Fandee's in Sebastopol
Fandee's in Sebastopol - Photo by Heather Irwin

18 Sonoma County Restaurants Only Locals Know About

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Even in tourist destinations like Sonoma Wine Country, there are plenty of off-the-map eateries where locals congregate. Chances are you won’t hear about them in the guidebooks, but locals know where to find the tasty stuff. Here are some of our favorites.

Goguette Bread
Goguette Bread 

Goguette Bread, Santa Rosa: You’ll know if Goguette is open if there’s a line winding out the door of this sliver of a bakery. Long-fermented loaves are hearty and perfectly crusted. Order online and pick up freshly baked breads (Wed-Sat, 1:30-6 p.m.) 59 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa

Conchas at Tia Maria Panaderia
Conchas at Tia Maria 

Tia Maria, Santa Rosa: A garden of paper dahlias bloom from the walls of this petite Mexican panaderia y pasteleria (bakery and cake shop) that’s a Costeaux French Bakery project. It took more than a year to perfect their conchas, which are sweet and addictive. 44 Sebastopol Ave., Santa Rosa, 707-540-9864 

Duck breast at Walter Hansel Wine Bistro
Duck breast at Walter Hansel Wine Bistro 

Walter Hansel Wine Bistro, Santa Rosa: Wine Country food with a strong French accent. This country roadhouse serves up everything from escargots, chicken cordon bleu and ratatouille to raw oysters, Kobe beef burgers and an extensive wine list with local and French wines. 3535 Guerneville Road, Santa Rosa, 707-546-6462

Tacos from Freaking Tacos
Tacos from Freaking Tacos 

Freaking Tacos, Santa Rosa: Terrific tacos without any of the bells and whistles. There's very limited seating, so it's best to grab a bunch of $2 tacos and head home. 400 W. Third St., Suite C, Santa Rosa, 707-890-5003

Grain bowl at Lunchette
Grain bowl at Lunchette

Lunchette, Petaluma: Chef-driven lunch dishes include salads, bowls, soups, pizza slices and seasonal specials. Highlights include the best-selling Farro Chicken Salad with apple, shallots, herbs, candied almonds, harissa-roasted chicken breast, goat cheese, pickled onions and mustard vinaigrette. 25 Fourth St., Petaluma, 707-241-7443

Housemade pasta with Manila clams at Trading Post
Housemade pasta at Trading Post

Trading Post Restaurant, Cloverdale: It's worth a trip north for the farm-focused, seasonal menu from Chef Aaron Arabian. Current menu highlights include Preston Farm Brussels sprout gratin with Fontina cheese sauce; and Mt. Lassen trout with miso-ginger sauce, farro, grilled broccolini, carrot, spigarello (Italian heirloom broccoli) and pickled radish. 102 S. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale, 707-894-6483

Charlie's Restaurant patio overlooks the green at Windsor Golf Club
Charlie's Restaurant patio overlooks the pond at Windsor Golf Club

Charlie's Restaurant at the Windsor Golf ClubLunch or early dinners are tops at this clubby restaurant where the food goes beyond what you'd expect. Lots of sharable appetizers, salads and meaty, rib-sticking entrees. Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Brunch Sat-Sun, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; happy hour Mon-Fri, 3-6 p.m. Open to the public. 1320 19th Hole Drive, Windsor, 707-838-8802

Mezze plate from Fandee's in Sebastopol—Photo by Heather Irwin
Mezze plate from Fandee's—Photo by Heather Irwin

Fandee's, Sebastopol: A standard diner with not-so-standard diner fare. Family-friendly with reasonable prices. Open Mon-Sun, 8 a.m.-9 p.m. 824 Covert Lane, Sebastopol, 707-829-2642, fandeesrestaurant.com. 

Baked delights from Pascaline
Baked delights from Pascaline

Pascaline, Sebastopol: French pastries with a crisp lacquered crackle and Parisian authenticity. Expanded lunch offerings are perfect for bringing on winery visits or to the office. 4552 Gravenstein Highway N. Sebastopol, 707-823-3122

Patio at Depot Sonoma
Patio and pool at Depot Sonoma 

Depot Hotel Restaurant, Sonoma: The outdoor patio and pool makes it a favorite for weddings and special events, but fresh pastas and hearty entrees have endeared this historic spot with locals. 241 First St. W., Sonoma, 707-938-2980

Scotch eggs from Sausage Emporium
Scotch egg from Sausage Emporium in Sonoma

Sausage Emporium, Sonoma: A quick stop for sausage sandwiches and draft beer from a local family. Don't miss the Crown Sausage Flight (a selection of five gourmet sausages paired with organic pickles and mustards) and the heritage pork Scotch egg with housemade pickles and fries. 31 E. Napa St., Sonoma, sausage-emporium.com

The Fig Cafe
The Fig Cafe

The Fig Cafe, Sonoma: Hidden away in Glen Ellen, this little wine bar is always packed with locals looking for a quick burger and a glass of wine from owner Sondra Bernstein's Rhone-focused wine menu. 13690 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen, thefigcafe.com

Guacamole at Juanita Juanita
Guacamole at Juanita Juanita 

Juanita Juanita, Sonoma: There are plenty of tiny taquerias that serve great street tacos, but this ramshackle spot outside Sonoma may be one of our favorites. Burritos are gi-normous, but we especially like the al pastor super tacos. 19114 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, 707-935-3981

Elote from Guiso Latin Fusion in Healdsburg
Elote from Guiso Latin Fusion in Healdsburg

Guiso Latin Fusion, Healdsburg: Few tourists venture off the Healdsburg Square to find gems like this jewel-box restaurant with just a handful of seats. Traditional Latin American dishes get a Wine Country bump and are always delish. 117 North St., Healdsburg, 707-431-1302

Agave in Healdsburg
Agave in Healdsburg

Agave, Healdsburg: An easy-to-miss Mexican tequileria in the Safeway shopping center that has real-deal Mexican food and the area's best mole, made from scratch. 1063 Vine St., Healdsburg, 707-433-2411

Peanut pie from Hazel - Photo by Heather Irwin
Peanut pie from Hazel - Photo by Heather Irwin 

Hazel, Occidental: A cozy bistro focused on wood-fired dishes. Must-orders include roasted chicken with smashed Yukon potatoes, spring onions, lemon vinaigrette and arugula; and Pt. Reyes blue cheese pizza with caramelized onions, Marcona almonds, mozzarella and arugula. Save room for homemade desserts that will astound. 3782 Bohemian Highway, Occidental, 707-874-6003

(Clockwise from bottom) Burrata Di Stefano appetizer platter, red chili prawn pasta, meatball sliders, and Nonna's homemade ravioli at Negri's in Occidental—Photo by Beth Schlanker
(Clockwise from bottom) Burrata Di Stefano appetizer platter, red chili prawn pasta, meatball sliders, and Nonna's homemade ravioli at Negri's in Occidental—Photo by Beth Schlanker

Negri's Italian Dinners & Joe's Bar, Occidental: A recent revamp has revitalized this historic Italian restaurant. Four generations have run the restaurant, and they still make their raviolis by hand. The bar is a fun spot for small bites, burgers, pizza and excellent craft cocktails. 3700 Bohemian Highway, Occidental, 707-874-0301

Pastas at Cannetti Roadhouse
Italian specialties at Cannetti Roadhouse Italiana

Canneti Roadhouse Italiana, Forestville: A passion for regional Italian cuisine is at the heart of this family-friendly roadhouse. Specials change up almost daily, but are always as delicious as they sound. 6675 Front St., Forestville, 707-887-2232


Written by Heather Irwin