World class wines, five star restaurants, draw-dropping views, world-renowned spas…. Does this sound appealing to you? Well, welcome to Sonoma. Our little Envolve family has been EXTREMELY fortunate to be born and raised in this small (but famous) part of the world. We have grown from wrecking havoc in the vineyards to working hard in the vineyards… and we can surely tell you that there is no other place like Sonoma (or as we like to call it… Home).
So, as local veterans, we wanted to share with you some of our favorite spots.
For breakfast, we recommend a Sonoma favorite: Homegrown Bagels… or as the locals like to call it, ‘The Bagel Shop.’ This place is a standard first spot after a long night in the taverns, because this place will surely hit the spot. The Bagel Shop is cash only, but we promise that it’s worth the pain of making the detour to the ATM. But no need to withdrawal the big bucks because you can buy a bagel with multiple toppings and goodness for just under five dollars. Open Mon – Fri: 6:30 – 2:00pm and Sat & Sun 7:30 – 2:00pm.
A favorite lunch spot, hands down, is the Sunflower Café. You’ve probably heard us recommend this place before, but that’s just because we can’t get enough of it (it was also featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dive’s… so you get the picture). Randomly, this spot was also the first place of employment for Danny. He was a busser at 15 years old, way back when it used to be called the Coffee Garden. Slave drivers owned it in the 90’s, and he vows that he swept the huge back patio over a hundred times…. Yikes. But, once there was an owner switch and the Sunflower Café opened, the place really turned around. Their sandwiches are out of this world (especially the roasted duck), the tea and coffee selection is amazing, the salads are delicious, and you really can’t beat their back patio wine bar… in short, this place is the perfect spot to pair a glass of wine with an amazing lunch. Open Daily 7am – 4pm.
Another favorite of ours is the Red Grape. Red Grape is everything you would expect out of your mother’s kitchen. Fresh ingredients, hand made pizzas and appetizers. Everything is seasoned to perfection, and they have a great patio area to enjoy lunch or a warm evening. Located directly off the plaza, Red Grape is the pizza joint in town, family owned, delicious wines and most of the staff are local friends from high school.
If you prefer something more casual, we propose heading back towards the Sonoma Plaza and picnicking in the park. Sonoma Market is one of the best markets in the valley and offers a variety of different foods. From sandwiches and salads to burritos and sushi. You name it, they got it. If your looking for something you can’t go wrong with, we suggest 'building' your own sandwich. And let us tell you, we’re not just talking about any old deli sandwich from Safeway, we’re talking about the freshest, most amazing sandwiches in town.
Another great lunch spot is the Garden Court Café. Famously known for its entire breakfast menu, it would be wise to order a late breakfast (because breakfast is good throughout the entire day… everybody knows this). They're most famous for their eggs benedict and their pancakes – and don't forget to pair your breakfast with their very tasty mimosas. But regardless of what you may order, this place will truly impress you!
If you would rather grab some excellent Italian food, Café Citti is a solid play. It’s pretty safe to say that every time you drive by, your mouth begins to water (Sad…. But true!). Café Citti was another restaurant from the Sonoma Valley featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives with Guy Fieri (which justifies how amazing it really is). In honor of the late Mike Lee, former Kenwood Winery owner, and Café Citti regular, check out the Mike Special (It’s not on the menu, but it’s amazing!)
If you’re a sushi fan, the perfect dinner spot for you would be Shiso Sushi. Sushi places are very rare in this small town… so this could be considered one of Sonoma’s hidden gems. Not only will you enjoy their super fresh seafood, you can also enjoy their great atmosphere, fun sushi bar, and the beautiful sight of Ed or Agie going to town on some rice and fish. We would recommend their spicy ahi tuna, Mendocino rolls, and their short ribs…. They truly are a-ma-zing.
Murphy’s Irish Pub
Typically, after a full day of wine tasting, it’s smart to end the day with a big, hearty meal. And believe us… there’s no place better than Murphy’s Irish Pub. After a day of multiple glasses of wine, it’s probably expected that you’re looking to keep the up the fun. Well, Murphy’s is the perfect place to enjoy good pub food, good beer and wine, and awesome live music (in fact, it’s Sonoma’s #1 spot for live music). And if you haven’t tried frickles (fried pickles), then you’re in for a treat… trust us. In the end, this place is perfect to soak up all that booze!
