With its many small towns, Sonoma County is known for its cozy neighborhood gathering spots, beloved by locals as much as they are by visitors seeking an excellent meal. The new Salt & Stone fits that bill perfectly, as the rebirth of a restaurant space dating back many decades. Originally, it was Bunny’s Country Kitchen (famous for its fried chicken with biscuits and honey), next it was the Capri and, since 1987, Kenwood Restaurant.
It demands a double take: a bright red horse trailer parked in front of a popular Santa Rosa brewery becomes even more interesting when you realize it has been converted to a pizza parlor. But it’s true, with Red Horse Pizza now at the new HenHouse Brewing Company on Bellevue Avenue near Stony Point.
Dining out in Sonoma County can be even more delightful — and an excellent bargain — when you bring your own wine. A generous “BYOB” policy at our restaurants includes everything from free corkage to a small charge that usually runs around $5 to $15.
One local group, Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley, even offers vouchers for free corkage at a variety of restaurants, if you purchase a bottle of wine from one of their many participating wineries.
All eyes – and appetites – are on Santa Rosa right now, following the debut of Perch and Plow and its Sonoma County-centric Cal-American cuisine. A project of chef Mike Mullins, it puts a more casual spin on his skills learned at restaurants such as Michelin-starred Cavallo Point, the former Petite Syrah and the former Kenwood Restaurant.
Set on Santa Rosa’s historic downtown square, the bright, airy spot is artsy, both in its look and its cooking. An Asian inspired octopus mural commands one wall, overlooking sleek blonde and black wood tables, a bar and open kitchen.
Sondra Bernstein is best known for helping put Sonoma County on the big league culinary map 20 years ago, when she opened her the girl & the fig’s restaurant. Immediately, her California-French cuisine was a huge hit, garnering national attention for elegant dishes like local fig salad tossed with local goat cheese.
There are lots of notable Mexican restaurants in Sonoma County, ranging from casual, order-at-the-counter burritos, to the upscale Yucatan-French inspired cuisine at Mateo’s Cocina Latina in Healdsburg. Now, Sebastopol’s new Barrio Fresca Cocina Mexicana brings the two concepts together, in a relaxed, paper plate kind of place serving mouthwatering dishes crafted with organic seasonal ingredients.
The newly renovated Restaurant at Russian River Vineyards in Forestville is anchored by a very important thing: a culinary garden. That’s because the eatery showcases spectacular, garden-fresh cuisine with ingredients supplied by winery farmer Kayta Brady.
Formerly known as Corks, the Restaurant has been working its way toward the garden theme since the summer of 2014, when its ownership team dug the first small section of dirt to grow staples like tomatoes and peppers.