Top French Restaurants in Wine Country

Beef Daube from Bistro 29.

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Top French Restaurants in Wine Country

It just makes sense that many Sonoma County chefs embrace French traditions: French cooking is all about exquisite ingredients, offering a true sense of place on the plate. Whatever is freshest of the season, plucked from the best ranches, farms and gardens - that is what fills the chef's larder in both France and Sonoma County.

Bistro 29, Santa Rosa

A lovely taste of France is alive and well in Wine Country, with this gem from chef Brian and his wife Françoise Anderson. Casual and welcoming with rich red walls, dark wood trim, and bright white tablecloths, it's a wonderful place to relax over fine wine and frog legs. Lacy buckwheat crepes are a specialty, served savory or sweet, and cassoulet is a classic charmer of duck leg confit with applewood-smoked slab bacon and locally-made Provençal sausage.

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K&L Bistro, Sebastopol

Renovated and expanded in 2014, this charming brasserie is better than ever.

Double the space means double the delicious, since chef-owners Karen and Lucas Martin added a new full bar, raw bar, lounge, and mesquite wood-fire grill.

But the food hasn't changed all that much, since what could be better than long-time specialties such as house made charcuterie of warm rabbit rilletes; whole branzino dressed simply in olive oil and fleur de sel; PEI mussels mariniere with fries and aioli; and steak frites.

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Walter Hansel Wine and Bistro, Santa Rosa

The setting is old-style roadhouse on a country lane; the eatery is a project of Stephen Hansel, who also owns the nearby Walter Hansel Winery and Hansel Family Vineyards. French-born chef Philippe Colasse infuses a true taste of Europe in this ambitious menu, such as beef cheek bourguignon with button mushrooms, lardoons, sweet carrots, and buttered noodles, and a floating Island dessert of poached meringue, caramel, crème brulee, crystallized ginger, and toasted almonds. The wine list, naturally, features plenty of Hansel labels, as well as French selections.

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Water Street Bistro, Petaluma 

From the kouign-amanns to the French-visitor-approved quiches to the riverside location (just imagine you're looking out onto the Seine), Waterstreet Bistro has been a staple of Petaluma's Left Bank for nearly two decades. Owner and chef Stephanie Rastetter uses fresh, local ingredients and evokes a sunny day in Provance with every dish.

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Sweet French Treats

And if you are looking for authentic French bakeries, try Costeaux in Healdsburg or Basque Boulangerie Café in Sonoma. You won't be disappointed.

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Pain perdu! Bless you.

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