These are the restaurants that you absolutely, positively have to know about if youre a local. Theyre the powerhouses with the reputations for great food, great ambiance and great service. If you have a special dinner coming up and you cant afford for anything to go wrong, these blue chip restaurants are your best bet.
John Ash & Co. is a Santa Rosa institution. For years, this was THE restaurant in town. John Ash is known as the father of Wine Country Cuisine and the emphasis at his namesake restaurant is on creating wonderful dishes made with fresh, seasonal, local ingredients and then pairing them with great wines.
Syrah is Santa Rosas It restaurant. This is the place to go to see and be seen. But, its not just some trendy hangout. Syrah provides an excellent dining experience.
Zazu is known for delicious food served in a warm and friendly environment. The chefs/owners take a very hands-on approach through all phases of the meal. They grow many of their own ingredients in the garden next to the restaurant, they raise their own chickens and use the eggs in their pasta, and they even cure their own pork.
Willis is all about tasting, not just eating. They serve small plates, meaning each dish is about the size of an appetizer and sharing plates and nibbling is encouraged. That way, you can order a few plates, share, and taste a variety of dishes. Plus, all the wine selections are sold as glasses (not just bottles) so that can do an impromptu wine tasting as well. Along with great food and wine, Willis is also known as one of the most popular socializing spots in Santa Rosa.
Although Rosso is quite new, it shot up to superstar status, seemingly, overnight. But, when you consider that headman John Franchetti is a seasoned chef (he's formerly of Tra Vigne), the restaurant's "sudden" success was actually a longtime coming. Not only has Rosso wowed the foodies, and not only has it become a media darling, but Rosso has also won the praise and loyalty of countless ordinary folks around town who just love a good pizza.