Girl and the Fig
We also urge you to visit the Girl and the Fig. Located right on the Sonoma Plaza, this restaurant serves absolute amazing French food. We recommend the Mussels & Frites because they seem to be the household favorite! In the end, this place embodies the perfect ambiance to end your loop around the Sonoma Valley.
Another great spot to end the day at is Kenwood Restaurant. At this time, you’re probably ready to take a load off your feet and relax... and this is the place to do it. You can reminisce about the day over a romantic dinner with a date, or, enjoy good food with good friends. Either way, this place is the perfect way to top off your day.
Open Sunday-Thursday: 11am – Midnight & Friday-Saturday: 11am-1:00am
A glass of Vino
If you’re not sick of wine yet… then you have to visit the Valley Wine Shack on Wednesday nights. Why, you may ask? Well, because it’s $1 to enjoy wine and cheese at ‘Winemaker Wednesdays.’ If a $1 dollar glass of wine doesn’t entice you, then we don’t know what will. For more information on the Valley Wine Shack please call: 707.938.7218.
If you’re more in the mood to sit down and enjoy some vino, then we would recommend having a glass at the Carneros Inn on Broadway. If you happen to run into someone by the name of Chris Sawyer (who is super funny and always up for a good conversation) tell him that Danny Fay sent you… and he’ll either kick you out or give you a glass of great wine (don’t worry… odds are he’ll be gentle with you).
Day time vino sipping is certainly encouraged around the plaza. It’s the only state park in California you can legally drink alcohol in. FACT. Convieniently, there are some great spots to buy a bottle of wine for a plaza picnic or to just unwind underneath the sun. We recommend the Sonoma Wine Shop, not just because Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream is next door for when it gets too hot, but because the staff is awesome, the vibe is relaxing and there are some great wines to choose from.
Another solid spot is Enoteca Della Santina. Ron or Glenda don’t give weak pours, and they’ve always got a solid story.
We may know how to enjoy a drink in Sonoma... but we’re not idiots and neither are the cops. There a lot of Sheriffs, CHP's, and Sonoma Police that roam the plaza and the back roads of Sonoma looking for intoxicated drivers. So, please, please, please be SMART. Don’t drink and drive.
Ask any local restaurant for a cab number, or, hire a pedi cabs (bicycle cab) to take you anywhere within a several mile radius of the plaza. Our buddy, Adrian owns and operates Plaza Pedicab, he’s an awesome dude so look out for him!
Where to Stay
For a wine country resort close to town, definitely check out The Marriott Renaissance Lodge At Sonoma, Beautiful rooms, amazing spa rooms, and it’s only a mile from the plaza.
If you’ve had too much wine and cheese, then it’s very possible you’re craving some exercise. Not only does the Sonoma Plaza’s backdrop offer great scenery, it also provides amazing hiking trails. You can find the start of the 'Overlook Trail' at the Veteran’s building (located right across the street from the police station) on 1st st. West and up Norbom Rd. Although it may be tiring, keep on truckin’ up that mountain until you reach a Plateau. We liked to call this place “The Plat” during our rebellious high school drinking years… and yes, we hiked up steep mountains in order to have our ‘fun.’ Although, we spent many disobedient years here, this place truly does have one of the best views of Sonoma. And for the kicker, not only can you see our small little town; you can also look down into Carneros, the San Pablo Bay, and even see San Francisco on a clear day!
Rose Creek Massage
Obviously, a little relaxation (and spoiling yourself) is needed on vacation; luckily, Sonoma boosts a wonderful setting for the massage of your life. Our favorite masseuse is P.J. Savastano, who has over 15 years of experience and specializes in Deep Tissue, Swedish, Watzu, Lomi Lomi, Reflexology and Stretching. But wait... it gets better! She’s totally mobile and can visit your hotel room or home with no problems at all. Honestly, one of the warmest, nicest people we’ve ever met, give her a ring at 707-292-3203 or email her at PSavastano01@gmail.com for more info on bookings and times.