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Places in Petaluma

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I have searched the board and can't find much on restaurants in Petaluma. I'm wondering about Risibisi, Le Bistro and Cucina Paradiso. Does anyone have any thoughts on these places? Thanks!

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Cucina Paradiso
114 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

Risibisi
154 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

Le Bistro
312 Petaluma Blvd S, Petaluma, CA 94952

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  1. There are many dining choices in Petaluma. Are you looking for lunch? Dinner? Casual? What Cuisine? Price Range?

    7 Replies
    1. re: Scott M

      Here is a rundown of places to consider covering most bases (in no particular order):

      California Cuisine
      Central Market: One of the better restaurants in Petaluma. Seasonal ingredients, but dining room can be loud on busy nights. Only open for dinner.

      Italian
      Cucina Paradiso: Solid good quality Italian, smallish portion sizes

      Caffe Giostra: Good quality casual Italian in a small cafe more casual than Paradiso

      Sugo: Another solid Italian offering for the area. Atmosphere is a step up from Giostra and a step down from Paradiso.

      Volpis: Old school family Italian with speak easy bar in back, food not as good as Giostra, Paradiso or Sugo.

      Turkish
      Real Doner: Very casual Turkish/Med. restaurant with solid food

      Afendi's Turkish Grill: Not as bare bones atmosphere as Real Doner, food is comparable (maybe a slight notch below) Real Doner.

      Sushi
      Hiros: One of the better Sushi restaurants in the area

      Gohan: Another one of the better Sushi offerings

      Gastropub
      Dempsey's: Gastro brewpub with better than average food and beer

      Thai
      Sea Thai: Smallish Thai restaurant with good food, open kitchen modern look but can get loud.

      Sandwich/Cafe
      Waterstreet Bistro: Fresh well constructed sandwiches/salads with quality ingredients

      Della Fattoria: Bakery with excellent sandwiches, pastries and bread a little pricey

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      Cucina Paradiso
      114 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

      Caffe Giostra
      1390 N McDowell Blvd, Petaluma, CA

      1. re: Scott M

        Thanks Scott, I was really interested in the three restaurants that I listed, but I appreciate the list you gave, since it will cover any future interests. I see you like Cucina Paradiso have you tried Risibisi or Le Bistro?

        I have enjoyed Central Market, The Tea room , Waterstreet and Della Fattoria, as well as Dempsey's so it sounds like we have similar taste.

        Thanks again!

        -----
        Della Fattoria
        141 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

        Cucina Paradiso
        114 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

        Central Market
        42 Petaluma Blvd North, Petaluma, CA 94952

        Risibisi
        154 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

        Le Bistro
        312 Petaluma Blvd S, Petaluma, CA 94952

        1. re: Missmoo

          I have only been to Cucina Paradiso. I have heard good things about Le Bistro, and have heard mixed feedback regarding Risibisi.

          -----
          Cucina Paradiso
          114 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

          Risibisi
          154 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

          1. re: Scott M

            Thanks Scott!

          2. re: Missmoo

            Between Cucina Paradiso and Risibisi I would say Cucino Paradiso is my favorite spot. Le Bistro, depending on the night can be a hit or miss. When it is not too busy it is wonderful. Beween Real Doner and Afendi's, I prefer Afendi's. Probably because the owner/chef of Afendi's was the original chef at the Real Doner until he opened Afendi's last month. Apparently Real Doner is now bringing in different people each week to prep the meat. Maybe I just prefer knowing who the chef is at Afendi's? Melanie raves about him (Joe) and I find his food to be consistently special. On my first visit I had the mezza which was exceptionally good, with generous portions, and today I had the lamb kabobs for lunch and they were nicely seasoned, juicy and very tender. I left quite satiated. Like Scott, I also really like Waterstreet Bistro. The Tea Room is a special place too.

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            Cucina Paradiso
            114 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

            Risibisi
            154 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

            1. re: Mary Yu

              may I ask why hit or miss? cause I have hit every single time I have been (which is a lot) no matter the business the restaurant has on any given night? His food is always amazing and yes when busy the timing may be off. But one chef for 15-20 people at a time may slow things down to consistently deliver amazing food.

