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Downtown Sonoma Restaurants, food shops


Krys Stanley
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After the great recommendation on this board for La Salette, I was wondering what else was good in downtown Sonoma.

Oh no, you say. Not ANOTHER Sonoma inquiry. I think I did my homework searching through previous posts. There are a few places I was curious about that were not mentioned. Also, I am only interested in restaurants on or in walking distance of the square, so that seems to leave out Deuce and The General's Daughter, correct? Also, is there a good breakfast place on the square?

I was so blissed out on the food at La Salette that I forgot to stop by the Wine Exchange.. I did check out the wonderful little The Cheesemakers Daughter recommended by WineSonoma.

Here’s some I’ve never seen mentioned:

Fiorini Italian Pastry shop . It had a Emporio Rulli look to it as I was driving by. Any good?

Cucina Viamga I may have the name wrong. I was driving by.It is the Italian place on the corner. It seemed to have some sort of deli type of display case.

Maya

Black Bear Diner … ok, ok, it’s probably the local Denny’s, but it’s slogan interested me “Good Old Fashioned Family Food”.

Is that ice cream / candy shop next to La Salette any good?

Here is what I’ve seen mentioned. I did leave out stuff not in walking distance of the square. These are the comments I found. It would be great if you folks added your suggestions for food at any of these places.

Andalusia tapas resaurant

Cafe la Haye

Della Santinia It seems the food could be inconsistent. Any updates?

La Basque Boulangerie morning pastries, coffee is mediocre. Is there anything Basque here?

La Poste they make their own pate It's French bistro food, and they are supposed to have a chocolate mousse to die for. . i had deliciously flavorful duck and my friend swooned over the cassoulet. the tarte tatin was deeply carameled

Meritage Seafood

Rins Thai This looked lovely. What is good to eat here?

Sonoma Savers

The Girl and the Fig nice cheese selection, flights of wine, charcuterie and interesting menu selections

The Red Grape decent CPK-like pizzas … What is CPK?

Vaquero American with Great Cocktails Tell me more Winesonoma. You recommended it. I was intrigued by the sign that said "California Ranch Cooking"

Just a bit about the Cheesemaker’s Daughter . When I walked in, I was initially disappointed by the small selection … well compared to Berkeley’s Cheeseboard’s 400 plus cheeses, the about 80 types of domestic and imported cheeses seemed small. I was interested though to see if there might be some small local unknown cheeses that this shop may carry. I phrased it wrong. I looked Ditty Vella in the eye and said “I’m from the Berkeley / San Francisco area. What would you have that I couldn’t find there”. Ouch.

Ditty Vella was really nice about my gaffe and said that pretty much everthing in the shop you could find at the cheeseboard. I was trying to find a US blue cheese I recently heard of and forgot the name. She recited all the US Blues. She didn’t have the particular one I wanted, but said that Cowgirl Creamery in SF carried it. Then she took out some Rouge and Noir blue. Actually I had never seen that anywhere in SF or Berkely. Then she gave me tastes of a few other cheeses. I am so enthusiastic about the helpfulness and fine cheeses at this shop.

Here’s a nice article from Sunset about Sonoma that includes a little info about Ditty Vella. Thanks WineSonoma for the tip to visit this charming shop.

Edited by JAZ (log)
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Here are my favorite food stops in Sonoma:

The Cheesemaker's daughter for the carefully chosen cheese and the great gelato

The Sonoma Market

LaSalette for the fish baked in a wood burning oven, the fried sardines, and the cornmeal rolls

Deuce for the grilled Wolf Farm quail, the lamb chops and the soups

Sonoma Saveurs for the duckburger, the artisan foie gras terrine, and thegrilled duck magret

Meritage for the fresh oysters

Cafe de la Haye for the smoked salmon, the pasta and the grilled meats

Red Grape for the New Haven style pizza!!!

The Swiss Hotel for the French fries

Fiorini Italian Bakery for the Italian style cookies

Himalaya for the tandoori naan

P.S.Andalucia and la poste are closed.

Maya is about to close.

Edited by Wolfert (log)

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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I'll second the duckburger at Sonoma Saveurs (thanks, Carrie!). Also had a good meal at Meritage a while ago. Della Santina's, just off the square, has quite decent Italian fare. The "Cucina Viamga" Krys referred to is in actuality Cucina Viansa, run by Viansa Winery. It is an Italian cafe and marketplace...a scaled-down version of what they have at the winery.

"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti."

