We all know Sonoma is a world-renowned wine region producing California wines that contend with some of the best Old World wines produced in Europe. But what about the best Sonoma restaurants? Thankfully, where there is wine, there is food! And typically where there are vineyards, there are farms. So you might expect to find some seriously good eats in Sonoma. You might also expect Sonoma restaurants to serve dishes made with the freshest local ingredients. And you would be right!
Over my past trips to the wine region, I encountered two Sonoma restaurants I can’t stop thinking about. The Girl & The Fig and El Dorado Kitchen are located across the street from each other in downtown Sonoma. If you’ve visited Sonoma or done research for an upcoming trip to the wine region, then without a doubt you’ve heard of The Girl & The Fig. On my family’s Christmas 2016 trip to wine country, we attempted to walk into this popular Sonoma restaurant with no reservation for a mid-afternoon lunch. HA! The line was out the door.
At the time, we were too hungry to stick out the hour long wait for lunch. But I scored a jar of The Girl & The Fig’s salted fig caramel sauce that was absolutely dreamy. Back at home, I heated the sauce and drizzled it over ice cream and fruit. I even ate it straight out of the jar. That luscious little jar did not last long!
We promised to return to The Girl & The Fig with reservations the following year. Then we wandered across the street to El Dorado Kitchen. We were lucky enough to snag a table at this delectable Sonoma eatery. The restaurant was packed for lunch! That being said, reservations are definitely recommended for both Sonoma restaurants. As promised, we dined at The Girl & The Fig on our Christmas 2017 trip for brunch. I would return to both restaurants in a heartbeat, so know that you can’t go wrong with either!
El Dorado Kitchen
Nestled in the elegant yet casual El Dorado Hotel on Sonoma square, El Dorado Kitchen is not to be missed. This Sonoma restaurant serves authentic, farm-driven California cuisine that is incredibly fresh and beyond delicious. Expect seasonal ingredients, robust flavors, creative cocktails, a good wine list and friendly service. Plus, El Dorado Kitchen’s chefs are happily cooking in a beautiful open kitchen. You can see all the magic that goes into preparing an unforgettable meal happening in real time!
Whenever there are mollusks on the menu, I can’t resist! I ordered the mussels steamed in white wine with garlic, fennel, bell pepper, and guajillo pepper purée. The mussels were briny and spicy, just the way I like. For the table, we shared the daily oysters and brussel sprouts with honey lemon vinaigrette and parmesan cheese. We also savored the truffle fries with parmesan cheese and chives. Each dish was incredibly flavorful and elevated by fresh, local ingredients.
Since my parents tipped off our server that my birthday was about a week prior, I even got the sweetest little surprise chocolate caramel birthday treat!
The Girl & The Fig
The Girl & The Fig offers seasonal French country fare, solely Rhône wines (accept wines by the glass), craft cocktails, hand-crafted charcuterie, and artisan cheeses. The popular Sonoma restaurant has a rustic bistro vibe with a large covered, heated patio. Additionally, there is a really cool lounge style, low table with couches near the entrance for a large party that would be perfect for a Sunday brunch with friends.
Just 2 months prior to my visit to The Girl & The Fig, I was in the Southern Rhône Valley in France. I truly felt the French influence while reading the menu and love how only Rhône varietal wines are available on the wine list.
I ordered the Quiche Lorraine. While I have had many Quiche Lorraines in my life, this was the lightest, fluffiest, most luscious quiche I have ever had. Each bite transported me back to France! The quiche was served with a lemony kale and quinoa salad and crispy, shoestring fries – the ultimate French fry in my book. To wash down my French fare I ordered a glass of Dave Phinney’s Locations French Rosé.
In case you’re not familiar, the winemaker from Orin Swift came up with the concept to produce the best wine from any given location around the world. So Dave traveled to specific wine regions to source grapes for each of his Locations wines. Sounds like a dream to me! Read more about Locations here. From 100% Grenache, the Rosé was delicate with perfect acidity, along with hints of strawberry and citrus. The perfect complement for the richness of the quiche.
Overall, the meal was delectable and the ambiance was perfect. You’ll definitely want to dine at this Sonoma restaurant, so book a reservation before you go!
What are your favorite Sonoma restaurants? I’d love to experience them on my next visit to Sonoma wine country. Let me know via my contact form, social media, or in the comments below. Cheers!