Best. Sonoma County Restaurant Week. Ever.
After six years of trial and error, the more than 100 regional restaurants participating in this year’s Sonoma County Restaurant Week (March 7-13, 2016) have dialed it in with great meals at great prices for 2016.
I’m more impressed with the lineup this year than I’ve ever been before, perhaps because restaurateurs have discovered that the event can be a huge economic boon during the quiet winter season. Now that the economy has turned around, locals are getting into the groove of the annual event, which also helps considerably.
If this is your first rodeo, here’s the deal: Participating restaurants offer prix fixe menus throughout the week with prices of $10 and $15 for lunch; $19, $29 and $39 for dinner. It’s a great way to try out a new spot or get a great deal at a favorite restaurant, and the range of prices means there’s something for every pocketbook. A dietary note: Most of the menus include vegetarian options, but if you have specific dietary needs, it’s a good idea to contact the restaurant in advance.
After perusing the menus posted at the Sonoma County Restaurant Week website, we’ve pulled out some of the best bets in terms of overall value, menu and our own experiences at the restaurants during the other 51 weeks of the year.
The $15 lunches and $29 dinners seem to be the sweet spot for the most choices, though the $39 dinners are a steal at some of Sonoma County’s swankier eateries.
This list doesn’t include everyone, so if you don’t see a fave, the restaurant may now have posted a menu, or the cost-to-deliciousness ratio just didn’t rank high on our radar. Since we haven’t tasted each menu, we can’t promise these will all be winners, but it’s certainly a solid place to start. Also, make sure to check out the Sonoma County Restaurant Week website to find hours, since some restaurants are closed Monday and Tuesday.
BITECLUB BEST BETS FOR RESTAURANT WEEK 2016
Sonoma County Restaurant Week menu at Pongo’s in Petaluma
$10 Lunch Best Bet, Pongo’s Kitchen and Tap: Crispy rolls with sweet sour plum sauce; coconut filled with red curry, lobster, prawn, calamari, scallops and mussels served with steamed jasmine rice; ice cream sampler. 701 Sonoma Mt. Parkway, Suite C8, Petaluma.
$15 Lunch Best Bet, Backyard: Wild mushroom soup with creme fraiche and salsa verde; buttermilk fried chicken sandwich (or bacon, lettuce and kimchi sando); candy cap mushroom ice cream. 6566 Front St., Forestville.
Chef John and Gesine Franchetti of Franchetti’s Wood-Fired Oven, Events and Catering.
More $15 Lunch Picks
Franchetti’s Woodfire Kitchen: Truffle burrata on ricotta polenta with sautéed tomatoes, braised water buffalo with fingerling potatoes, homemade jelly doughnut or pie of the day. 1229 N. Dutton Ave., Santa Rosa
La Rosa Tequileria: Octopus tostada, carnitas torta, Mexican chocolate mousse. 500 Fourth St., Santa Rosa.
Canneti Roadhouse: Pork shoulder with baked beans and herbs, crispy chicken over fava pesto with pasta and Pecorino cheese. 6675 Front St., Forestville.