          3. re: Scott M

            I used to go to Real Doner quite often, but the service can be appalling, and the food's not nearly as good as Afendi, so that's where I now go.

        2. Risibisi has mixed reviews, cuciana is a beautiful restaurant inside, great location. They do good food but you have to weary about what you order. Typically their simple dishes or best. Owner is a good man and the staff is very gracious and very professional. Great place for larger parties, great wine selection. Le bistro is a must to try. Very small quaint and intimate. The chef and owner has been the sole chef for 22 years. He has a staff of one (the waitress) on the weekends there is usually a dishwasher and a helper in the front. Food is consistently amazing, menu hardly ever changes, and the staff is always welcoming and very gracious. Not your typical restaurant these days as their quality of food and service will always take prescident over the number of people they do in a night. Party of fours is their limit because they only have nine tables. It's a little gem. Some say the chef as a temper or is rude, but let me tell you that he is one of the nicest men I have met. He knows what he does and he does it well and will not compromise that for more business, he runs a smooth tight ship and knows how to execute that. I hope this helps with you quandry.

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          Risibisi
          154 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

          3 Replies
          1. re: justonething

            If nothing has changed at Le Bistro, then here's my post from 2003.
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/26854

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            Le Bistro
            312 Petaluma Blvd S, Petaluma, CA 94952

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Nothing much has changed. Yes the prices have gone up but in my opinion they should have a long time ago. You can still walk in any night they are open to see chef corey hard at work in the kitchen of one. And the front room is always well managed to corey's expectations by Erin. His food is even more amazing now then before and even though his perfect menu never changes you will always find amazing tastes that you haven't tasted before with each bite. Go check them out again if you can. You will fall in love all over again.

              Oh and ask Erin what she or corey what they feel will be the perfect wine to compliment your meal. They are always on point and won't leave you disapointed.

              1. re: justonething

                Love Le Bistro, have gone there from time to time since the 80s. The food is a good value, and I have yet to have a disappointing experience. Be good to your chef, and he'll be good to you! :)

          2. Just as an update to this thread, we (five of us) had a wonderful dinner on Saturday night at Central Market. Aside from being a bit crowded at our 8 PM arrival (excusable for a nice place on a Saturday night), the food was all-around excellent.

            Their menu is mostly interesting takes on comfort food, but that really doesn't do justice to the great flavors, quality ingredients and careful preparation that were in evidence on every dish we ate.

            The "fried chicken leg" was so good, that after having it as a starter, my son ordered one for "dessert" - how may 17-year-olds would turn down dessert for chicken? Really great flavor, almost a Japanese kara-age type breading/crust.

            The other starters included a nice little gem, Pt. Reyes blue and bacon/lardon salad, a penne with shortrib baked pasta dish, and a blood orange salad. Everyone was happy with them.

            Our main dishes were all great, from scallops, to lamb shank (special), chicken breast (an "ordinary" dish made notable by proper brining and great seasoning), and Wagyu steak (served properly medium rare as requested).

            I find it interesting (and a little sad) that the combination of good service, quality ingredients and great flavors served at reasonable prices made me wonder why this hardly seems to happen anymore!

            All in, with a couple glasses of wine, and three desserts, we were out of there for $300 for the five of us, completely satisfied and really stuffed.

            If this was closer to home, we might go there every week - it's really worth the drive from Marin, and about the same distance as many places in SF. Definitely worth the little bit of driving from my point of view. We'll be back again soon...

            -----
            Central Market
            42 Petaluma Blvd North, Petaluma, CA 94952

            6 Replies
            1. re: RichInMV

              I moved to Petaluma from SF almost a year ago and have tried most places in town. Central Market is by a good margin my favorite restaurant in Petaluma. They do get crowded and the service can be slow when it does but I have not had a single disappointing meal.

              Luma is also a good choice which opened since this thread was started. I had one very good meal there so can't speak to consistency. It's more casual/small plates and does not take reservations.

