These are the Santa Rosa restaurants that you have to know about. They’'re the powerhouses with the reputations for great food, great ambiance and great service. Whether you're a local trying to plan a something special or a visitor looking for a spot for a great meal, these blue chip restaurants are your best bet
John Ash & Co. is a Santa Rosa institution, where the eponymous owner was known as the “father of Wine Country Cuisine.” The decor is Old World with vineyard views and an additional terrace setting. The recipes are made with fresh, seasonal, local ingredients, then paired with great wines from the region.
Ca'Bianca is set in a historic house dating back to 1876 and retains many of the original fixtures: stained glass, crystal chandeliers, and ceramic fireplaces. The food is strictly Italian, and with presidential fare like sole piccata and beef tenderloin carpaccio, it's no wonder the restaurant's name means "white house."
Now relocated to nearby Sebastopol, Zazu still serves the same delicious food in a warm and friendly environment as when it was a popular hangout in Santa Rosa. The chef owners take a very hands-on approach to their dishes, and not only grow many of their own ingredients in the garden next to the restaurant but cure their own pork and use the eggs from chickens they raise for their pasta.
Willi’s is all about tasting, not just eating. The restaurant serves “small plates,” which means each order is about the size of an appetizer, and you can share and sample any number of international items. All the wine selections are also sold as glasses (not just bottles), so you can stage your own impromptu wine tasting. Since Willi’s is one of the most popular socializing spots in Santa Rosa, you can meet and greet as well as well as eat.
When Rosso first opened its doors, it shot to superstar status seemingly overnight. But when you consider that founding father John Franchetti is a seasoned chef (he's formerly of Tra Vigne), the restaurant's "sudden" success is not so unexpected. The pizza is thin, wood-fired and inventive (imagine prosciutto combined with cheese and duck egg) and you can wash it all down with one of their more than 100 eco-friendly wines.