Sonoma Plaza

Sonoma’s restaurant scene run the gamut from European-style cafes to colorful taquerias—and any exploration of this iconic Wine Country town has to start on the Sonoma Plaza.

Set in the heart of downtown, the eight-acre, tree-filled Sonoma Plaza offers lush green lawns, a gorgeous rose garden, two playgrounds, a duck pond, picnic tables, an outdoor amphitheater, and a 1908 City Hall building designed with four identical sides so that no plaza merchants would feel slighted by their view. Surrounded by independent shops, winery tasting rooms, historic sites, and acclaimed eateries, the Sonoma Plaza is a great starting place for foodie lovers. 

Continue reading for a guide to Sonoma’s dining options.

Breakfast (or Lunch …)

Basque Boulangerie Cafe

A French flag flies over sidewalk tables on the plaza
Basque Boulangerie Cafe

On the east side of Sonoma Plaza, Basque Boulangerie Cafe features recipes that have been family treasures since 1956. Customers keep returning for the original sourdough and sweet French breads, the decadent pastries, and nearly two dozen flavors of croissants.

Pastries at Basque Boulangerie Cafe in Sonoma
Pastries at Basque Boulangerie Cafe

The Moon Pie Danish is magical, as are the cranberry scones, apple strudel and apricot buttercream coffee cake. Linger over all-day breakfast items, such as crepes, or indulge with iconic French sandwiches like the croque monsieur (hot ham and cheese sandwich); you can’t go wrong with their incredible selection of sweet and savory treats. Just be sure to order a treat for your pup on the dog-friendly patio.

El Molino Central

Exterior of El Molino Central in Sonoma
El Molino Central

A stylish taqueria just outside of the town of Sonoma, near the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, El Molino Central is known for tortillas made from corn stone-ground by hand into traditional masa dough. 

Traditional sopas at El Molino Central in Sonoma
Traditional tortillas at El Molino Central

The crisp, thick tortillas are the base of the marvelous guajillo chile chilaquiles, smothered in soft-scrambled Field of Greens eggs, roasted tomato and chipotle salsa, and refried black beans. Other mouthwatering dishes include the crispy shrimp tacos, chicken mole enchiladas, and tamales.

the girl & the fig

A table set outside with appetizers, salad, and wine
the girl & the fig

Anchoring the northwest corner of the plaza, cookbook author Sondra Bernstein’s the girl & the fig restaurant presents innovative country food with a French passion. Her California-French cuisine has been a hit since its debut in 1997, garnering national attention for elegant dishes like the fig salad tossed with local goat cheese. The popular restaurant, styled on a French bistro, includes an enclosed garden patio for extra shade and seating.

Garden patio at the girl & the fig
Enclosed patio at the girl & the fig

Menu highlights include a breakfast tartine with a veggie scramble, house-made chicken sausage, white cheddar, smoked paprika hollandaise, and salsa verde on grilled French bread; and a decadent pork belly sandwich with fennel aioli, apples and cabbage on a brioche bun, served with crispy frites.

Sunflower Caffe

A person wearing a sun hat walks next to tables that line the plaza
Sunflower Caffe

Sunflower Caffe invites guests to its charming, sunny oasis for breakfast and lunch. Sunflower Caffe serves up some of Sonoma’s freshest and most local ingredients in unique and creative dishes. Grab a sunny sidewalk table and dive into the Peruvian breakfast burrito with eggs, roasted corn and yam, rainbow quinoa, aji verde salsa, cheddar cheese, aji amarillo crema, and salsa criolla inside a chipotle tortilla. Or, for lunch, enjoy the decadent smoked duck breast sandwich served warm in a split baguette with caramelized onions, melted gruyere, mayonnaise, Dijon, and dressed organic greens.

International

LaSalette Restaurant

Portugeues tiles and a wood-fired oven at LaSalette Restaurant in Sonoma
LaSalette Restaurant

LaSalette is authentic Portuguese dining, down to the Portuguese wine list, featuring sips like Vinho Verde alongside premium Sonoma County wines. The 40-seat spot showcases elaborately painted Portuguese wall tiles, a wood-burning oven, and a semi-open kitchen. 

