13 Best Restaurants in Santa Rosa

Aerial view of Santa Rosa, California

Diane Miller / Getty Images

Positioned in the heart of Sonoma County and recognized for its small-town feel, the city of Santa Rosa was largely overshadowed by some of the region’s other culinary destinations for years. Santa Rosa has gone through a recent restaurant renaissance of sorts, especially in its downtown area, which now boasts more choices than ever.

Today, there’s no shortage of imaginative restaurants to choose from in Santa Rosa, whether you’re craving classic American diner fare, luxurious fine dining experiences, or menus inspired by cuisines of Latin America and Asia. Visitors and locals alike can now enjoy a wide range of Sonoma-sourced ingredients like seasonal vegetables, freshly caught seafood, artisan cheese, and of course, wine.

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Ca’Bianca Ristorante

Outdoor dining patio

Courtesy of Ca’ Bianca Ristorante

Address
835 2nd St, Santa Rosa, CA 95404, USA
Phone +1 707-542-5800

Found inside of a renovated 19th-century Victorian mansion in the middle of old town Santa Rosa, Ca’Bianca boasts a special kind of ambiance. Despite the white tablecloth service, antique furniture, chandeliers, and luxurious menu, the restaurant has a very welcoming vibe thanks to owners—and husband-and-wife team—Marco Diana and Karin Hoehne. Guests who choose to dine al fresco will get to enjoy their dishes, which originate from Milan, Sicily, and Sardinia, with a peaceful garden backdrop. The private estate feel of the place also makes it the perfect location to host a private event.

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Stark’s Steak & Seafood

A burger fries and martini from Stark's

Courtesy of Stark's Steak & Seafood

Address
521 Adams St, Santa Rosa, CA 95401, USA
Phone +1 707-546-5100

Stark's Steak & Seafood is pretty hard to miss with its massive neon signs advertising steaks and cocktails off of Adams Street, Stark's Steak & Seafood is pretty hard to miss. Inside, the retro steakhouse vibe continues with different a la carte cuts of meat and classic sides, along with leather chairs, a dark wooden bar, and a cozy fireplace. Special 28-day dry-aged cuts are always a big hit here, but one shouldn't shy away from adding a buttery Maine lobster tail or a classic iceberg salad with blue cheese dressing, either. Happy hour is from 3 to 6 p.m. on Monday through Saturday, and the restaurant also hosts a Brazilian BBQ popup every Wednesday through Sunday on the outside patio.

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The Spinster Sisters

Outdoor patio lit up with fairy lights

Courtesy of The Spinster Sisters

Address
401 S A St, Santa Rosa, CA 95401, USA
Phone +1 707-528-7100

Painted in bright yellow and stamped with a large mural of literal "spinsters" (as in, two women spinning on a spindle wheel), the Spinster Sisters restaurant is a new staple in the recently revitalized Santa Rosa SOFA Arts District on South A Street. It's mainly known for its breakfast and brunch menus, served on their vast outdoor seating area, but the restaurant serves excellent lunch and dinner options as well. The food here is farm fresh and local, with family-style plates to suit any palate, whether it's stuffed heirloom peppers with local Rancho Gordo beans and Mt. Tam cheese or pan-seared local halibut with garden ratatouille and green olive basil tapenade.

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Willi's Wine Bar

Carrots from Willies Wine Bar

Courtesy of Willi's Wine Bar

Address
1415 Town and Country Dr, Santa Rosa, CA 95404, USA
Phone +1 707-526-3096

Find Willi’s Wine Bar just off of Old Redwood Highway and stay for the eclectic selection of small plates honoring a variety of different cultures and cuisines. Grab a couple of favorites like the crab tacos, the mushroom soup shooters, or the filet mignon sliders for a more hearty meal, or ask the server for a wine and cheese pairing for a light snack. True to its name, this spot also has a great local wine list where you can even choose your own flight, making it perfect for casual dates, group celebrations, and any other excuse to eat good food and drink good wine. Service is excellent, while the ambiance both inside and outside on the patio is light-hearted and friendly.

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Sazón Peruvian Cuisine

A table filled with dishes from Sazon

Courtesy of Sazón

Address
1129 Sebastopol Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95407-6832, USA
Phone +1 707-523-4346

We’re pretty sure that Peruvian cuisine isn’t the first thing you think of while planning a foodie-fueled trip to the wine country, but that certainly doesn’t mean you should count it out. Sazón is a family-run establishment off of Sebastopol Road in west Santa Rosa, entirely inspired by the owner’s great grandmother’s recipes straight from Peru. In true Peruvian fashion, the menu offers six types of ceviche and traditional classics like Lomo Saltado (sauteed beef tenderloin with veggies) and Aji de Gallina (creamy chicken stew). The restaurant also has a daytime deli serving sandwiches, wraps, and salads for those in more hurry.

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Dierk’s Parkside Cafe

Entrance to the Parkside Cafe

Courtesy of Dierk's Parkside Cafe

Address
404 Santa Rosa Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95404-4912, USA
Phone +1 707-573-5955

Always bring an empty stomach to Dierk’s—you’ll want plenty of room to indulge in its selection of comfort food classics from benedicts and hash browns to chicken fried steak and potato hash (locally raised duck confit also makes an appearance on the menu). Open only for breakfast and lunch, Dierk’s Parkside Cafe on Santa Rosa Avenue is complemented by its sister restaurant, Dierk’s Midtown Cafe, closer to 4th Street. Please do yourself a favor and save some room for their signature pull-apart fried bread dough, all the best parts of donuts and cinnamon buns rolled into one.

