Highway 101 has divided Petaluma, California, for many years. Most people would pass past without ever seeing the place. With just a few off-ramps, it was easy to drive past without noticing. Chicken ranches and dairy farms on each side of the roadway produce milk, eggs, and cheese to customers across the state. Because of the millions of laying hens, Petaluma was formerly regarded as the world’s egg basket. Nowadays, farms, pastureland, and car malls flank the route, disguising the tranquil Bay Area town’s original charm.
Petaluma, located fifty miles north of San Francisco, has long been a well-kept secret. People are rediscovering the allure of the historic Victorian-style residences, boutiques, revitalized Petaluma River frontage, and, of course, Petaluma eateries. Petaluma has also been dubbed “Hollywood North” due to the number of films that have been shot there (American Graffiti, Basic Instinct, Peggy Sue Got Married, and even Howard the Duck, to name a few).
Petaluma has also quietly emerged as a culinary attraction. There are many good restaurants to select from, a few recognized in the Michelin Guide. Vineyards are sprouting up across the valley, and wineries are now producing full-bodied wines that compete with the finest Napa Valley has to offer. It’s no surprise that the food and wine scene is thriving!
Some of Petaluma’s greatest restaurants (and my personal favorites) are listed here.
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- 1 10 Petaluma Restaurants You Should Try
- 1.1 Thai Lemongrass Cuisine
- 1.2 Paradiso Restaurant
- 1.3 Risibisi
- 1.4 Seared
- 1.5 Trattoria Sugo
- 1.6 Stockhome
- 1.7 The Central Market
- 1.8 Saxs Collaboration
- 1.9 Shuckery is a kind of fraud.
- 1.10 The Lalas Creamery
- 1.11 Which of these Petaluma restaurants do you want to try the most? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below!
10 Petaluma Restaurants You Should Try
Thai Lemongrass Cuisine
N McDowell Boulevard +17077899777109 N McDowell Blvd
Lemongrass Thai Restaurant, located in a charming historic building in downtown Petaluma, serves genuine Thai tastes and recipes. The environment is relaxed, with Thai decorations and courteous wait staff. The proprietors are Thai, and they provide real Thai food in downtown Petaluma.
I’m looking forward to the Lemongrass menu’s light and subtle tastes. Each dish tastes just how I remember Thai cuisine from Bangkok. Lemongrass is a wonderful pleasure because of the freshness of the meal and the spicy deliciousness.
Thailand, like any other nation, has its unique comfort foods. My favorite dishes are noodle meals and curries. My wife like the Duck Noodle Soup, which keeps her warm on a winter evening.
I normally get a bowl of rice and a curry with veggies and chicken. I really like the appetizers, which include Vegetable Samosas, Deep Fried Tofu, Chicken Satay with peanut sauce, and Coconut Prawns. When we go out, I generally make the mistake of eating too many appetizers.
We’ve come to know a few of the staff over time. While we were planning our vacation to Bangkok, we went to Lemongrass for dinner to get suggestions for things to do in Thailand. And when we returned and spoke about our vacation, we gave them a tiny present.
Lemongrass Thai Food is a true representation of real Thai cuisine. If you like the wonderful fresh flavors of Thailand, the cuisine at Lemongrass is unbeatable. Or order to go. We often do!
Petaluma Blvd. N.
A couple was leaving the restaurant as we approached the entrance. The lady inquired whether we had already visited Cucina Paradiso. We did, I responded, and she added that we had driven up from South San Francisco to dine here again. It’s fantastic! That’s a 70-mile round trip. A strong recommendation if I ever heard one!
Cucina Paradiso, located on Petaluma Boulevard in the downtown area, is one of our go-to spots for a good Italian supper. Everyone we’ve taken there has raved about the service and the cuisine. The bar is an excellent spot to get a drink while waiting for a table.
The decor of the restaurant is pleasant, and the servers all grin and greet the guests; an uncommon occurrence these days, but a nice start to what will be a fantastic lunch. Wine shelves along the walls store wines from Italy and Sonoma County. The rows of tables are covered in white tablecloths, and the kitchen is open and humming with work. Chefs cook exquisite dishes for eager guests only feet away from your table.
Begin with Bruschetta Al Pomodoro as an appetizer. Toasted bread, sweet, juicy tomatoes, fresh basil, and olive oil with a touch of garlic could constitute a dinner in and of itself. Or, try the grilled calamari with cannellini beans on an arugula salad with vinaigrette dressing. Caprese with fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced tomatoes, olive oil, and basil is also delicious.
Angel hair pasta with fresh tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and garlic is the Capellini Al Pomodoro E Basilico. We order one dish and request that it be divided. It’s just the right quantity for everyone of us. It also makes space for what is to come!
