The 10 Best Restaurants In Santa Rosa, California

Photo of Helen Armitage
9 February 2017

Located in the heart of California’s Sonoma Wine Country, Santa Rosa is home to an impressive community of local restaurants serving everything from upscale Mexican, authentic Breton fare, award-winning Thai cuisine and gourmet eats paired with locally produced wines. Read on for our round-up of the city’s very best restaurants.

The dining room | © St Francis Winery & Vineyard

St Francis Winery & Vineyard

One of the best wineries in Sonoma County, St Francis Winery & Vineyard was established over 40 years ago and resides amongst acres of beautiful working vineyards in the shadow of the magnificent Mount Hood. The stunning mission-style winery, which comes with its own 1,000 pound mission bell from Italy’s Marinelli Foundry, includes a visitor center offering every wine connoisseur’s dream, wine tastings and vineyard tours, while its tasting room offers its wine paired with exquisite, farm-to-table dishes crafted by chef Bryan Jones, from ingredients grown in the estate’s own garden. These include Arctic char with celery root-butterball potato puree, parsnip chips and saffron preserved lemon and the fig and verjus braised pork cheeks.

St Francis Winery & Vineyards, 100 Pythian Road, Santa Rosa, CA, USA, +1 707 538 9463

Willi’s Wine Bar

Bar, Restaurant, Wine Bar, American
Willi’s Wine Bar is a laidback, inviting restaurant exuding classic American roadhouse ambience that serves internationally inspired small plates alongside an impressive wine list with both global and locally grown bottles. The menu at Willi’s Wine Bar features dishes that give a fresh take on classics, like the sweet pea mac ‘n’ cheese with springs onions and smoked ham hock ‘debris’, to the adventurous, like roasted bone marrow with toasted brioche and red onion marmalade. The restaurant’s knowledgeable staff are always on hand to suggest the perfect pairing of wine available by the glass, bottle or two ounce tasters.

Bistro 29

Bistro, Restaurant, French, $$$
Bringing the tastes of French cuisine to downtown Santa Rosa, Bistro 29 is a casual-chic restaurant specializing in Breton regional cuisine that offers a full bistro menu alongside a range of delicious crepes. Owners chef Brian Anderson and his wife Françoise, who met in Brittany, opened the restaurant in 2008 and it has firmly placed itself amongst local diners’ favorite restaurants. Bistro 29’s tempting menu features typically Gallic dishes like escargot with mushrooms, spring onions, garlic parsley butter and toast points and steak frites. Guests simply must try the savory and sweet crepes available in varieties like duck confit and cave aged gruyere or chocolate ganache.


Restaurant, Peruvian, Spanish, $$$
A family-owned restaurant operated by Juan Luis Navarro and his son Juan Jose, Sazón is a Peruvian restaurant that gets its name from the Spanish word for ‘seasoning’, and as one would expect, its menu is full of the typically unique, flavorsome dishes of Peruvian cuisine with its Basque, Italian, African and Asian influences. The cozy, vibrant restaurant is the perfect place to try the Navarro family’s recipes, passed down from generation to generation, like the classic ceviche mango with prawns, mango puree, rocoto, cilantro, lime and plantain chips or the ají de gallina, a stew of pulled chicken and onions in a spicy ají Amarillo cream sauce with Yukon gold potato, hard-boiled egg, walnuts and rice.

Monti’s Rotisserie & Bar

Bar, Restaurant, Wine Bar, American, Mediterranean, $$$
Brought to you by the same folks behind Willi’s Wine Bar, Monti’s Rotisserie & Bar is a stylish, inviting restaurant based in Santa Rosa’s upscale outdoor Montgomery Village Shopping Center that first opened its doors over 10 years ago. Exuding a warm, rustic ambience evocative of the Mediterranean, Monti’s serves a mix of small and big plates crafted from locally raised meat and seasonal ingredients with American and Mediterranean flavors. Guest can choose from tempting dishes like skillet roasted shrimp or Niman Ranch pork shoulder chop but, as the restaurants’ name would suggest, the real event at Monti’s is its rotisserie which produces dishes like pomegranate glazed baby back ribs and crispy Liberty Farms duck.

Flavor Bistro

Bistro, American
Located in the heart of downtown Santa Rosa in the Old Courthouse Square, Flavor Bistro’s dishes crafted from locally sourced, sustainable and organic produce are truly a culinary celebration of Sonoma County. An award-winning wine list features over 50 local and imported wines and beers come from Santa Rosa-based Moonlight Brewery, the perfect accompaniment to Flavor Bistro’s tempting, eclectic dishes like duck ravioli in gorgonzola-walnut sauce and citrus-glazed, pan-roasted quails with marinated olives and arugula couscous. Guests looking for an extra special dining experience should try one of Flavor Bistro’s weekly dinners, Thursday’s wine pairing dinner includes four courses carefully paired with four wines.

La Rosa Tequileria & Grille

Bar, Restaurant, Mexican, $$$
An upscale Mexican restaurant serving contemporary Latin cuisine and traditional, classic dishes alongside a huge range of over 180 artisan tequilas, La Rosa Tequileria & Grille is frequently praised as one of the best restaurants in the area for south of the border fare. Residing in a gorgeous brick building in downtown Santa Rosa, the restaurant boasts an elegant, warm space with plush booths, a beautiful wooden bar illuminated by low-hung chandeliers and charming patios and its gourmet Mexican eats, such as the wild mushroom quesadilla with spinach, tomato and roasted red pepper goat’s cheese and the shrimp sautéed with tequila and served on a bed of cilantro-lime rice.


Restaurant, Italian, $$$
For authentic, delicious Italian fare in one of the most beautiful locations in Santa Rosa, head on down to Ca’Bianca, a restaurant opened by husband and wife Marco Diana and Karin Hoehne after they extensively renovated the historic Marshall House, built in 1876. The stunning Victorian property is an absolute joy to dine in with its elegant dining rooms decorated with painted frescoes and illuminated by crystal chandeliers. The menu takes in the full breadth of regional Italian cuisine with dishes like seared ahi tuna on homemade ravioli with an almond sauce and the veal sautéed with prosciutto and sage.

SEA Thai Bistro

Bistro, Restaurant, Asian, Thai, $$$
SEA Thai Bistro is a restaurant from executive chef Tony Ounpamornchai, who brings his Thai heritage and a unique mixing of Asian and American flavors to his popular restaurant. SEA Thai Bistro’s casual yet elegant space is the perfect setting in which to try the restaurant’s skillful blending of umami flavors and locally sourced, seasonal ingredients with must-try dishes that include the homemade pot stickers (with pork cheek, jicama, Napa cabbage, ponzu sauce and yu choy) and the seafood Panang curry with Dungeness crab meat, white prawns, sea scallops, sweet peppers and clamshell mushrooms.

Hank’s Creekside Restaurant

Diner, Restaurant, American, Vegetarian, Vegan, Fast Food, $$$
Serving local diners delicious, award-wining breakfasts since it first opened over 20 years ago, Hank’s Creekside Restaurant, a family owned and operated restaurant situated on the edge of the Santa Rosa Creek, is a local dining legend. It offers wholesome classic American breakfast fare from early morning until early afternoon alongside a number of hearty sandwiches and burgers. Choose from a range of omelets and dishes like chicken fried steak or eggs benedict, or opt for one of Hank’s specialty dishes like the homemade biscuits with sausage gravy and cottage fries or huevos rancheros.

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