Sebastopol, California lies not far from the Northern California coast in the verdant West Sonoma County countryside just north of San Francisco. Native Miwok and Pomo peoples were the first known to populate the area, and this has been a farming community since around the 1850s.
Sebastopol today is an art and culinary hub showcasing some of the best of West Sonoma’s plentiful bounty. A dedication to sustainability permeates the culture, with high-quality local farms, fishermen, and producers the hallmark. This mix of history and sustainability has been linked to produce some of the best Sebastopol restaurants.
As with other Northern California towns, casual attire is the norm. The Barlow complex right downtown hosts some of the most exciting restaurants, tastings, and shopping. Developed out of former Barlow family apple cannery, it’s sort of an anti-mall, more of an outdoor Mercado experience to enjoy and stroll through. On Saturdays and Sundays, the roads are closed for a large market.
Sebastopol is another terrific California destination for a breadbasket of farm-fresh food. As usual, we couldn’t make it to every deserving restaurant in Sebastopol–if only time and budgets were unlimited. Here are ten among a range of our must-try Sebastopol restaurants…and a distillery to boot!
6760 McKinley St. // +1-707-827-3306
The Farmer’s Wife, situated in The Barlow, serves some of the most pleasing sandwiches that you’ll find anywhere. Owner Kendra Kolling, an actual farmer’s wife, is a master at selecting fresh Sonoma County produce. Her personal relationships with local organic farmers mean she’s always securing the top specimens and all manner of seasonal treats.
6780 Depot Street, Suite 120 // +1-707-861-9603
Fern Bar is an airy, light, and plant-filled bar-focused eatery located in The Barlow. Owner Sam Levy, the former bar manager of the Three Michelin-starred The Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena, teamed up with childhood friend Natalie Goble, owner of Handline (a restaurant we didn’t make it to, but looks great!) on this concept establishment, and we happily recommend it.
6790 McKinley Street, #100 // +1-707-634-4793
Among the many restaurants and shops at The Barlow you can also find a first-class craft distillery, Spirit Works. Run by wife-and-husband team Ashby and Timo Marshall, their labor of love was named Distillery of the Year by the American Distillery Institute in July 2020.
Their handsome tasting room is an indication of the care they put into this entire endeavor. Long wooden tasting bars, a library of bottles lining the walls, and a large window into the shiny distillery make for an inviting setting. They’ve designed the experience to be both entertaining and educational, highlighting transparency in their process.
6750 McKinley Street, The Barlow // +1-707-827-6373
Sushi Kosho is one of my favorite sushi spots. The sushi is elegantly done, and they offer a selection of fish that goes beyond the traditional varieties. Chef Jake Rand prides himself on the high quality and sustainability of their ingredients, through close relationships with local, national, and international purveyors.
6770 McKinley St. #150 // +1-707-222-5040
The Blue Ridge Kitchen is a gem in between all Sebastopol restaurants and features farm-fresh American cuisine with a southern flair. Chef Matthew D’Ambrosi is a wizard of color and flavor. With Sonoma County produce as a palette, he’s a talented, innovative chef who loves to invent menus and execute them to the plate.
Situated in one of the prime positions in The Barlow, Blue Ridge Kitchen has an ample front patio with a fun vibe, perfect for a Northern California afternoon. Every dish was elevated, served with a level of beauty, care, and quality that will keep you coming back again and again. They have their own smoker and dry age all of their meats in-house. Their dry-aging room has a big window where you can witness the meats and the process first-hand.