You don’t have to be wealthy to eat well in Sonoma County. Sure, there are high-end restaurants with deep wine lists, $15 cocktails and menu items that include exotic and expensive ingredients. But beyond the gustatory glitz is a smorgasbord of good, honest and affordable eateries and dishes across the region. There are myriad options for delicious indulgence, but only if you know where to go. And we do. Welcome to cheap eats, Sonoma County style.
Here's a few of our top picks! For the full lists of 65 restaurants, please click here.
Start the Day:
DIERK’S MIDTOWN CAFÉ
This is the second location for Mark Dierkhising and Karen Brodsky (their first is Dierk’s Parkside Café). Their smoked salmon hash ($14.25) commands attention, accompanied by oven-dried tomatoes, green onions and hash browns. The perfectly cooked salmon is topped with two eggs and a chive-lemon-horseradish sauce that brings all the flavors together. And guess what? It’s the most expensive item on the menu, delivering great bang for the buck.
1422 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, 707-545-2233, dierksmidtown.com
RUSTIC FRANCIS’S FAVORITES
Francis Ford Coppola’s beloved Italian dishes are on display here, at his restaurant at Francis Ford Coppola Winery. The fairly priced menu, offered 11 a.m.-9 p.m., includes bargains such as spaghetti al pomodoro ($12), Uncle Mikey’s sausage sandwich with peppers and onions ($12), grilled vegetables with rice ($12) and a muffaletta sandwich that feeds three to four ($20). The L’Ami Louis Gâteau de Pommes — potato cake — is $16 and one is enough for a table of four to six.
300 Via Archimedes, Geyserville, 707-857-1471, francisfordcoppolawinery.com
FOURTH AND SEA
Anchored on the corner of Fourth and C streets, this humble joint fries up some of the best fish and chips in Sonoma – and some say, the Bay Area. For less than $8, you get a huge piece of grease-free, flaky white fish, served with coleslaw and addictive batter-dipped steak fries. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating, plus a walk-up window and drive-thru for takeout orders.
101 Fourth St., Petaluma, 707-762-6424, fourthandsea.com
Before there was the El Roy’s Mexican Grill sit-down restaurant in Petaluma, there was El Roy’s taco truck. Al pastor and shrimp tacos, burritos, quesadillas and so much more continue to be offered, at great prices, outside the restaurant location.
210 Edith St., Petaluma, 707-241-6534, visit on Facebook
SHISO MODERN ASIAN KITCHEN
Owner Ed Metcalfe’s best deal is the lunchtime bento boxes, which include miso soup, edamame, cucumber and seaweed salads, and steamed rice, plus choice of entree, including tofu, vegetarian, grilled salmon, Asian sticky ribs or chicken. ($8-$14). Happy hour is popular here and offers wasabi deviled eggs, miso sardines and crispy chicken wings ($1.75-$5).
19161 Sonoma Highway, Sonoma, 707-933-9331, shisorestaurant.com
LOCOCO’S CUCINA RUSTICA
LoCoco’s does cannoli proud, turning out classic versions as good as any found in New York or New Jersey. House-made, tube-shaped fried pastry shells are filled with sweetened ricotta, pistachios and orange zest, then dusted with powdered sugar. The first-bite crunch leads to a heavenly, creamy center. They’re well worth the $8.95 price for two cannoli.
117 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, 707-523-2227, lococos.net
Shared By: McKenna Leventhal | Seawolf Living