10 Restaurants with Outdoor Seating
Sonoma County's Mediterranean climate means luxuries like enjoying dining outside year-round. A farm-to-table meal tastes even fresher, somehow, when we're relaxing al fresco, surrounded by gorgeous gardens.
But oh my, the flavor, and there are twists, too, like gnocchi made with purple potatoes, king trumpet mushrooms, young onions, Cinderella squash, and fava-hemp seed pesto; or a gorgeous salad of quinoa and watercress tossed with sugar snap peas, Chiogga beets, radish, and mint in preserved lemon vinaigrette.
Backyard, 6566 Front St., Forestville, 707-820-8445
Chef Ryan Fancher works in a Sonoma-style setting, in a mahogany barn with pitchforks on the walls, next door to Barndiva owner Jil Hales's art gallery, Barndiva Gallery + Bar. You know you're in for a special meal at Barndiva when you see the garden patio, lushly landscaped so that eating outdoors seems like grandeur. A few of the farms that the chef partners with include Bellwether Farms, Early Bird's Place, Mix Garden, The Patch, Philo Apple Farm, and Preston Farm & Winery. That translates into mouthwatering dishes like cauliflower soup with caramelized florets, raisins, fried capers, toasted almonds, and sage; and sautéed Pacific swordfish with fregola sarda, green goddess, cracked crab, olive, and tomato confit.
Barndiva, 231 Center St., Healdsburg, 707-431-0100
Bear Republic Brewing Company Lakeside, Rohnert Park
Healdsburg's renowned Bear Republic Brewing Company expanded by creating this family-friendly brewpub in Rohnert Park. Bring the kids, enjoy a beer outside in the beer garden overlooking Roberts Lake (a city park and reservoir), and play a game of Jenga or Cornhole with your family and friends. They offer quality, handcrafted beers, housemade specialty cocktails, pizza, and more. Popular favorites include the Brewers' Mac and Cheese or the classic BBQ Park Sandwich, made with sauce from the brewery's Peter Brown Tribute Ale.
Bear Republic Brewing Company Lakeside, 5000 Roberts Lake Road, Rohnert Park, 707-585-2822
Brewsters Beer Garden, Petaluma
Located in downtown Petaluma on the edge of the river, this family- and pet-friendly open-air dining restaurant offers more than 350 seats in a beautiful historic setting, with the comforts of large heat lamps, a fire pit, bocce court, children's playground, and live music stage. Think southern BBQ meets California produce with a refined touch of explosive flavors, and featuring a smattering of locally sourced and and sustainably raised Petaluma producers and ranchers. Brewsters offers more than 30 revolving local craft beers on draft, Sonoma and Napa Valley wines, and a full selection of spirits and cocktails.
Brewsters Beer Garden, 229 Water St., Petaluma, 707-981-8330
Ca' Bianca, Santa Rosa
Enjoy al fresco flair on the porch overlooking the fountain garden framed in flowering trees at this grand old mansion in old town Santa Rosa. But even more, you'll love the excellent Italian cuisine, showcasing various regions and crafted by owners and husband-and-wife Marco Diana and Karin Hoehne. Recipes draw from Milano in the north to Sicily in the south, for dishes like seared ahi with home-made ravioli in almond sauce; Sardinian semolina gnocchi with porcini and slowly braised beef; or roasted breast of duck served with sautéed spinach and fingerling potatoes. Dressing up isn't necessary, but makes the meal more fun, as you'll feel extra glamorous in the old-school sophisticated setting with chandeliers, white tablecloths, antique furniture, and those gracious gardens.
Ca' Bianca, 835 2nd St., Santa Rosa, 707-542-5800
Campo Fina, Healdsburg
It feels like a touch of Italy has landed in Wine Country at this venture from Dawnelise and Ari Rosen. Burrata arrives in generous dollops of creamy-rich cheese plopped on grilled bread with salty curls of prosciutto and dots of aged balsamic, while pizza is divine, crispy-crusted with just enough give for some good chew, and a hint of char that doesn't overwhelm the pristine toppings like pork belly with smoked mozzarella, squash, chanterelles, and arugula.
The patio is irresistible year-round, where we relax at salvaged-wood tables under an open-beamed canopy framed with brick columns and creeping vines, take in a game on the bocce court, grab a cocktail at the concrete bar, and watch the action around the freestanding wood-burning pizza oven.
Campo Fina, 330 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, 707-395-4640
More recently, the former tiny wood patio in back was transformed into a 7,000 square foot wonderland boasting a full bar, al fresco bistro seating, an adjacent garden, and the main floor done in elaborate, circular swirl of Italian, black-and-white checkerboard marble.
Catelli's, 21047 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville, 707-857-3471
The Farmhand, Guerneville
This gourmet deli, espresso bar, and market specializes in house made food with quality ingredients, with locally sourced products as often as possible. It also offers spectacular views of the Russian River from its back deck, making it a great place to enjoy lunch. The menu includes a variety of both meat and vegetarian sandwiches, as well as a selection of salads and pre-made takeout dinners like meatloaf made with all natural grass-fed beef plus roasted red potatoes with a molasses chipotle glaze.
The Farmhand, 15025 River Road, Guerneville, 707-604-7795
the girl & the fig, Sonoma
Sit outside on the beautiful terrace and watch the sun set over the gentle rolling hills of the Alexander Valley. Dine on cuisine that embraces both international and traditional Italian dishes. And, relax in casual style at the onsite restaurant at Francis Ford Coppola Winery. Drawing on a life that has taken him around the world, Coppola shares his personal favorite dishes on the menu. The emphasis is on family-style cooking and fresh, seasonal ingredients. Authentic, Neapolitan-style pizzas are also a specialty. As an added bonus, you can also sip wines from one of Hollywood's most famous movie directors. A full-service bar next to the restaurant serves cocktails and offers an extensive wine and beer list.
Rustic, 300 Via Archimedes, Geyserville, 707-857-1485