- Dr. Hannibal Lecter

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Maya

I thought this was going to be great when it first opened. It was ok, sort of modern twists on Mexican, not particularly from the Yucatan as you might expect from the name. But it quickly went from fair to burritos and worse. It's very irritating because it had potential.

Cafe la Haye

This is the 1st choice for a Big Night Out among my Sonoma friends.

Vaquero  American with Great Cocktails Tell me more Winesonoma. You recommended it. I was intrigued by the sign that said "California Ranch Cooking"

Winesonoma, I'd like to hear more. It sounds like it's right up my alley but you hear no buzz and the menu seemed uninspired the one time I looked (over a year ago). I would love to hear that it's great!

Texans, close your ears for minute. If someone could really get California Rancho down to a science, I think it would kick the pants of Tex-Mex. Vella cheese instead of Velveeta? Any day for me. Olives, beef, chiles, figs.....

Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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It's also nice to visit Vella's Cheese Shop in the old stone building for some fresh or dry jack cheese.

Starting at the northeast corner of the plaza, (by the mission), go east one block; then north a half block.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Cucina Viamga  I may have the name wrong. I was driving by. It is the Italian place on the corner. It seemed to have some sort of deli type of display case.

Cucina Viansa is the correct name. A branch of the Viansa establishment that is mostly set up for tourists.

Maya

The business is for sale -- may not be around much longer.

Black Bear Diner … ok, ok, it’s probably the local Denny’s, but it’s slogan interested me “Good Old Fashioned Family Food”.

Perfect analogy -- it is actually a large chain which is exactly like Denny's.

Andalusia tapas resaurant

Has been gone for almost eight months. Is now the new home of Meritage.

Della Santinia It seems the food could be inconsistent. Any updates?

Della Santina not "Santinia" I've eaten there four times -- twice it was exceptional and twice it was just okay.

La Basque Boulangerie   morning pastries, coffee is mediocre. Is there anything Basque here?

Not that I have found. But it is more than morning pastries. They make pretty good sandwiches, have a small wine bar, and produce fabulous breads.

Meritage  Seafood

See above

Rins Thai  This looked lovely. What is good to eat here?

Not "traditional" Thai but I really like this place. Everything I have had has been incredibly fresh.

Sonoma Savers

Saveurs not 'Savers'. As indicated in the Foie Gras to be illegal thread, they have cut back their hours and may not be open much longer. Pity.

The Red Grape  decent CPK-like pizzas … What is CPK?

California Pizza Kitchen. Innovative, small, single serving pizzas with odd toppings. Yep, the Red Grape is tyring to be exactly that, but not as good, IMHO.

Also, two great stores: Sonoma Market and Nonna's.

Edited by Carolyn Tillie (log)
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Cucina Viansa is for sale. Overlooked in Sonoma are The Depot just north of the square on 1st street west http://www.depothotel.com/. Also Deuce just south of town on broadway. Both are walking distance to the Plaza. Vacquero is burgers, ribs , steaks, etc. Great Bar which makes a good drink. Generals Daughter is being sold. I'm always glad to give direction and advice. Just ask. :biggrin::biggrin:

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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  • 2 months later...
Cucina Viansa is for sale. Overlooked in Sonoma are The Depot just north of the square on 1st street west  http://www.depothotel.com/. Also Deuce just south of town on broadway. Both are walking distance to the Plaza. Vacquero is burgers, ribs , steaks, etc. Great Bar which makes a good drink. Generals Daughter is being sold. I'm always glad to give direction and advice. Just ask. :biggrin:  :biggrin:

General's Daughter has reopened. New Chef is Preston Dishman. Anyone heard of him? Owners are Jim & Betty Hall. Going tonight, I'll have a report. :biggrin:

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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Cucina Viansa is for sale. Overlooked in Sonoma are The Depot just north of the square on 1st street west  http://www.depothotel.com/. Also Deuce just south of town on broadway. Both are walking distance to the Plaza. Vacquero is burgers, ribs , steaks, etc. Great Bar which makes a good drink. Generals Daughter is being sold. I'm always glad to give direction and advice. Just ask. :biggrin:  :biggrin:

General's Daughter has reopened. New Chef is Preston Dishman. Anyone heard of him? Owners are Jim & Betty Hall. Going tonight, I'll have a report. :biggrin:

Preston is an eGullet member as is Nichole who does FOH. Moved here from Ft Meyers Fl, Food was excellent and will be back soon. Sorry for a short report but it's Friday nite.

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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