Michael Thomas, Dan McGarry, and Johnny and Pablo Scurto, all native Californians, draw recipes from throughout Latin America to evoke the coastal cuisine of Baja California and the Yucatán. At Tres Hombres, nestled in downtown Petaluma and Chico, chefs translate these orchestras of flavor into dishes such as Michoacán-style roasted pork carnitas, ancho-crusted Atlantic salmon, and tacos stuffed with more than 10 fillings such as mahi mahi, sirloin steak, and shrimp. Chefs interact with customers and answer questions about preparation at the taco bar, which looks into the open kitchen. Bartenders shake margaritas blended from more than 160 agave tequilas and pour Mexican beers and Spanish and Chilean wines behind a full bar backed by an expansive collection of bottles only rivaled by the collection of a deserted-island post office. In keeping with Latin American communal spirit, the restaurant hosts nights of live music and salsa dancing, as well as a weekly farmers' market with local vendors.
Wild Goat Bistro, winner of the Petaluma People's Choice Awards' Best New Restaurant 2010, plays host to fresh, local ingredients and wines from around the world. Enjoy a glass of Louis Jadot Chardonnay 2008 ($9) as you imbibe oven-roasted prawns, which slow dance with garlic breadcrumbs and melted mozzarella in a summer rain of butter and wine ($8.50). The 10-inch Neapolitan-style pizza—the bistro’s house specialty—cradles an orchestra of ingredients with a thin, crispy crust. Guests can commission the chefs to sculpt one in Mediterranean style—artichokes, mushrooms, kalamata olives, grape tomatoes, red onion, and mozzarella over pesto sauce ($12.75)—or in the meaty form, known as the Fog Lifter—spicy fennel sausage, applewood smoked bacon, pepperoni, and mozzarella over tomato sauce ($12.75). Any pizza, except for the That'sa Meatball, can be made with gluten-free crust.
Within Bovine Bakery, the deep flavors of potent drip coffee awaken the senses and ready the palate for buttery, flaky, and sweet handmade pastries. Local and organic ingredients fill the kitchens, where loaves of bread rise beside croissants and bowls of muffin batter and scone dough. Beyond its breakfast staples, such as the Morning Bun coffee cake, Bovine Bakery also cooks up a menu of savory lunch entrees, including pizzas, quiches, and soups. Apart from their regularly delicious forms, these often come in different guises for those with dietary restrictions, helping guests avoid meat, gluten, or ingredients that rhyme with “orange.”
After owning a restaurant and motel in Nepal and working as an executive in Indian restaurants in Sonoma County, Gopal Gauchan established Everest Indian Restaurant in 2009 to serve his own favorite Indian, Nepalese, and Tibetan recipes. Colorful bowls of lamb curry catch diners' eyes as they travel through the spacious dining room, alighting on tables alongside fresh tofu matar or chicken tandoori.
Shree Indian Cuisine's chefs embrace culinary traditions from both northern and southern corners of the subcontinent and adhere to centuries-old techniques for baking naan. Orders of the traditional leavened bread can emerge from the kitchen plain or with sweet and savory fillings of nuts, fruits, and chilies. To accompany the naan, the chefs can simmer toothsome vegetables and homemade cheese in a fragrant sauce or roast small clay pots of marinated lamb, chicken, or fish in a tandoor oven. They can also customize the amount of spice in any dish, making it mild and savory or intensely hot, like the molten lava that warms George Foreman grills.
The fragrant curries and tomato-based sauces even fit into the dining room's decor, with its pale orange and wine-red walls that surround a stool-lined bar in the center of the space. Hexagonal Indian lanterns dangle from the ceiling, and the framed wall art also helps evoke the feel of southern Asia.
"Rustic, yet refined" can describe both Social Club Restaurant & Bar’s ambiance, characterized by wooden beams, hanging chandeliers, and large windows, and its offerings on various menus, crafted with care by executive chef Bob Simontacchi. As Bob's kitchen staff prepares salt-cod fritters, smoked-gouda mac 'n' cheese, and their special fried chicken, bartenders pour single-malt scotches and selections from more than 50 bottled craft beers. On Sundays, the restaurant buzzes with conversation fueled by sangria and bellinis at brunch and live music after 6 p.m.
Traxx Bar & Grill is nestled in the riverside town of Petaluma, and its selection of beer, wine, and spirits from a full bar keeps libations flowing to palates in a stream as inexorable as a river. Chefs stack 13 specialty, half-pound beef burgers with toppings such as avocado, pico de gallo, and grilled pineapple, and adorn fries in hot sauce and parmesan cheese. A kids' menu of cheeseburgers, chicken tenders, and hot dogs accommodates young lads and lasses, and drafts of craft beers and goblets of locally acquired Sonoma-county wine water the craws of of-age diners. Colorful knickknacks, street signs, and sports pendants beam down from the walls onto a seating area of barstools and tabletops, where model airplanes and bongo drums dangle from the ceiling. Multiple flat-screen TVs, meanwhile, glimmer with rousing sports games and gripping car commercials featuring sedans that can yodel.