You know that feeling where you take baby steps into that picturesque pool at your all-inclusive resort, and you edge your way to the swim up bar? You order your first drink of the holiday, take that first sip of that delicious cocktail, and take a second to gaze around at the beauty of it all? That’s what it’s like at Sonoma Wine Garden. Huddled inside the 3rd street Promenade, SWG has this incredibly friendly, airy feeling about it. In the middle sits a 3-sided wraparound bar with tables around each side (so that bar sitters and table sitters are at arms length apart). Surrounding the bar sides are upper level outdoor seating areas with virtually no walls enclosing any of these areas. There are only superficial barriers such as tables or half doorways or stairs. The entire concept is very inviting and unpretentious.
The first time I was taken here we ordered drinks at the bar until our outdoor seats were ready but it actually starting pouring rain so we took a table indoors next to a group of really sweet girls celebrating a rather blue (color, not mood) baby shower. In any case it was the perfect afternoon for what they call “keep em coming champagne cocktails” which all of us were quite excited about, obviously (well not the cocktails, just good ol fashioned champagne).
And then the food. Goodness me! So first time around, we ordered brunch. To share we ordered the sunrise brunch pizza. Admittedly I didn’t want to share. The egg is cooked, by the way, and so damn good. We also shared charcuterie which was pretty standard. But I ordered an egg Benedict for myself and… You know there is something to be said about a chef who knows how to cook a medium-soft poached egg. Spot on!
Time number 2 was a great table outdoors in the sun overlooking the city. We ordered from the dinner menu so was a completely different experience. The tuna tartar was chunky. Beautifully wholesomely chunky pieces of tuna, avocado, and cucumber. I really just salivate thinking about it because I’m a huge fan of chunky salads and this texture is not normally associated with a tuna tartar – but it was great! Of course the flavor was light and simple the way a tuna tartar should be, so that part didn’t change. We ordered a few other things off the menu such as truffle fries and bacon wrapped dates which were also very tasty but Im telling ya… The tuna tartar is a must. And see the old me would not normally go into what I ordered for fear that when you go it will no longer be a menu item … So go! Run!
I have been looking forward to this review because anyone I’ve mentioned this place to has not heard of it nor do they realize it is hidden in the 3rd street promenade – so hopefully more of you discover this gem.