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Jul 8, 2008 03:12 PM

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!

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  1. Well, if you are willing to negotiate on the "short drive" aspect, I'd say go to Farmhouse Inn...

    1. 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 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

      Fig Cafe
      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

      5 Replies
      1. re: susancinsf

        Note that Chef Preston Dishman and his wife, Nicole, who manages the front of the house will both be leaving The General's Daughter at the end of July, per the Press Democrat.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Thanks. Good to read he is starting his own restaurant. The Press Democrat article made is sound like he was looking for a job. Hope Conduit's Clinton Bertrand does General's Daughter proud.

              1. re: rworange

                The PD reports that Chef Preston Dishman will be moving to Viognier in San Mateo.


      2. 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

        1. Thank you! I will look into all of the places mentioned. And for additional suggestions, we would definitely be willing to travel say up to 30 minutes for a great place.

          1. I would recommend Deuce in the town of Sonoma, great local wine list, fine selection of menu items and the owners are always present at the bar or serving! Enjoy the meal and enjoy Sonoma!
            Sheana D