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John Ash & Co.

Set banquet table at John Ash & Co

Courtesy of John Ash & Co

Address
4330 Barnes Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95403-1514, USA
Phone +1 707-527-7687

Connected to the Vintner's Resort and Spa on Barnes Road, John Ash & Co. is known for its farm-to-table menu incorporating the best of what Sonoma County has to offer—including ingredients from the restaurant's very own culinary garden situated alongside 92 acres of vineyard. This is the perfect spot to splurge on some of that legendary Wine Country fine dining with an extensive local wine list. As such, the regular entree menu is best saved for a special romantic occasion or a lavish date night, though the place does serve a pretty fantastic happy hour every day at the Front Room Bar in a less formal setting.

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SEA Thai Bistro

Food from SEA Thai Bistro

Courtesy of SEA Thai Bistro

Address
2350 Midway Dr, Santa Rosa, CA 95405-5035, USA
Phone +1 707-528-8333

A great place to bring groups thanks to the sharable portions, SEA Thai Bistro is famous for its modern southeast Asian-inspired menu full of fresh salads, curries, and noodles. What sets this place apart, however, is the unique decor and memorable atmosphere. Condensed over the bar and spilling out into the center of the dining room, large aquatic sculptures float in mid-air, giving one a sense of being under the sea. Chef-owner Tony Ounpamornchai also offers a more casual SEA Thai Noodle Bar at the Coddingtown Center nearby.

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Bird & the Bottle

Exterior of The Bird and The Bottle

Courtesy of The Bird and Bottle Inn

Address
1055 4th St, Santa Rosa, CA 95404, USA
Phone +1 707-568-4000

Known for small plates and a tapas-style menu, Bird and the Bottle on 4th Street celebrates flavors from all parts of the world to the delight of both local and visiting foodies. It’s a favorite for Sunday Brunch, with inventive cocktails that come in giant shakers for the table (enough for four or five people!) and Korean-inspired dishes like Kimchi Latke Benedict with smoked Salmon and Bacon & Egg Ramen. Bird and the Bottle has the same owners as Willi’s Wine Bar and Stark’s Steak and Seafood, so it’s safe to say that they know their stuff.

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Piner Cafe

Exterior of Piner Cafe

Courtesy of Piner Cafe

Address
975 Piner Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95403-1949, USA
Phone +1 707-575-0165

Breakfast fans rejoice! Piner Cafe’s selection of omelets, pancakes, and classics like huevos rancheros and French toast is served all day, along with its versatile lunch and dinner menus. The only thing better than the home-cooked feel and substantial portions is the price—it’s super affordable considering the area. Just be ready to wait or get there early, as the spot has only grown in popularity over its almost 20 years serving Santa Rosa.

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La Gare French Restaurant

Exterior of La Gare

Courtesy of La Gare

Address
208 Wilson St, Santa Rosa, CA 95401-6259, USA
Phone +1 707-528-4355

This family-owned restaurant brings traditional French cooking to Wilson Street while staying true to the locale, adding Sonoma County farmed produce to its repertoire of authentic recipes. We’re taking escargot, cuisse de grenouilles (frog legs), beef wellington, coq au vin, and probably any other classic French dish one can think of. La Gare has also been around for over 40 years, racking up local awards for most romantic dining, best dining experience, and best takeout in Sonoma County along the way. The wine list features labels from all across the globe, including Northern California, and an impressive array of French wines to pair perfectly with your meal.

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Jackson's Bar and Oven

Dish from Jackson's Bar and Oven

Courtesy of Jackson's Bar and Oven

Address
135 4th St, Santa Rosa, CA 95401-6211, USA
Phone +1 707-545-6900

Chef and owner Josh Silvers opened Jackson’s Bar and Oven (named for his son) to fulfill a need for a family-friendly, hip spot in downtown Santa Rosa that still offers plenty of classic comfort foods. The result? An elevated American food menu that’s approachable enough to take your children yet bold sufficient for more adventurous eaters. Fan-favorites like pepperoni pizza and burgers are offered next to lobster mac & cheese and lamb stuffed flatbread, complemented by fun cocktails with names like “Hot Girl Summer” and “Cowboy Kool-Aid.” If your party feels extra bold, opt for the “Undecided” Pizza and allow the kitchen to go off-book with surprise toppings. Don’t miss the deserts, either, especially the beignets served with vanilla Anglaise and fresh raspberry sauce.

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Rosso Pizzeria & Wine Bar

Sign for Rosso Pizzeria & Wine Bar

Courtesy of Rosso Pizzeria

Address
53 Montgomery Dr, Santa Rosa, CA 95404-6616, USA
Phone +1 707-544-3221

A favorite for local families (parents, especially, appreciate the child-friendly food options and the complementary crayons), Rosso’s Pizzeria and Wine Bar has mastered the art of Tuscan-style wood fire pizza without sacrificing a sense of adventure in their menu. The rustic Italian entrees change depending on what’s available growing locally, so there’s always something new to try. Pair your pizza with one of the restaurant’s 100 wines or a local beer on tap.

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13 Best Restaurants in Santa Rosa