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              Central Market
              42 Petaluma Blvd North, Petaluma, CA 94952

              1. re: MikeW

                Luma
                500 First Street
                Petaluma, CA 94952

                T: 707.658.1940
                F: 707.658.1622
                E: luma@lumapetaluma.com

                Hours
                Monday - Saturday: 11:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
                Closed on Sunday

                1. re: poot

                  Thanks for the deets, poot. What are you guys liking at Luma? I see a wood-burning oven on the website.
                  http://lumapetaluma.com/

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                  Luma
                  500 1st St, Petaluma, CA 94952

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    My recollection is a little hazy at this point but we enjoyed the meatballs as well as the antipasto plate. They had several specials in addition to the regular menu.

                    Pizzas were good. The mushoom "fun guy" pizza was a bit rich for my tastes but the Satan's Kiss was great.

                    The wine list is small but reasonably priced and I am pretty sure they waived our corkage after we bought a bottle.

                    1. re: MikeW

                      Thank you. Recently I've made a couple stops in your new home town to check out Petaluma Pie. Hope you'll give it a shot too.
                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/772222

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                      Petaluma Pie Company
                      125 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

                    2. re: Melanie Wong

                      I tried Luma for lunch last week. I had a mango agua fresca with was very nice, not too sweet, and complented with basil. My friend and I both started with an arugula salad - good, with toasted hazelnuts that weren't stale (I just had to note how fresh they seemed). My friend had the marguerita pizza - she liked it, I did try it but now have been craving it, it looked so good. Thin crust. I ordered a special - salmon tartine. It was a store made salmon cured like pastrami. it was fine, a bit too salty for me. It was served over a craime fraiche and chive spread.
                      My favorite though, was the key lime pie dessert. A very large portion made with chocolate cookie crust served with a generous amount of blackberries on top. We ate the whole big piece. I loved how not-too-sweet it was and the light texture. Would go back just for that! I need to go back and try other things. Seems like a nice addition to Petaluma.

                      -----
                      Luma
                      500 1st St, Petaluma, CA 94952

              2. We were just up in Petaluma again this weekend - we wanted to try Luma, as recommended elsewhere in this thread, but they were closed (on Sunday).

                After walking all around past the various options, we stopped in at Della Fattoria, but walked out a couple minutes later, annoyed by their service (lack of), which has been one of my gripes with that place. I love the food, but at those prices, they should have proper servers.

                Anyway, we walked all around downtown, and settled on Sugo, which was fairly conventional Italian, but nicely done, and about the same prices as Della Fattoria, with good service, and good coffee. I had a really nice pappardelle with a short rib ragu - lots of really nicely braised short rib in a well-reduced sauce. My wife had the beet salad with good quality greens, blue cheese and walnuts (I think). Good, but kind of unexciting to me. Overall it was reasonably priced, decent service, and a less frantic feeling than Della Fattoria.

                That said, I will keep going back to Della Fattoria in the hope that I can get in, get a table, and enjoy a meal there, as I do like their food and baked goods.

                -----
                Della Fattoria
                141 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

                Sugo
                5 Petaluma Blvd S Ste B, Petaluma, CA 94952

                Luma
                500 1st St, Petaluma, CA 94952

                11 Replies
                1. re: RichInMV

                  Now that you mention it, yes, service is a problem at Della Fattoria, even just trying to buy something at the counter. When I was in there two weeks ago, I made eye contact with two or three staff behind the counter and they all ignored me. When someone finally deigned to assist me, he couldn't answer my questions about the various breads on the shelf and then had trouble making change!

                  But I gotta say, the ciabatta was perfect for the crostini topped with braised greens that night. And we loved the walnut and currant loaf wtih the cheese course.

                  If you're in Petaluma at lunch time, do check out Water Street Bistro.

                  -----
                  Della Fattoria
                  141 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    Yes! I boycotted their place after watching too many people sitting at tables waiting for their friends to arrive without having ordered anything. Now that you sit down and they come over to the table it's a little better, but still too haphazard.

                    1. re: Missmoo

                      Now a year after your original post that kicked off this discussion, do you have anything to report on Risibisi, Le Bistro or Cucina Paradiso?

