Top 10 Picks for Sonoma County Restaurant Week

Did you hear the one about California lifting its face mask mandate just in time for Sonoma County Restaurant Week (February 21-27)? True story! A week-long celebration of Sonoma County’s unparalleled culinary landscape, the annual event encourages diners to explore some of the region’s finest epicurean establishments at affordable prices ($10, $15, $25 for lunch; $25 , $35, $55 for dinner; $5 for sweets/desserts).

It’s the perfect time to try that schnitzel spot you’ve been eyeing, give in to your concha craving, and show your support for Sonoma County’s vital hospitality industry, which has been hit hard by the pandemic.

With nearly 80 participating local restaurants, there are plenty of choices for casual and upscale dining. To help you narrow it down, we’re listing our top 10 picks for restaurant week here.

Blue Ridge kitchen ($25 lunch, $55 dinner): Blue Ridge Kitchen is chef Matt D’Ambrosi’s gift to Sebastopol’s The Barlow, where his Southern-inspired dishes mingle with California cuisines. For restaurant week, a two-course lunch will include a burrata with blueberry compote and smoked paprika oil, followed by a new version of Louie’s shrimp salad. The three-course dinner will include smoked tomato soup, wood-grilled mahi-mahi with grilled artichokes and lavender panna cotta. 6770 McKinley St., #150, Sevastopol, 707-222-5040, brkitchen.com

Clockwise from left, Hamachi Crudo, Lavender Liaison cocktail, Fried Green Tomatoes and Lobster Croque Madame from the Blue Ridge Kitchen at Sebastopol’s The Barlow. (John Burgess)

Canneti Roadhouse Italiana ($25 lunch, $35 dinner): Raised in Massa, Italy, chef Francesco Torre showcases local, sustainable ingredients in his Tuscan-inspired menu. Choose from three courses for dinner, such as crispy-skinned cockerel over fresh corkscrew pasta or Tuscan shoulder of pork preserved in olive oil. Or venture out for a lighter two-course lunch of sugar snap pea soup with ricotta or a pork sausage sandwich on baked rosemary focaccia. 6675 Front Street, Forestville, 707-887-2232, canetirestaurant.com

Cellars and oenology of Kivelstadt ($25 lunch): A two-course wine-paired lunch will be offered at Kivelstadt Cellars & Winegarten in Sonoma, where house wines on tap and take-out growlers challenge the traditional tasting room model. Sit under the sycamore trees for a salad entrée accompanied by the Kivelstadt family’s secret Sauvignon Blanc, followed by a Brined and Buttermilk Smoked Cornish Game Hen and a Sibling Rivalry Estate Pinot Noir. Bonus: dogs are welcome. 22900 Broadway, Sonoma, 707-938-7001, kivelstadtcellars.com

sausage shop ($15 lunch/dinner, $5 sweet): The origin of the Scotch egg is much disputed in Britain, where venerable London department store Fortnum & Mason claims to have invented it in 1738 as a snack for travelers. Almost 300 years later, the iconic British sausage-wrapped egg can be enjoyed at the Sausage Emporium, where a pasture-raised egg is wrapped in traditional pork and coated in a crispy crust. For $15 you can try this historic treat with homemade pickles and fries. Always hungry? Grab a colossal cookie and house coffee for $5. 31 E. Napa St., Sonoma, 707-934-8814, sausage-emporium.com

Stove ($55 Dinner): Steak and seafood take center stage at this popular Petaluma steakhouse where you’ll find a variety of options on the restaurant’s three-course weekday menu. First-course choices include smoked butternut squash bisque or ahi crudo, followed by Wagyu flat iron steak with coconut curry mash, wild gulf prawns with local grits and smoked sausage, or short ribs braised in zinfandel. And then there is the dessert! A wonderful selection of cocktails is also available, as well as wine and local beers. 170 Petaluma Blvd N., Petaluma, 707-762-5997, www.petalumaseared.com