If you want some seafood, choose the Spaghetti Alle Vongole (pasta with fresh clams in white wine and garlic sauce) for your il Primi pick. Instead, Fettucine With Gamberi E Rucola (homemade pasta with shrimp, tomato, and arugula in a lovely white wine sauce).
You may dine inside, on the rear terrace, or at a table along the Petaluma River. Fresh bread and focaccia are delicious.
Cucina Paradiso has been named one of the best Sonoma County restaurants by Zagat for its superb cuisine, excellent service, and unique atmosphere.
Petaluma Boulevard N +17077667600154 Petaluma Blvd N
Risibisi, a delightful restaurant just down the street, provides traditional Italian food with ingredients obtained from a nearby farm. Risibisi has been included in the Michelin Guide for the last twelve years. Risibisi is a fantastic option for family meals and was formerly recognized as the finest restaurant in Petaluma by the Zagat Guide.
Our appointment was for 7:30 p.m., and the waiter led us outdoors to a table overlooking the Petaluma River. We had never eaten outside before, so we took advantage of a comfy table near a radiant heater. The restaurant was full despite being shorthanded on a Saturday night. All of the eateries are now experiencing staffing issues, which is all the more incentive to be patient, sit back, and take in the scenery.
We began with a light and flavorful butternut squash soup. The sprinkling of balsamic vinegar and olive oil on top was delicious. We also devoured the tomato-topped bruschetta, which was so delicious that I would have eaten more if there had been any left on the plate. However, I only ordered two, thinking it would be plenty to whet my hunger. The next time!
My wife chose the Orecchiette Salsiccia, which had a spicy pork fennel sausage, broccoli rabe, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese. That was just spicy enough to get your attention. The pasta is known as small ears and is popular in the southern Italian province of Apulia. This meal has a little bitter broccoli rabe flavor and a spicy sausage flavor. That seemed like a good option for eating al fresco. That was a hit with my wife.
I chose the Eggplant Parmigiana. Layered eggplant slices with a zesty tomato sauce. This recipe is light and does not fill me up like heavier pasta dishes. It was presented on a very hot plate, the ideal accompaniment to an evening at a riverside table.
We shared a Pistachio Crème Brulee for dessert. It was slightly warm with just the proper amount of sweetness to round off a delicious supper.
Risibisi’s menu includes vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free alternatives. I intend to return to try more of the menu.
Petaluma Boulevard N +17077625997170 Petaluma Blvd N
Seared is a renowned restaurant on Washington Street and Petaluma Boulevard that serves tantalizing grilled meats and seafood. The restaurant is large and open, with a homey atmosphere. The wait staff is responsive and courteous, resulting in an enjoyable eating experience.
We began with The Wedge since it was Happy Hour. A slice of baby iceberg lettuce topped with smoky bacon, shallots, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, and an amazing Pt. Reyes blue cheese buttermilk blue dressing. Topping it off with a Negroni, all is well with the world. There are already plans to return for another Wedge salad!
The delicious steakhouse aroma wafting from the kitchen makes deciding what to order difficult. All I could think of was a well cooked filet mignon or a Wagyu steak. The tantalizing aromas take control. Finally, I decided on the Short Rib Gnocchi with Wild Mushrooms and Tarragon Butternut Squash. The beef was tender and complemented the house-made gnocchi perfectly.
The Surf & Turf, a 5 oz. filet with scallops and spinach, mashed potatoes, and shiitake jus, was also ordered. The delicate, fragrant meat was well grilled by the chef. Seared and cooked to perfection, the scallops had a wonderful brown hue.
S B Petaluma Blvd +170778292985
Informal Italian eateries are usually appreciated in every town. Sugo Trattoria first opened its doors in Petaluma in 2007. Sugo strives to respect old-world Italian culinary traditions while reflecting the wine country lifestyle.
The proprietors of Sugos have a long family history with cheese, salumi, and pasta, and they bring recipes handed down from their mothers and dads. Sugo strives to preserve traditional culinary methods.
Stockhome is a Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant in Petaluma. Although they provide typical Swedish fare, Middle Eastern cuisine has grown in popularity throughout Scandinavia. The menu reflects this, with Pita and Kebab options, as well as Greek Souvlaki in fish, chicken, or beef.
Stockhome features a vibrant ambiance and ambience, with counter service and a range of Sweden’s famed food. Candy in jars, particularly black licorice, entice the sweet craving.
The Little Gem salad is a dish of artichokes, fresh greens, sunflower seeds, fried garbanzo beans, and shredded manchego cheese topped with a light yet excellent buttermilk tahini dressing that was great for a beginning to the dinner. I was blown away by the flavor and textures, yet I was sad to see it go! I’ll place another order.