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                      Water Street Bistro
                      100 Petaluma Blvd N Ste 106, Petaluma, CA 94952

                      Dempsey's Restaurant & Brewery
                      50 E Washington St, Petaluma, CA 94952

                      Cucina Paradiso
                      114 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

                      Risibisi
                      154 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

                      Le Bistro
                      312 Petaluma Blvd S, Petaluma, CA 94952

                      Tea Room Cafe
                      316 Western Ave, Petaluma, CA 94952

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        I have been to Risi Bisi several times and enjoyed it. Food is consistently good. Not spectacular by any means but I have not had anything there that disappointed me and service has actually been pretty attentive. Shellfish has always been fresh and pasta well prepared. Pastas are fairly priced, entrees a little steep.

                        I am in the minority amongst friends but I prefer it to Cucina Paradiso.

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                        Risibisi
                        154 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

                        1. re: MikeW

                          Risibisi opened with a bang, but the first chef left shortly after. I still need to get over there.

                          -----
                          Risibisi
                          154 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

                        2. re: Melanie Wong

                          Unfortunately, I had an okay meal at Risibisi but not exciting enough to return. Le Bistro; I really liked my friend's fish dish and thought it was a nice local place (and very popular!). Cucina Paradiso was excellent and I have been back several times. I like their wine list and pastas. The other two places we go to consistently are Central Market (really enjoyable although the wine list is a bit limited) the taco truck, Taqueria Santa Cruz, on Lakeville and E. Washington, and Sea Modern Thai. Also, my friends just took over Ray's Deli and Tavern on Western so we go there for beer and wine and sandwiches.

                          -----
                          Cucina Paradiso
                          114 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

                          Central Market
                          42 Petaluma Blvd North, Petaluma, CA 94952

                          Risibisi
                          154 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

                          Le Bistro
                          312 Petaluma Blvd S, Petaluma, CA 94952

                          1. re: Missmoo

                            Thanks, what are you liking at SEA Modern Thai these days?

                            -----
                            Sea Modern Thai
                            500 Petaluma Blvd S, Petaluma, CA 94952

                            Larray's Corner Market & Deli
                            900 Western Ave, Petaluma, CA 94952

                            1. re: Missmoo

                              We recently had a very nice lunch experience at Risibisi in Petaluma - delicious food, wonderful atmosphere and impeccable service. Local, fresh food prepared with care. The lunch menu was rather limited (small) but we really liked everything we tried, the Bolognese, a trout special and a pork special. As I am finding wildly inconsistent service at places with pretty good food here in Petaluma, I was very pleased with our service the day we had lunch there. We will return here and we are looking forward to trying dinner at Risibisi.

                              1. re: DpBluSea

                                We ate at Risibisi this week and enjoyed it. Everything was well prepared and service was excellent. It's on our "must try again" list.

                              2. re: Missmoo

                                I had a chance to check out Ray's Delicatessen and Tavern for the first time last week. It's a terrific spot, as the name says, half devoted to a deli and the other half, a bar. There are separate entrances but they're connected inside.

                                Here's my post on one of the breakfast sandwiches.
                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9039...

                                The sandwich menu looks great - what else have folks tried at Ray's?
                                http://www.rays-deli.com/

                                It's just up the street from Petaluma Creamery. The two would make a good combo stop for food tourists.

                                 
                                 
                          2. re: Melanie Wong

                            I had a disastrous service incident at Della Fattoria for lunch recently but I'll give it a shot for dinner based on the quality of food that we actually did get to sample - lunch and coffee - both of which were very good! Something is lacking in the management or owner presence there, on the floor, but there is obviously talent in the kitchen. I'll give it one more try because our service was so awful that it MUST have been a very off day - nobody stays open with service like that. Cute small place - hope that they can get their service act together.

                        3. I like the new branch of Bovine Bakery with giant scones and bear claws.
                          Bovine Bakery
                          23 Kentucky St

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: wolfe

                            I didn't realize it was new -- I stopped in there last week to get a raspberry almond marzipan tartlett (well, two, actually) for my birthday. It was part of my Sonoma country bakery day that netted me, in addition to the tartletts, a loaf of bread, three different kinds of scones and a couple of ginger almond biscotti from Wild Flour.