A slew of new restaurants have recently opened, or are in the process of opening, in Sonoma County. We’re looking forward to trying them all. Here are three we recommend checking out right now. Click through the above gallery for dishes to order.
Warike Restobar, Santa Rosa
Peruvian cuisine is having a moment in Sonoma County. Luigi Dagnino, owner of Ayawaska in Petaluma, has opened a sister restaurant, Warike Restobar, at the former Stout Brothers location on Fourth Street just west of Courthouse Square.
A full bar with pisco sours and other pisco cocktails, plus excellent ceviche, tequeños de cangrejo (wontons stuffed with crab and shrimp, with spicy pepper aioli) and causa marina (potatoes and crab) make this place worth a visit. The lomo saltado is one of the most flavorful versions around and aji de gallina is a comforting dish of shredded chicken and rice.
There’s a lengthy dessert list along with dozens of specialty cocktails, including mules, rum drinks, wine, beer and Inca Kola, a Peruvian staple. The name is a combination of Quechua words “wa” (hidden) and “rique” (stew). Dagnino, who is Peruvian, says his restaurant is all about creating a secret spot to enjoy great food.
527 Fourth St., Santa Rosa. warikesf.com
Inca’s Peruvian Cuisine, Sebastopol
Owner Oscar Canul says the current demand for Peruvian cuisine because they love the way it fuses Indigenous Incan ingredients with immigrant influences from Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, Italian, and African cultures. “It’s the tastes, the sauces, the culture,” he explains. It takes a bit of searching to find his new restaurant, located in a quiet strip mall just west of downtown Sebastopol.
The kitchen goes out of its way to use authentic ingredients and techniques but isn’t bound by tradition. Mango habanero ceviche with prawns, papa rellera with ground beef and raisins, and causa Santa Rosa, a tower of pickled beets and mashed potatoes, are top picks. Seco de carne (short ribs in a cilantro-beer broth) and parihuela, a piping-hot boullabaisse broth loaded with seafood and potatoes, are also outstanding.
799 Gravenstein Highway S., Sebastopol, 707-861-9057
Zimi on Mission
Passionate about bringing the Old World flavors of Greece to Sonoma County, chef Dino Moniodis has grown his business from a tiny food trailer into two brick-and-mortar restaurants: wood-fired pizzas at The Block in Petaluma and now, Zimi on Mission. Growing up, Moniodis spent summers on the quiet Greek island of Chios, an idyllic Aegean outcropping steeped in ancient history, and worked in family tavernas, learning to tenderize octopus and clean fish on the beach. “In Greece, the culture is food. We sit around all day and have mezze,” he said of the marathon snacking that’s traditional in the Greek islands.
Pizzas are certainly the restaurant’s bread and butter, with Greek-inspired toppings on their twice-cooked crusts (“zimi” means dough in Greek). Moniodis piles on unexpected combinations that somehow work exactly right. In addition, his made-from-scratch dolmas, flaky spinach spanakopita, and pastitsio, a sort of Greek lasagna, really hit the mark.
500 Mission Blvd., Santa Rosa. eatzimionmission.com
Find more restaurants on our radar here.