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Sonoma County Family celebration dinner restaurant?

wearybashful Oct 14, 2013 12:28 AM

Can you advise me on a restaurant in Sonoma County that can handle 12 people for dinner, is not too noisy to talk, and has good and interesting food? It's my parents' 65th anniversary, so it should feel celebratory, although maybe not the most expensive establishment around.

If we could get our own room or area in the restaurant that would be nice.


  1. wearybashful Oct 14, 2013 08:48 PM

    I just want everyone to know how much I appreciate your responses, and i'm doing more research based on your ideas. A non- chowhound mentioned Ca' Biance; they have various rooms in an old Victorian mansion... I was there but a long time ago but not sure how the food is now.

    1. j
      jaiko Oct 14, 2013 04:54 PM

      I would not recommend Stark's Steakhouse nor John Ash. Both were overpriced and not a good value for the execution of the food. Stark's really surprised us with their over-the-top, superrich, heavy-as-lead sides - they were all like an upscale Cheescake Factory. The steaks were good but nothing exceptional, and the Aged Reserve is a waste of money. We taste-tested the regular filet and the aged filet side by side, the difference was minimal but the price is almost double.

      John Ash gave us one really great beet and burrata salad, plus two outstanding little scoops of fruit gelatos as part of those overwrought "dessert trio" plates (the rest of the desserts were bleh). The food in general was mediocre, and two dishes we had to send back (and there were only the two of us, each with a 3-course meal) for such serious oversalting my salt-loving spouse couldn't take it.

      You might call French Garden/Sebastopol and find out if they have a small area that would work. I know they have a back dining room but I don't know if it's one big secondary room or can be sectioned off. Decent food, excellent service.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jaiko
        wearybashful Oct 21, 2013 09:20 AM

        Thanks for the French Garden idea... I also appreciate what the owners do for the community.

      2. t
        tom246 Oct 14, 2013 07:02 AM

        The patio at Campo Fina in Healdsburg would make a wonderful place for a celebration. The cool weather is not a problem as the heat lamp system they have works very well.

        The menu is diverse, tasty and won't break the bank. You and the group can even try your hand at bocci with a nice court there. Enjoy wherever you decide!

        1 Reply
        1. re: tom246
          wearybashful Oct 21, 2013 09:19 AM

          I'll check it out-- the heat lamps would have to be VERY effective on a November night, though, it would make me kind of nervous about the weather.

        2. Melanie Wong Oct 14, 2013 01:13 AM

          Zazu has a communal table in a side area connected in an "L" with the main dining area. Here's my photo of it,

          The main seating area is extremely noisy, as you might expect looking at those hard surfaces. I'm not sure whether the side area would be separated enough to escape the din. You'd need to test it out on a busy evening.

          Stark's Steakhouse has a number of private rooms.

          Haven't been to Trattoria Lupo for a long time (before the name change!), but maybe it could block off an area for you.

          There's always John Ash & Co.

          1. m
            Mike C. Miller Oct 14, 2013 12:45 AM

            Depending on the weather, and whether your parents like Oysters, Rockers Oysterfeller in Valley Ford is nice. Ate there twice recently. Good was very good and service was outstanding. Indoor dining room wasn't much to write home about, the the patio is very nice. As you would expect given the location, name, etc., amazingly fresh raw oysters, and several nice lightly cooked oyster dishes. Eclectic, small, but well curated local wine list.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Mike C. Miller
              wearybashful Oct 21, 2013 09:17 AM

              I'm afraid that outside wouldn't work for the time of year and day we're working with. I went to Oysterpalooza there and had a good time...

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