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Friday, May 26, 2017

Eating Cheaply in Sonoma County

When you visit you've got your travel expenses, accommodations, and all that wonderful wine you're taking home. You also have to eat. Sonoma County has many excellent restaurants and part of the trip is experiencing some of the fabulous food offered. Visitors from most parts of the country will find Sonoma County restaurant prices higher than they're used to. What can you do to cut this cost and still eat better than Denny's? (My gawd, don't come all the way here and eat Denny's).

A way to sample some of the better restaurants is by having your "fancy" meal of the day at lunchtime as midday menus are less expensive than dinner entrees. Then have something lighter at a locals joint for dinner. There are restaurants where you can eat at the bar for less money.

What town you dine in matters. Healdsburg and Sonoma are visitor magnets and the prices are higher. Don't fear the food trucks as there are lots of good ones. Mexican taquerias are another option.
SmashBurger from the Wurst Restaurant in Healdsburg
One of the best, and one of the best priced
Some ideas of where to eat and not break the bank:


Mike's at the Crossroads. Cotati isn't close to anything wine-related and this is just a burger joint, but it's considered by many to have the best burgers in the county.


Bravas. If you aren't too hungry and can get by on a tapas plate or two this is a good deal.

Campo Fina. Quality pizza and pasta for under $20 is about as good as you'll get in this town.

KinSmoke. A BBQ joint right on the town square. If you don't want the delicious protein you can always get collard greens.

Wurst Grill. Yes, sausages--imported from Wisconsin! You're Vegan? Don't even walk by this place because the smell of the sausages on the grill will turn you to The Dark Side.


Cafe Citti. An Italian diner. Pasta, roast chicken, deli sandwiches. One of my favorite lunch or dinner stops.

Rohnert Park

Amy's Drive Thru. You've probably seen Amy's Kitchen health-conscious food in your local market.

Santa Rosa

Mary's Pizza Shack. There are several throughout the county including three in Santa Rosa. Good pizza and pasta. Kid friendly.

Ricardo's. A neighborhood salad and meat joint with lots of wines available by the glass or bottle and several beer taps. No corkage fee if you bring in your own wine.

Rosso's. Get a salad and a wood oven pizza and two of you can share. Best pizza in town.

Sam's For Play Cafe. The locals' favorite diner.

Stark's. A steakhouse that is definitely not cheap. However, they have a great happy hour menu at the bar.


Black Bear Diner. A western U.S. chain with most located in California. All-American diner food and it's cheap. Other than a fast food joint or taqueria this is the least expensive meal you'll find in the town of Sonoma.

Fremont Diner. Pretty well known, but still reasonable prices because it's a funky little diner serving comfort foods.

The Red Grape. Known for their pizza. Not the cheapest pizza, but a good price for eating out in Sonoma near the town plaza.
Nope, doesn't look like much
and that helps keep the prices reasonable