Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Aug 16, 2008 07:26 PM

Title: Sonoma Restaurants

I'm traveling to Sonoma and looking for a good restaurant. What do you'll know about any of the following restaurants: General's Daughter, The Girl and the Fig, Syrah, Cafe Le Haye, and Zazu. I have a group of 8 celebrating a 40th birthday. And any other suggestions. Thank you!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The Girl is good. My wife loves it. Good French bistro inspired menu. Highlight is cheese. The wine list is interesting, service good and decor attractive. Can be a little touristy..

    Zazu is great. Home made salumi, local ingredients, interesting and well thought out menu. Presentation, taste and place itself is great. Friendly and relaxed, but very professional service. A real gem of a place - worth a detour..If you love food go there.

    Enjoy Robin

    1. I love syrah, the chef Josh is a lot of fun. I would skip Zazu. The General's Daughter has beem sold. I would check out Madrona Manor in healdsburg for the ice cream sundae made table side or try the Farm House.

      2 Replies
        1. re: Robin Langton

          II find it over hyped and the food is not what it used to be.

      1. Thumbs up for Zazu and The Girl and the Fig. Cannot comment on the others. Personally, I like the food at least as much at Zazu, and I love the ambience there, too. But I don't think of it as a really celebratory restaurant. It is exceptionally casual. Like ripped jeans and a T-shirt sort of place. The Girl and the Fig is caual, too, but not quite in the same sort of way.

        If you can swing a more expensive place, Farmhouse Inn is awesome. Quite celebratory.

        2 Replies
        1. re: whiner

          I hjad the worst meal of my last trip at Zazu, and can't see what any of the fuss--let alone all of the fuss---is about. Boring menu, poor presentation, roadhouse decor.

          The General's Daughter operates at a far higher level. Although there is a new chef there by now, it is hard to believe that the quality is destined to go down, given the magnitude of the place and the commitment of the owners. If you don't want that risk, I've had two GREAT dinners in a row at the El Dorado Kitchen, right around the corner. They have a beautiful long table in the dining room perfect for a large gathering.

          1. re: rruben1

            No ... not only new chef ... sold .. closed ... and reopening in the late fall as a totally different restaurant.

            Direct from the monthly email of the new owners, the girl and the fig ...

            The General's Daughter has been a mainstay in the Sonoma "restaurant scene" for over 10 years. We are so fortunate to have an opportunity to create a completely new concept called ESTATE on this amazing property. Right down the street from the girl & the fig, we will feature the best of Sonoma's bounty including much of our own "ESTATE-GROWN" produce and "ESTATE-CRAFTED" products, including salumi, confits, infusions, and other surprises. With Regional Italian recipes, antipasti, family style entrees and innovative cocktails we look forward to pleasing your palate. We will spend the next two months, creating, renovating, decorating, training, hiring, tasting, drinking, and what I call serious playing. Our goal is to CREATE a really unique restaurant that will intermingle Sonoma and Italy, with layers of contrast in food, art, wine, and cocktails. We will keep you posted!

        2. If you're going to be near Geyserville you might like Santi - great Italian food. The Farmhouse is a wonderful place for a celebration but it is expensive. Madrona Manor is also very good and a great location, especially if you can get seating on the porch. I read this weekend that the General's Daughter is closing. Odyssey is really good, but with limited space.

          1. I've been to three of the four that are still open...

            Girl and the Fig is lovely. Tables are pretty close, and the menu has a lot of diversity in terms of price point, which can be nice. Good cocktails, decent wine list. In my experience the food is good, but not remarkable. We've hit about 50/50 on dishes we really like to dishes we don't.

            Cafe Le Haye is tiny. Teensy tiny. I'd kindof be surprised if they'd take a group of 8. I've only been once, but the food was very good.

            I have a real soft spot for Zazu, but understand why it gets mixed reviews. It's rustic and in my experience, authentic. There's not a lot of pretense, either in the decor, the food or the service. I'm sure that my impression has been influenced by the fact that I always sit at the bar, so I've spent a fair amount of time chatting with the wait staff and peering into the kitchen. I've had some spectacularly good dishes there (the pasta in June was incredible.), and others that were less to my taste, but I wouldn't say they were bad. They do have a lot of groups, and it would be a nice comfortable setting if your group gets a little loud after a few bottles of wine...

            2 Replies
            1. re: cyberroo

              Thanks, nice to see a clarification of Zazu based on casual experiences rather than expectations.

              1. re: PolarBear

                That's an interesting comment, Polar Bear. My "expectation" of Zazu was that I would receive adequate portions of well-prepared, creative and tasty food. What I---and my wife---received was something far less. I have no idea why that would constitute an unreasonable expectation. Obviously, the reviews pegged the place as a roadhouse, so we weren't expecting Restaurant Cyrus in terms of decor. What we WERE expecting was fully-cooked chicken, an antipasto platter where the roasted peppers were at least SEEDED before being lumped with a few olives and some burned grilled vegetables, and so on.

                It isn't a matter of pretense. It is a matter of food. Not one single thing served to us in our multi-course dinner was memorable in any way: Not in portion, plating, seasoning, preparation, or combination.