The Swedish meatballs were fantastic. Silky smooth mashed potatoes and brown gravy complemented the entrée well, as did lingonberry sauce, which adds a sweet and tart flavor. The pickled sliced cucumbers contrasted well with the remainder of the platter. Swedish cuisine like most of us have tasted before (maybe at IKEA?) but much better.
The typical Swedish meal includes everything from pickled herring with potato, leeks, carrot, and dill to grilled filet mignon with bearnaise and frankfurters. We had the cured salmon with mustard dill sauce and sliced cucumbers and were not dissatisfied. The salmon complemented both well. The cracker strips gave the dish a nice crunch.
Stockhome has tables inside, including a huge community table where you may have a meal with 10 or 20 of your new best friends. Outdoors, tables are set up beneath umbrellas to create a European atmosphere. Excellent cuisine and a great environment attest to their inclusion in the Michelin Guide.
The Central Market
Petaluma Blvd N
Petaluma boasts a lovely pedestrian bridge that connects to a slew of eateries in the city’s historic core. Central Market restaurant is located just over the Petaluma River bridge. Central Market has been a local and out-of-towner favorite since 2003. My most recent visit discovered that the restaurant had been remodeled. The layout is large and open, with high ceilings and a U-shaped bar with a wood-fired pizza oven in the center.
Of course, I had to sample the pizza. I chose the Salsiccia, which had spicy fennel sausage, red onions, black olives, and mozzarella with a wonderful tomato sauce. I’d order it again the next time. The crust was thin and light, and it was cooked to perfection for a soft interior and a nice crunch to the crust.
The Gemelli, twisted pasta with kale pesto sauce, piqued my wife’s interest. She like kale and was eager to try it. After tasting it, I can affirm that the sauce had a distinct kale flavor. While I prefer basil pesto, I can understand how kale enthusiasts might like this meal.
I loved the open design of Central Market. We’ll be back for more pizza or a taste of the other menu items. The Grilled Wagyu Sirloin Steak piqued my interest, but the wood-fired oven pizza won over. I’ll go hungry next time and try both!
Petaluma Boulevard S +17075593021317 Petaluma Blvd S
Saxs Joint is located in an old home on Petaluma Boulevard and is owned and run by two sisters who wanted to have their own space. Saxs Joint is named for their father, Conrad Saxelby, and Sax is the nickname given to him by his friends.
The restaurant is routinely ranked first on rankings of Petaluma’s greatest restaurants. The meal servings are generous, the pricing are fair, and the cuisine is delicious. Beginning in the morning, people begin to queue for tables. The line goes quickly, and the wait is short and well worth it.
The décor inside the building is a 50s style restaurant, with black and white checkered flooring highlighted with pink signage, waitress uniforms, and a giant pink front door. We don’t have WiFi, says a whiteboard sign. Communicate with one another. Assume it’s 1955. That is pretty much all.
The chicken fried steak drenched in gravy is a fan favorite. There’s no denying that Saxs Place understands how to prepare delicious comfort cuisine. I ordered the Eggs Benedict and was pleasantly impressed by its quality. It’s served with potatoes and thick pieces of ham. This is not your typical dinner dish. I was full and pleased when I left.
Saxs Place is open every day for breakfast and lunch. They’re more popular than ever, with a cheerful, well-fed customer. That was well worth the wait!
Shuckery is a kind of fraud.
100 Washington St +17079817891
A restaurant like The Shuckery has been lacking in Petaluma. There hasn’t been a true oyster bar-restaurant in the region until recently. It’s long overdue. The menu is packed of fresh seafood staples that keep people coming back for more.
We had the clam chowder from the Happy Hour menu. It was rich and creamy, and it was ideal for a cold evening supper. My wife loves clam chowder and was not disappointed.
Hotel Petaluma includes The Shuckery. The restaurant offers indoor dining as well as table service in the hotel courtyard.
The Lalas Creamery
Petaluma Blvd N
After the dinner is over and the bill is paid, there is one more place to go in downtown Petaluma’s restaurant district. Lalas Creamery has become the destination to go after eating at any of the Petaluma Boulevard restaurants. Stroll down the Petaluma River from Risibisi, Seared, Cucina Paradiso, or Central Market, and Lalas Creamery will appear in a few minutes.
Organic ingredients significantly improve the flavor of the ice cream, brownies, cookies, and waffle cones. Lalas Creamery is well-known for its organic and fresh delicacies. Every item on their menu is sourced locally and cooked fresh everyday. Ice cream is the ideal way to cap off a delicious dinner. Come in for an ice cream cone, cookie, cup, shake, or brownie. Everyone enjoys the nostalgic and joyful atmosphere of a 1950s soda fountain. A walk down the Petaluma River with an ice cream cone in hand is the ideal way to cap off a fantastic meal at one of Petaluma’s best restaurants.