Where to Eat: Petaluma Restaurants
Once known as the "Egg Basket of the World," Petaluma — the southernmost city in Sonoma County — has stayed true to its agricultural roots while evolving into a foodie haven, with dining options that include a vibrant mix of cultural cuisine, award-winning eateries, and farm-to-table flavors starring locally sourced produce and meat.
From breakfast and lunch to dinner and dessert, here's an overview of just some of the best places to eat in Petaluma.
Breakfast, Brunch and Lunch
Located in the old U.S. Bakery building (circa 1860) in downtown Petaluma, the aromas of freshly baked pastries and breads have continuously filled this space for more than 150 years. Enjoy delicious, wholesome food that's beautifully prepared and presented, like poached ranch eggs and corned beef hash.
Enjoy classic American diner food made with Sonoma County freshness. Local fan favorites include the cornmeal pancakes, fluffy waffles, and fresh-squeezed orange juice. Sometimes the lines can be long to get into this local diner, especially on Sunday mornings, so get there early. But, trust us, even if you have to wait...it's worth it!
Tea Room Café
Renowned for its pancakes, omelets, and scrambles, the Tea Room also features an in-house bakery, offering an array of seasonal sweets as well as signature favorites.
Water Street Bistro
A local favorite, Water Street Bistro features French-inspired cuisine (with side trips to Morocco, Spain, Mexico, and California) for breakfast and lunch. There's nothing quite like starting your day with one of their legendary quiches on the outdoor patio overlooking the Petaluma River.
Brewpubs and Breweries in Petaluma
Brewsters Beer Garden
Family-friendly Brewsters features a California interpretation of southern barbecue, more than 30 rotating craft brews on tap, local wines, and craft cocktails. There's plenty of open-air seating, a bocce ball court, and a fire pit for chilly nights, with live music Thursday through Sunday nights.
McNears Saloon & Dining House
Housed in a 1911 building in Petaluma's downtown theater district, McNears features traditional but innovative American cuisine, with dishes like Pork Lovers' Mac n' Cheese, barbecue tri-tip, and the Moroccan-spiced brick-chicken fettuccine. The full service bar includes local wines and microbrews.
Taps On the River
Located right on the Petaluma River, Taps serves hearty pub food with a local twist, as well as dozens of ciders, ales, lagers, sours, and, on occasion, meads. Start with the deep-fried Brussels sprouts or the Crazy Abe fries (house-cut fries topped with Point Reyes blue cheese, pepper jack cheese, pickled jalapeños, and Stage 1 sauce). Then, choose from a variety of salads and burgers, including the vegan-friendly Veggie Burger made with a house-made black-bean patty, red onion, tomato, lettuce, and mayo brightened with zhoug, a Yemeni spicy cilantro sauce.
The Block Petaluma
A gathering spot for local food trucks and families, The Block is an outdoor food market and beer garden. This spacious, family-friendly venue includes fire pits, games, live music, and dozens of beers on tap. There's a pizzeria on site as well as a rotating list of award-winning food trucks.
Taste the rich and vibrant flavors of Peruvian cuisine at Ayawaska Restobar. This unique eatery is modern, bright, and airy, offering a party-like atmosphere with large windows and a bar backed with colorful glass bottles. The food menu includes cold and hot appetizers, and plates designed to be shared, with choices like ceviche, yucas rellenas, and grilled octopus.
Everest Indian Restaurant
A local gem, Everest's hand-ground spices and passed-down recipes are at the heart of their dishes. In addition to Indian cuisine, Everest showcases the owners' Nepalese background with a few harder-to-find Nepalese and Tibetan dishes. Try the succulent fish curry or, for a taste of the Himalayas, the lamb chutney.
Savor authentic Italian cuisine in a bright and cozy dining room or on a romantic patio beside the Petaluma River at Cucina Paradiso. Some menu highlights include soft homemade polenta topped with scattered mushrooms and Italian cheeses, an authentic Caesar salad with anchovies, and pork tenderloin sautéed with porcini, prosciutto, brandy, and mustard.
Located on a side street just off Petaluma Boulevard, this casual eatery serves premier Mediterranean and Turkish street food. Try the classic lamb and beef döner (Turkish kebab), eggplant salad, or tabouli. Then, wash it all down with a Turkish tea and some flaky baklava.
Risibisi's rustic elegance paired with its award-winning Sonoma-Italian cuisine makes for an indulgent dining experience worthy of a vacation. Savor dishes like seared duck breast in a mélange of carrot fregola, braised radish, roasted baby carrot, and cardamom-duck sauce, or the house-made gnocchi smothered in braised-wild-boar ragu and topped with shaved Parmigiano. Gluten-free pastas are also available.
Generations of traditional family recipes from Northern Italy are blended with local ingredients and Sonoma Wine Country style in this casual-chic eatery. The menu features artfully handcrafted pastas, sauces, and cured meats, plus a selection of local and Italian wines.
Dinner Spots in Petaluma
Everything here is made in-house and from scratch daily, including the fresh bread that comes out of the wood-fired oven each morning. The menu features farm-to-table California-Mediterranean cuisine, with ingredients from the restaurant's own Petaluma farm. The wine list showcases local and international selections.
Housed in the recently remodeled Hotel Petaluma building, The Shuckery features the most exquisite oysters from pristine waters all over North America, plus fresh seafood of all types. Signature dishes include oysters on the half shell, salmon two ways, Baja-style tacos, barbecued oysters, and calamari relleno.
Wild Goat Bistro
From specialty Neapolitan-style pizza to innovative salads, scrumptious main dishes, and sharable small plates, this bistro uses local ingredients in a variety of culinary traditions. The seasonally rotating menus have something for everyone, anytime of the day — and everything is gluten free, including the yummy house-made desserts. It's a casual dining experience for lunch or dinner, in a homey and inviting atmosphere.
Step back in time at this old-fashioned ice cream parlor and soda fountain and enjoy anything from a simple scoop of homemade ice cream to a banana split or even a six-scoop flight. Taste seasonal flavors like Nutella-banana, Petaluma strawberry, and maple candied-bacon chocolate ganache, plus dairy-free coconut-based options.
Petaluma Pie Company
Both sweet and savory pies are made with local and organic ingredients. The menu changes seasonally and can include the likes of chicken pot pie, curried cauliflower and chick peas, or Chilean beef empanada on the savory side, while Pennsylvania Dutch shoofly pie, strawberry cream, and old-fashioned pumpkin pie for the sweets.
Of course, this list is just a starting point for creating your own Petaluma adventures, culinary or otherwise. For more ideas, read An Evening in Historic Downtown Petaluma and Five Fun Things to Do in Petaluma.
Written by Sonoma Insider Patricia Henley.