1 | Cafe La Haye
Chef/owner John McReynolds says the older he gets, the simpler his cooking becomes. The Mediterranean-flavored dishes that come out of this postage-stamp kitchen are some of the best you’ll ever taste.
140 East Napa Street, Sonoma; 707/935-5994
2 | Carneros Bistro and Wine Bar
Don’t discount Carneros Bistro as a hotel restaurant (it’s in The Lodge at Sonoma). The local lamb and the wild salmon are well prepared, and the wine list shows off many individual Sonoma vineyards.
1325 Broadway, Sonoma; 707/931-2042; thelodgeatsonoma.com
3 | Deuce
This warm, artful restaurant gets little outside press but is a resident favorite for creative, local-ingredient cooking.
691 Broadway, Sonoma; 707/933-3823; dine-at-deuce.com
4 | El Dorado Kitchen
The cool bar and outdoor lounge area might be a hangout for the denim crowd, but the ultramodern dining room will make you want to dress up and sip a martini. Beautiful plate presentations from chef Ryan Fancher, a French Laundry alum.
405 First Street West, Sonoma; 707/996-3030; eldoradosonoma.com
5 | Harvest Moon Café
This Sonoma Plaza newcomer in a historic adobe has met with almost universal acclaim for Jen and Nick Demerest’s Southern Mediterranean–accented menu, and for the casual grace of its setting, which includes an attractive back patio.
487 First Street West, Sonoma; 707/933-8160; harvestmoonsonoma.com
6 | LaSalette Restaurant
Go here for earthy, delicious Portuguese dishes, with an emphasis on seafood.
452 First Street East, Suite H, Sonoma; 707/938-1927; lasalette-restaurant.com
7 | The Girl and the Fig
The girl is restaurateur/whirlwind Sondra Bernstein, whose bistro on the ground floor of the Sonoma Hotel is one of the best reasons to visit Sonoma Plaza. A new addition to Bernstein’s empire, The Fig Pantry (1190 East Napa Street; 707/933-3000), is a few blocks away, next door to her Les Petites Maisons cottages.
110 West Spain Street, Sonoma; 707/938-3634; thegirlandthefig.com
8 | Central Market
An open, exposed-brick bistro emphasizing organic foods. It's all delish, but for a taste of the area, we especially love the simple romaine salad with chopped egg and buttermilk-blue cheese dressing ― all local, of course.
42 Petaluma Blvd. N.; 707/778-9900
9 | Della Fattoria
After a recent visit, Sunset food editor Margo True said, "How can bread be that good?" Start with a sandwich at an outdoor table and finish with the strawberry chiffon cake. Thank us later.
141 Petaluma Blvd. N.; 707/763-0161.