Vinoma, a gourmet empanada shop in Rohnert Park, has been named the No. 1 place to eat in the Bay Area, according to Yelp.
The Top 100 list released on June 27, 2022 by the review site that’s often the bane of restaurant owners said the hidden gem has “the best empanadas hands down in the Bay Area.”
The Argentinian-style empanadas are flaky, delicious pockets of dough filled with meat, cheese, vegetables and fruit. Our favorites include beef Carne Suave with scallions, red onions, olives, chopped eggs and spices; the steak and cheese empanada; the al pastor with caramelized pineapple; and the less-traditional plum and bacon empanada. Don’t miss the Apple Crisp for dessert, along with shortbread cookies (alfajores) filled with dulce de leche.
A group of Yelp’s community managers curated the list, covering restaurants from Healdsburg to Santa Cruz, based on various criteria such as “spots are undeniably the tastiest, vibiest and liveliest based on local reviews.” Other methodology included the total volume and ratings of reviews, according to a news release.
Read on to see the eight Sonoma County restaurants that made the list:
1. Vinoma: Authentic Argentinian (and California-inspired) empanadas at a Rohnert Park gas station, no lie. We love the flakey crusts and flavorful interiors so much we suggest buying them by the dozen. 5085 Redwood Drive, Rohnert Park.
4. Azalo: Fans rave about the mix of Middle Eastern charbroiled kabobs, Mexican favorites like Conchinita pibil along with charbroiled burgers and hot dogs. The menu has recently expanded to include quesabirria and tacos. 5979 Commerce Blvd., Suite 8, Rohnert Park
8. Sonoma Wine Shop & La Bodega: A newcomer on this year's Top 100 list, Sonoma Wine Shop & La Bodega recently rolled out an "impressive all-vegetarian menu." The focus is Mediterranean-Middle Eastern cuisine and the restaurant only has six tables outside on the garden patio. Open for dinner Thursdays through Sundays. 2295 Highway 116 S., Sebastopol, 707-827-1832
18. The Mill at Glen Ellen: "If you are in the quaint town of Glen Ellen, spend your money here. The all-day menu is brief, but the Mediterranean-American dishes bring classy comfort food satisfaction. The mood is cheerful and the meals coming from the kitchen are first rate," says restaurant writer Carey Sweet. 14301 Arnold Drive, Suite 32, Glen Ellen
25. Guiso Latin Fusion: This small Healdsburg restaurant may only have a handful of tables, but its mix between Caribbean and Salvadorian cuisine provides miles of worldly flavor ... and it's only gotten better over the years. 117 North St., Healdsburg
60. The Twins Restaurant: Classic American breakfasts like chicken fried steak, biscuits and gravy, Benedicts and pancakes are served hot at this cozy diner. 572 E. Cotati Ave., Cotati
77. Sam’s Mediterranean Deli & Cafe: You won’t stumble on this out-of-the-way deli unless you spend a lot of time cruising quiet office parks looking for hole-in-the-wall lunch spots. Thankfully, I do. This charming little place is a Middle Eastern treasure. Their panini-style chicken shawarma wraps are a delicious entry point, with gently spiced meat and melted cheese. 613 Martin Ave., Suite 111, Rohnert Park
83. Don Julio’s: This Salvadorian pupusería is well loved by locals who rave about the handmade pupusas (thick corn tortillas stuffed with a savory filling and paired with spicy coleslaw). There are plenty of other options, too, including burritos, taco salads, tortas and enchiladas. 217 Southwest Blvd., Rohnert Park, 707-242-3160
Written by Heather Irwin