| WALKING DISTANCE FROM SONOMA COTTAGE
Union Hotel: The restaurant was founded in 1879 when the Italian wives of the lumberjacks began serving the logging community. Today, this renowned establishment still serves the family-style menu that made it famous. Be ready for A LOT of food! If you're looking for a lighter bite, Union Hotel also has a pizza parlor serving á la carte dinners. Make sure to try the mud pie or Nonnie's fritters. No reservations necessary.
Negri's: Founded in the first quarter of the century, Negri's also serves Italian family-style dinners. Generations of regulars keep coming back for family reunions, Thanksgiving, and Christmas dinners. Folks who went to summer camp here 50 years ago still bring their grandchildren in for a bite. No reservations necessary.
El Mariachi: Looking for authentic Mexican food? You can watch the chef's cooking and shredding the beef and chicken each morning. This is an innkeeper favorite for take-out burritos, nachos, and even mochas. No reservations necessary. (Closed Monday)
Bistro Des Copains: The latest addition to the dining scene in Occidental is a French bistro whose name translates to the buddies bistro. The cuisine is reminiscent of the food of Provence with a menu to satisfy all tastes. Present offerings include Moules à la Provençale, Magret de Canard, Poulet Grand-mere, Saumon a la Tomate, to name a few. But a word to the wise: save room for the absolutely decadent pot de créme.
Barley and Hops Tavern: Hand-crafted brews from around the world and tasty pub grub.
10 MINUTE DRIVE
K&L Bistro: Romantic and intimate, this Sebastopol cafe (named for owners Karen and Lucas Martin) changes its menu weekly, so you're guaranteed the chef's newest creations — made with the freshest ingredients. Sample entrees include Sonoma duck breast or whole sea bass filleted right at your table. Offering delicious food with flare, this cozy restaurant also features an eclectic, reasonably priced wine list. Reservations recommended. (Closed Sunday and Monday)
Rocker Oysterfeller's: The locally celebrated Rocker Oysterfeller's Kitchen & Saloon, Valley Ford's newest addition, features local, seasonal and sustainably farmed ingredients with its Southern-inspired comfort food menu. Locally grown and produced Sonoma County wines make up a majority of the wine list while the Saloon boasts a full bar with micro-brews and locally produced spirits. Don't miss the cypress covered patio for dinner or Sunday brunch.
Willow Wood Market: A lovely drive west to the town of Graton brings you to this true locals' hangout. Set in the middle of an old-style market, this eatery offers daily specials of tasty organic fare, as well as sinful delights, such as an amazing ginger bread cake. No reservations necessary. (Closed Sunday)
Underwood Bar and Bistro: Located a short ten-minute drive from the Inn is the hip and very popular Underwood Bar and Bistro. The Wine Country Living Magazine (November/December 2003 issue) wrote about low-key neighborhood spots that feature “small plates” of homey food, and palatable prices. The Underwood made the magazine’s hot newcomers list for 2003. Items on the “tapas and small plates” menu include white anchovy crostini, pizzetta of feta, tapenade, tomato, arugula and fennel, and Hoisin glazed baby back ribs. Oysters on the hall shell are always a favorite as well as their grilled hamburger of Hereford ranch beef, and steak frites. Great wine list and full bar. (Closed Monday).
Zazu: This casual roadhouse restaurant offers market-fresh cuisine with an innovative (yet approachable) flair. Husband and wife team John and Duskie are known for their wine-friendly menu and Italian-inspired dishes, such as vin santo braised rabbit with chestnut pappardelle, and thumbelina carrot; and seared Sonoma duck with laura chenel goat cheese gnocchi, black mission figs, and saba. (Closed Monday and Tuesday)
ALONG THE COAST (20-30 MINUTE DRIVE)
River's End: A mouthwatering menu and stunning sunsets — what more could you ask for? Perched high on a bluff, this quaint restaurant overlooks the Russian River as it flows into the Pacific. Featuring sublime California cuisine with a new menu every two weeks, this classic café offers the best of Sonoma County. Reservations recommended. (April-November, closed Tuesday and Wednesday; December-March, closed Monday–Thursday)
The Duck Club at the Bodega Bay Lodge: Well known for the chef's preparation of both fish and meat entrees, this coastal restaurant has a wonderfully varied menu. It's a lovely drive to the coast from the Inn and a pleasant way to spend the evening. Reservations recommended.
Tides Wharf: This casual seafood restaurant is just off Highway 1, north of Bodega Bay. The tasty clam chowder is an innkeeper's favorite. The Tides Market provides snacks and a take-out window serves crab or chowder to eat later. No reservations necessary.
Lucas Wharf: Also located on Highway 1, Lucas Wharf is suspended on piers above the Pacific, a great place to watch the sunset. No reservations necessary.
25-35 MINUTE DRIVE (WELL WORTH IT!)
Dry Creek Kitchen: Charlie Palmer presides over this hip new eatery in the Hotel Healdsburg. Features California cuisine with an ever-changing menu and an in-depth wine list of exclusive Sonoma wines.
John Ash & Company: Well known in the culinary world, this restaurant bears the name of one California's most celebrated chefs. It's a great restaurant focusing on the produce and meats of Sonoma County. The lovely setting overlooks the adjoining vineyards. Reservations recommended.