Portuguese Fisherman's Stew from LaSalette Restaurant in Sonoma
Portuguese Fisherman’s Stew from LaSalette 

Savor traditional dishes like the Bacalhau no Forno, a baked casserole of North Atlantic salt cod with potatoes, onions, and olives; and the Portuguese Fisherman’s Stew with sea bass, scallops, clams, mussels, shrimp, and wood-oven roasted octopus.

La Casa Restaurant & Bar

Carnitas kajitas served in a cast iron skillet
La Casa Restaurant & Bar

La Casa is a classic, old school Mexican restaurant at its core, from the exterior red tile roof and Spanish-font signage, to the Saltillo tile floors, brick trim, leather Hacienda furniture, and full bar decked with tequila bottles. This belly-filling, wonderfully flavorful Sonoran-style Mexican restaurant doesn’t shy away from sauces or cheese, and prides itself on jalapeno poppers stuffed with cream cheese for dipping in garlic ranch. Dig into thick corn-tortilla sopes and chile rellenos, or choose from traditional Mexican plates like Jalisco-style carnitas, carne asada, and a Mexican-flag trio of enchiladas.

Tasca Tasca Portuguese Tapas & Wine Bar  

A chef stands behind the bar chatting with patrons
Tasca Tasca Portuguese Tapas & Wine Bar

This Portuguese tapas restaurant and wine bar brings casual but chic European dining to Sonoma Plaza. Tasca means “tavern” or “pub” in Spanish, though you’ll find a more elevated experience here.

Cod fritters at Tasca Tasca in Sonoma
Cod fritters at Tasca Tasca in Sonoma

All the native touches can be found at Tasca Tasca, from Portuguese music in the background and European soccer on television, to lovely bar nibbles like queijo de São Jorge cheese with marmalade, Spanish beer nuts; cod fritters; Batatas a Murro (smashed potatoes) with truffle butter; pickles of all kinds; and octopus salad with white beans.

Dinnertime

Sante Restaurant at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn

The interior of the stylish, modern dining room
Sante Restaurant at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn

In The Springs district north of Sonoma town limits, the acclaimed Santé restaurant uses the freshest local produce, meats, poultry, and seafood to create elegantly simple dishes that let the natural flavors speak for themselves. Santé is the flagship restaurant for the historic Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa.

Mamma Tanino’s Ristorante

It’s a must for any great Italian restaurant to have a chef with Italian roots. And so it is with Chef Gaetano Patrinostro of Mamma Tanino’s Ristorante, who imports products from his homeland of Italy, alongside fresh Sonoma County ingredients, to prepare authentic Italian cuisine in this cozy trattoria just west of Sonoma Plaza. Pappardelle Bolognese, basked eggplant, Gnocchi, and Veal Parmigiana are just a few of the classic Italian dishes you’ll find on the menu at Mamma Tanino’s Ristorante.

The Plaza Bistro

Sidewalk tables with white tablecloths line the Sonoma PLaza
The Plaza Bistro

The Plaza Bistro serves Mediterranean and Italian bistro food in a historic building right on the plaza in downtown Sonoma. Its historic brick building and sidewalk tables exude a feeling of dining al fresco in Europe. Savor classic dishes like pork loin scaloppini sauteed with white wine capers and lemons or butternut squash risotto with caramelized onions, petite peas, mushrooms, and parmesan. Top it off with classics like Tiramisu or Creme Brulee. 

Something Sweet

Sweet Scoops

Ice cream cone outside of Sweet Scoops in Sonoma
Sweet Scoops

Wandering through the Sonoma Plaza, the aroma of homemade waffle cones fills the air near Sweet Scoops. Here, you’ll find less out of the ordinary flavors, and more of the classics that are as delicious as they are decadent. Flavors include cookie dough that is chalk full of dough, caramel butter brickle, and their creamy strawberry flavor made with local strawberries. If you can’t decide on one flavor, opt for a flight of four tiny scoops.

For more possibilities, read 5 Fun Things To Do in Sonoma. Craving even more delicious food? Take a look at the Best Restaurants in Sonoma County and check our listings of all Sonoma County Restaurants.

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