Welcome to Part Two of the Urban Bliss Life Travel Guide to Sonoma County, California!
Be sure to read Part One: Travel, Hotel, and General Info on Visiting Sonoma County, California.
Where to Eat in Sonoma County, California
While visiting Sonoma County, California, wine tasting is definitely at the top of the vacation agenda, and I’ll be featuring select vineyards starting next week for Wine Wednesdays. However, be prepared to fall in love with some of the local eateries as well.
There are more than 600 restaurants and cafes throughout Sonoma County, offering almost every type of cuisine, price range, and dining experience imaginable. Whether you love quaint cafes, quirky pit stops, or haute cuisine, you’re sure to find at least one or two restaurants that strike your fancy.
Situated right off of the main square in adorable Healdsburg, Barndiva is, as the name suggests, a restaurant that opened in a barn. The owners have also added on a gallery and event space, and on warm days, there is pleasant outdoor seating. It’s casual and hip, with a touch of modern country. The service is fantastic, and the food is AMAZING.
If they are on the menu when you happen to dine here for lunch or dinner, start with the ricotta balls drizzled with lavender honey.
OH. MY. WORD. The lavender honey. To die for delicious. I can’t even… it was SO good.
If you love sandwiches, try the Dungeness crab BLT with crispy bacon, butter lettuce, avocado, frites, and beets. An interesting combination that worked well, with applause-worthy sandwich ingredients-to-bread ratio.
I also suggest the lobster risotto with melted leeks, watercress, lemon zest, crème fraîche. It was light, fluffy, and topped with thin potato crisps that added a nice crunch.
With dishes like a Dark Chocolate Bavarian and a Passionfruit Lemonbar (with bourbon vanilla bean ice cream), you can’t go wrong ordering any of their desserts at Barndiva.
The Girl and The Fig
110 W Spain Street
Sonoma, CA 95476
There’s something special about The Girl and The Fig. We dined here on our first night in Sonoma to celebrate our 20th anniversary, and I am so very glad we did. It was the perfect restaurant to kick off our Sonoma wine country experience, and if it will be your first time in Sonoma as well, I highly recommend adding The Girl and The Fig to your itinerary. You won’t be sorry.
Start with the charcuterie plate. You get three meats and your selection of three cheeses from their impressive Fromage menu. We chose one cow’s milk cheese (the Les 3 Comtois Comte), one goat’s milk cheese (the Laura Chenel Chèvre), and one sheep’s milk cheese (the Petite Agour). While I enjoyed them all, the Laura Chenel Chèvre was my favorite: creamy, delicate, full of flavor. Cheese selections vary, so be sure to ask your server for some assistance in choosing — they are more than happy to help you make the right selection based on your personal tastes.
My husband can’t resist steak frites when they are on the menu, and the photo below really doesn’t do the steak frites at The Girl & The Fig justice (lighting was dimmed for dinner). The steak was tender and flavorful, while the frites were perfectly sized, with just-right crispness on the outside, and well-seasoned.
If the pan-seared scallops with ham fricasse happens to be on the menu as one of the specials of the night, I highly suggest ordering this dish. The scallops were expertly seared to lock in the fresh flavor and the portion was just right.
Dessert is something you can’t miss at The Girl & The Fig, and we were treated to a special anniversary dessert. The chocolate & salted fig caramel trifle cannot be missed, and the lavender creme brulee with wildflower honey? Yes, please!
El Dorado Kitchen
405 First Street W
Sonoma, California 95476
Also located right on the Sonoma square is El Dorado Kitchen, housed in the first floor of the El Dorado Hotel.
Sleek and modern, I fell in love with the clean lines and stark contrasts of this space. It feels chic and upscale, yet still Sonoma-casual.
To start, you must order their famous truffle fries.
For your main course, try the Housemade Butternut Squash Ravioli with root vegetables, pomegranates, fried sage, parmesan. Unlike traditional butternut squash ravioli dishes made with gorgonzola cheese and browned butter sauce, the root vegetables and pomegranates add lots of texture to this version. I have to say, the fried sage is what makes this dish: crispy and fragrant, it makes the butternut squash ravioli just melt in your mouth.
For a dessert that is also a little different, try the Baked Chocolate Mousse: chocolate shortbread crumble, creme fraiche froth, garden mint chocolate chip ice cream. This is nothing like a traditional creamy chocolate mousse. The shortbread crumble was a surprise, but the mint chocolate chip ice cream was so delicious, with just the right amount of chocolate chip shavings.
720 West Napa Street
Sonoma, California 95476
If you’re out and about before your day & night of wine tasting in Sonoma County, California, start your day off with a sweet or savory homemade pastry and espresso drink from Crisp Bakeshop. They have an excellent assortment of croissants, muffins, scones, cupcakes, cookies, and coffee drinks to fill your bellies before you head out to the vineyards. If you stop by during lunchtime, they also offer a nice selection of tartines (open-faced sandwiches on country bread).
With the exception of a couple of misses (which I don’t write about, since I like to keep this space positive!), we really enjoyed dining out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in Sonoma County, California. There are so many fantastic options in Sonoma and Healdsburg, especially, including a few great breweries and many more cafes. These are the top ones that I would recommend for your first visit.
Have you been to Sonoma County, California? What are your favorite restaurants and cafes in the area?
Looking for more on visiting Sonoma County, California? Check out my other posts: