It’s rare to find a restaurant in sunny Sonoma County that doesn’t have an umbrella or two for alfresco dining, but not all patios are created equal. Here is a list of favorite options with shaded patios, prime sidewalk people-watching and sun-dappled gardens worth seeking out. Just remember the sunscreen.
Catelli’s, Geyserville This large outdoor patio is a luxe respite in the middle of the Dry Creek Valley. Excellent Cal-Ital includes paper-thin lasagna, burgers and other classics. 21047 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville, mycatellis.com
Bird & The Bottle, Santa Rosa You’re front and center on busy Fourth St., but with a second story view at Mark and Terri Stark’s newest Sonoma County restaurant. A great happy hour and indoor-outdoor dining on the deck are perfect for the restaurant’s Jewish, Asian, barbecue menu. 1055 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, birdandthebottle.com. (Photo by Alvin Jornada)
John Ash and Co., Santa Rosa This historic restaurant pays homage to the godfather of Wine Country cuisine, founding chef John Ash. It’s nestled among acres of vineyards, with stunning views from just about every angle. Twinkling lights and a lovely patio make it a perfect sunset spot. 4330 Barnes Road, Santa Rosa vintnersinn.com.
La Rosa Tequileria, Santa Rosa A huge tequila bar and the best chips and guac in town make this a great after-work spot to watch the world go by as the downtown reunification of Courthouse Square is finally completed. 500 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, larosasantarosa.com. (Photo by Beth Schlanker)
Brewsters Beer Garden and Restaurant, Petaluma Brewsters is a gourmet Southern-style beer garden with over 350 seats. Chef/co-owner Chris Beerman serves up BBQ classics, like brisket, ribs, and fried chicken. Guests can also enjoy bocce ball on the patio, 30 beers on tap, Sonoma wine and creative cocktails. 229 Water Street North, Petaluma, brewstersbeergarden.com
Wild Goat Bistro, Petaluma Located in the historic Great Petaluma Mill, the Wild Goat Bistro features “honest food” that uses fresh and seasonal local ingredients in a variety of culinary traditions: from specialty Neopolitan style pizzas to sharable small plates. Outdoor seating is available on the front porch. Great Petaluma Mill Shopping Center #A5, Petaluma, wildgoatbistro.com
El Dorado Kitchen, Sonoma You’ll feel like an A-lister in the courtyard of this award-winning restaurant on the Sonoma Plaza. Excellent food and craft cocktails complement the upscale outdoor cabanas and pool in this very intimate space. 405 1st St. W., Sonoma, eldoradosonoma.com
Healdsburg Bar & Grill, Healdsburg Known to locals as HBG, this buzzing, American eatery is the playground for Michelin-starred chef Douglas Keane to serve up comfort classics like macaroni and cheese, seared tuna burgers and their classic HBG’s burger, recently voted one of Food and Wine Magazine’s 25 Best in the U.S. Bocce and lots of happy kids (don’t worry, there’s a fence) wander around on the patio in the early evening hours. 245 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, healdsburgbarandgrill.com
River's End, Jenner This romantic Jenner restaurant is the perfect place to end a day on the coast. With large windows overlooking the shore, this spot’s sunset views mixed with the fresh-out-of-the-ocean seafood is a dinner you’ll remember. 11048 Highway 1, Jenner, ilovesunsets.com. (Photo by Crista Jeremiason)