, and the food and cocktails are very good. The other places in town are a bit more sedate and old fashioned, which probably isn't the vibe you're going for.
El Dorado Kitchenette
405 First St. West, Sonoma, CA 95476
The advantage of the The Fig Cafe is that you could walk from most places in Glen Ellen, which is nice if anyone wants to imbibe. Although they don't usually take reservations, they might for a party of 8. It is a small room, though. Another poster mentions BlueGrass saloon in Glen Ellen, but I wouldn't do that for a "special" meal. The food is "okay", but not really of the flavor and character of the region. It would be a fun place to have drinks one night, though.
In the town of Sonoma, I like La Salette, which even though it has a Portuguese background seems very Sonoma to me.