There’s something so civilized — yet relaxing — about Sunday brunch. It’s the best of breakfast and the best of lunch, and often in Sonoma County, there’s some lovely sparkling wine and cocktails involved.
Here are some of the best of the brunch:
The Terrace Grill, Santa Rosa
Tucked away in the gracious Flamingo Conference Resort & Spa, this sophisticated restaurant is one of the area’s most popular destinations for a Champagne (or sparkling wine) brunch. The Sunday brunch buffet stretches endlessly, and is a real deal for $33.75 adults / $15.95 children under 12 / free for kids under five. Where to start? How about charcuterie, seafood on ice, bacon and sausage, vegetarian chile relleno, eggs Benedict, and a hand-carved meat station. Where to end? At an entire table laden with desserts like bite size pumpkin pies and lemon tarts.
2777 4th St., Santa Rosa, 707-523-4745
Owners Miriam Donaldson and Josh Norwitt keep a groovy mood in their retro diner-café, where vinyl spins on an old fashioned turntable. But they’re pretty serious about the food. Comfort mid-morning favorites include tasty twists like wild sourdough pancakes with maple, butter, today’s jam, and bacon; coconut gruel with jasmine and black rice cooked in coconut milk topped in golden raisins, coconut flake, fruit, and lavender salt; or a BLT of thick, crisp house-made black-pepper bacon stacked with sweet onion confit, coffee-maple syrup, tomato, and spicy greens.
841 Petaluma Boulevard N., Petaluma, 707-763-2663
Girl & the Fig, Sonoma
In the last few years this restaurant expanded by enclosing its patio. That’s a good thing, since there are usually lines out the door. The lure is lovely plates like breakfast tartine of housemade chicken sausage, veggie scramble, white cheddar, smoked paprika hollandaise, salsa verde, and grilled French bread; baked eggs Provencal with garden tomatoes, fennel, leeks, organic eggs, gremolata, and grilled bread; and a decadent pork belly sandwich with fennel aioli, apples and cabbage on a brioche bun, served with crispy frites. Brunch served Sundays.
110 W. Spain St., Sonoma, 707-938-3634
Willow Wood Market & Café, Graton
Open since 1995, this café remains a wildly popular local secret. It's the place to see and be seen with Sonoma County winemakers who make it their regular haunt. Everything's good, but some Sunday brunch standouts include exceptional huevos rancheros and the gorgeous Monte Cristo featuring challah French toast stuffed with Black Forest ham and Jarlsberg, fried and smothered in toasted hazelnuts, strawberries, maple butter, and syrup.
9020 Graton Road, Graton, 707-823-0233
Mateo’s Cocina Latina, Healdsburg
Yucatan-born chef Mateo Granados puts spice in Saturday and Sunday brunch, served in the modern Mexican décor dining room or on the patio. Sonoma County-grown ingredients form the backbone of seasonal specialties such as empanadas stuffed with Laguna Farm chard, Preston homemade chorizo and queso fresco Salazar; tostadas piled in ground beef Yucatán picadillo with Preston olives, avocado, and White Crane Springs Ranch greens; or blue corn pancakes with mixed fruit, local honey, and butter.
214 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, 707-433-1520
Spinster Sisters, Santa Rosa
Spreading the joy over both Saturday and Sunday, chef-owner Liza Hinman cooks a comfort-chic spread ranging from playful (Spinster Onion Dip with local King salmon caviar, bagel chips and pickled jalapeno), to exotic (soba noodles with kimchi and poached eggs).
Joe's Benedict brings a pretty plate of poached Petaluma Farm eggs, prosciutto, red onion, arugula, avocado, and herb hollandaise on challah, while Dave's granola waffle is crunchy happiness smothered in whipped local butter and maple-agave syrup. Chocolate doughnut holes dunked in blackberry sauce — well, what more do we need to say?
401 S. A St., Santa Rosa, 707-528-7100
Pullman Kitchen, Santa Rosa
Chef Darren McRonald had us at “michelada,” for the restorative drink of spicy tomato juice, Hamm’s Lager, and a salted rim. Equally tempting are the sophisti-comfort recipes, like lemon ricotta pancakes drizzled in huckleberry sauce, a big bowl of poutine cheese fries smothered in chicken gravy, and a rich, fluffy order of vanilla bourbon French toast topped in whipped orange butter, and Vermont maple syrup. Served Saturday and Sunday.
205 5th St., Santa Rosa, 707-545-4300
Written by Sonoma Insider Carey Sweet