Conchas, a Mexican sweet bread, at Tia Maria Panaderia y Pasteleria in Santa Rosa. (Beth Schlanker)

Tía Maria Panaderia and Pasteleria ($5 sweet perk): Opened in 2019 by Will Seppi of Costeaux Bakery, Tía María is a vibrant panaderia y pasteleria (bakery and pastry shop) east of Roseland in Santa Rosa, where customers flock to buy sweet breads traditional Mexican (pan dulce), Euro/American sandwiches and desserts. What really steals the show, however, are the conchas, a bun enriched with butter and sugar covered in a colorful cookie-like crust. For $5, you can get a pastry of your choice with a cup of Bella Rosa coffee. 44 Sebastopol Avenue, 707-540-9864, tiamaria.world

Underwood Bar and Bistro ($55 dinner) A delicious gem in the small town of Graton, Underwood rarely disappoints with its robust cocktail list, bistro-inspired (and Thai) dishes and, dare I say, fantastic fries. On the restaurant’s three-course menu of the week, you’ll find these fries mounted on a steak, accompanied by a starter of soup or salad and additional main courses of fish or ribs. For dessert, expect a warm chocolate torte or a mascarpone cheesecake. 9113 Graton Rd, Graton, 707-823-7023, underwoodgraton.com

Valletta ($55 Dinner): Healdsburg-born chef Dustin Valette and his brother, Aaron Garzini, continue to impress at this beloved restaurant, where Sonoma County cuisine comes into its own. Local farmers, ranchers and vendors showcase their best wares here, which become even more ethereal under the magical hands of Valette and her team. For restaurant week, expect four dishes to knock your socks off, including honey-brined pork porterhouse or charred Japanese eggplant falafel. 344 Center St., Healdsburg, 707-473-0946, valettehealdsburg.com

Two of the most popular drinks in Peru: a Pisco Sour, left, and Vamos Boys, which is made with Pisco, Elderflower, vermouth bianco and Tio Pepe. At Warike Restobar in downtown Santa Rosa. (Erik Castro)
At Warike Restobar in downtown Santa Rosa. (Erik Castro)

Warike Restaurant ($25 lunch, $35 dinner): Warike Restobar opened in fall 2021 and is Santa Rosa’s newest foray into Peruvian cuisine. Sister restaurant to Ayawaska in Petaluma, Warike shares its brother’s focus on Peruvian cuisine with a modern twist, as well as stellar specialty cocktails and pisco sours. For restaurant week, try the two-course soup and sandwich or opt for the three-course dinner and choose from Peruvian paella, Peruvian-style pesto linguine, flat tenderloin steak and more. 527 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, 707-536-9201, warikesf.com

Spirit & Wisdom ($55 dinner): Wit & Wisdom is chef Michael Mina’s first dining destination in Sonoma wine country, and we’re so glad he’s here. The $55 chef’s tasting menu is sure to delight starters, including king crab and endive Caesar salad with caper aioli, and entrees like seared ahi tuna with butternut squash caponata and pistachio mandarin lemongrass. All diners must participate in the tasting menu (poor you). 1325 Broadway, Sonoma, 707-931-3405, witandwisdomsonoma.com

Advice

Respect the rules. Restaurants can still enforce their own mask and vaccination rules. Check their protocols before you go.

Be patient. Restaurants are experiencing labor shortages and need more time to sanitize surfaces. Allow more time for your meal.

To make a reservation. You don’t need tickets for Restaurant Week, but reservations are recommended. Reservations also help restaurants give you the time, safety, and attention you deserve.

Delivery of the order. Are you still worried about going out to a restaurant? Order delivery or take-out. Some restaurants are offering their take-out restaurant week specials.

Have a drink. Join Master Sommelier Thomas Price for a virtual wine tasting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, February 23. Visit socorestaurantweek.org to register for the event.

For more information: socorestaurantweek.org

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