HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >


Spending a week over Christmas in Central Sonoma; looking for all recs

We're exchanging houses with a family who live close-in in Sonoma (the city not the county) and will be there from 12/19 to 12/27. We love to cook and also try to save money when traveling so I know we won't be going out all the time. But I'd like one special (that doesn't have to mean expensive) dinner out. Also any breakfast and lunch spots that you particularly like. The Girl and the Fig menu looks great. Any markets that you especially like? I know farmers' markets won't be doing much if anything this late in the year but perhaps something? I understand that the wineries decorate alot so that will certainly provide a fun time. Thanks in advance for your help.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Not right in the city of Sonoma, but one of our favorites.

    2 Replies
    1. re: OldTimer

      Looks and sounds lovely. Do you know if they serve lunch? I couldn't tell from their site. Thanks.

      1. re: c oliver

        Since the menu is the same for lunch and dinner (which I like), they don't specify lunch, just that they open at 12 noon.. The portions are generous, and you can split entrees for a nominal charge. The cassoulet is excellent.

    2. The Sonoma farmer's market is all year, in the parking lot of Depot Park, on Friday mornings (9 am-noon). This time of year there is local honey, baked goods, root veggies, etc.

      4 Replies
      1. re: waldrons

        Oh, excellent. I LOVE different honeys.

        I've done some more searching and found El Dorado Kitchen, La Sallette, La Haye, General's Daughter and Meritage. We're so looking forward to this week.

        thanks for the info on the market. Living at Lake Tahoe, we forget sometimes how moderate even the North Bay is :)

        1. re: c oliver

          General's Daughter, as was mentioned in the other thread, has closed, replaced by Estate. I wouldn't bother with Estate for one special meal out.

          I will be in the Sonoma area over some of the same period, mostly visiting family, but will have one dinner out. For that, I intend to drive over to Napa to eat at Ubuntu again. It is about a half hour or more drive from Sonoma (depending on traffic, however). My other must stop place this short trip will be Raymond and Co Cheesemongers in Glen Ellen (about 15 or 20 minutes from Sonoma).

          If you have any interest in California Missions, check out Cline Winery. Really cool little museum with replicas of all the missions. and of course check out the real thing in the Sonoma Plaza. Cline's wine isn't bad either, though you can buy it at your local Safeway...

          Cline Cellars
          24737 Arnold Dr, Sonoma, CA

          400 W Spain St, Sonoma, CA 95476

          Raymond & Co
          388 Devlin Road, Napa, CA 94558

          1. re: susancinsf

            Perhaps we could get together. My email's in my profile.

            1. re: susancinsf

              A few weeks ago we had an excellent lunch at Olive and Vine, in the same complex as Raymond & Co. I had a corned beef ruben and lentil soup, both very tasty.

              Olive & Vine
              14301 Arnold Dr Ste 3, Glen Ellen, CA 95442

        2. I highly recommend Sonoma Market for groceries and they have a good selection of wine as well. If you plan to have oysters or crab for Christmas Eve/Day, go a few days ahead of time to preorder. There is also a Whole Foods in town, and a large Safeway for staples.

          1. Check out the Vella Cheese Co. just a couple of blocks off the square at 315 2nd St. Skip the one on Spain St. across from the square unless you're just trolling for samples.

            1. I used to live in Sonoma County..not sure if you want to drive a little ways.but Willow Wood Market and Cafe is super for lunch. I saw Robert Mondavi there once..in muddy boots eating with friends. http://www.willowwoodgraton.com/

              4 Replies
              1. re: melly

                I just looked at their breakfast menu and they serve creamy polenta with butter and maple sugar Oh, wow, does THAT sound good?

                1. re: melly

                  Yes, Willow Wood is wonderful and it's about an hour's drive from Sonoma. Nice region to make a day of it though - go to the coast & return through Graton. Be sure to pick up seafood and bread (wild flour bakery in Freestone) en route.

                  There should be some good citrus, persimmons and pomegranates at the Friday morning market in Sonoma. Also greens, leeks, carrots & broccoli. Possibly olive oil?

                  Artisan Bakery has a big variety of pastries & breads that aren't distributed to all the markets - and at a good price.

                  Wild Flour Bread
                  140 Bohemian Hwy, Freestone, CA

                  Artisan Bakers
                  720 W Napa St, Sonoma, CA 95476

                  1. re: Columba

                    Wild Flour closed for winter until January 22, 2010


                2. La Dee's for decent brisket and fried pickles.

                  La Dee's Diner
                  18709 Arnold Dr, Sonoma, CA 95476

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: wolfe

                    Sounds like fun I've never had fried pickles. What's nice about being there for an entire week is that the skies the limit as far as "cuisines" (quotes intentional). Thanks, wolfe.

                  2. El Dorado Kitchen is a must do - fantastic dinner and great Brunch... www.eldoradokitchen.com

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: hidarling

                      EDK has a beautiful dining room and patio. And there are other options there.

                      Their bakery is pretty good for to-go food. And they'll serve some of the lunch dishes at lower price in more casual setting than the dining room. I've seen customers take their pastries and hot chocolate to the couches in hotel lobby - comfy.

                    2. Fremont Diner is now open 7 days a week from 7am to 4pm.

                      1. You might want to try Fig Cafe, more of a locals place, instead of Girl and the Fig. Or go to both and compare them for us.

                        Don't miss the new paleteria, La Michoacana.

                        Fig Cafe
                        13690 Arnold Dr, Glen Ellen, CA 95442

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          Oh, the Cafe sounds perfect. Living at Tahoe, we also try to find the locals spots

                          Not an ice cream or even dessert person, so no paleteria. But thanks I'm sure others will benefit from that.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            Fig Cafe is a nice brunch spot too (weekends only), and they have free corkage.

                            and yes, thanks to Melanie for the reminder to stop by La Michoacana this trip!

                        2. Are there any shops that you especially recommend for honey? I've developed a love for lavender honey and would like to try more. Leaving tomorrow for Sonoma and getting quite excited about spending an entire week in such a great spot.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: c oliver

                            If you're there for next Friday's Farmer's Market, try Hector's Honey. He has excellent honeys, and even the softest honey combs (that pair beautifully with local cheeses).


                            1. re: waldrons

                              We're here til Sunday and will definitely be going to the Farmers' Market. I LOVE honey comb. Some people think it's not edible; some people are wrong :) More for me.

                              1. re: c oliver

                                I agree! I had Hector's honeycomb paired with (I think) a farmstead blue from Point Reyes and it worked great. (Most honeycomb is like those old-school wax lips, but this just melts in the mouth.)


                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                              I was just thinking about that last night. When we left Sonoma we went to SF for another week and got involved with family and friends and MORE eating. I'll gather my thoughts and report back. Thanks for the nudge :)

                              1. re: c oliver

                                Really keen to know if you got to try the fried pickles, as I consider them an essential food group :-).