Reviews of the finest restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area by Carol and Joe Davis - the Dining Detectives. From Sushi to Prime Rib, the Detectives dine their way across the spectum of fine food. ©2006 Carol and Joe Davis

Ristorante Piatti- Sonoma
Wine Country Dining at It’s Best!

Ristorante Piatti, our destination this warm late summer evening, is open again in Sonoma. It is newly renovated, just in time for its 10th anniversary. Piatti is in The Eldorado Hotel on the Plaza. For many years, we have enjoyed strolling around the Plaza in Sonoma and invariably come home with another Wine Country treasure from one of the upscale shops. True to form, we were drawn into The Sonoma Silver Company where Leona and Hope were happy to let us browse and look at all their fine well priced jewelry and gifts. Amazingly, a Sterling Silver Bracelet with a large Mother of Pearl Stone fit perfectly and once again a dining experience paired perfectly with a shopping experience!

We entered Piatti through the beautiful lobby of The El Dorado Hotel and had a quick drink at the bar. The bar is part of the restaurant and we could see both an indoor and outdoor dining opportunity. We were greeted by Martin Chavez the Manager this evening and were made to feel right at home.

The newly renovated décor was warm and inviting. The muted colors, vineyardesque wall murals, rustic wood furniture and red paver floors give Piatti an Italian Villa feeling. We always enjoy an open kitchen, so we are able to see the chefs at work, cooking can truly be an art form. The Wood Burning Oven and Rotisserie were hard at work when we arrived. One can dine alfresco on warm days and enjoy the comfortable Sonoma climate. We opted to sit outside and were glad we did. The temperature was perfect and as the sun went down, the lights were turned on to maintain a softly lit atmosphere.

The warm evening air, the 100-year-old Fig trees above and around us, the large Italian Style Fountain, the red paver tile floors and comfortable round table with white table clothes all added to make a fabulous atmosphere.

Lorin, our waitress came right over and greeted us. She told us of the specials and over the course of the evening made our relaxed well-paced dinner very enjoyable. She told us of the fire that closed Piatti for over 3 months and how the staff got both paid and time off. Very noble for these times – most employers might not have been as kind.

To start we ordered some Sparkling water and wines by the glass.

The Beber Italian Sparkling Water was perfect and we were glad to see a different offering which with a slice of lime added to our dining experience.

It was time to eat and here are some of the dishes that we recommend from Executive Chef, Jude Wilmoth.


Top Sirloin of Beef, Fennel, Baby Arugula, and Shaved Parmesan.
Great, definitely a tasty starter, we loved the capers.

Fruitti De Mare-
Prawns, Clams, Sausage, Toasted Garlic, and White Wine Broth. This starter gives you a taste of seafood and sausage. We loved soaking up the broth in the toasted bread that came in the dish.

Roasted Polenta, mixed mushrooms with red wine reduction sauce. The mushrooms and sauce smothered the polenta. Roasting the Polenta gave it an unusually rich consistency and the sauce was mouth watering.

Fritti Of The Day- Fresh Monterey Calamari, Onion, Green Beans, Cayenne-Sherry Aioli- Lightly breaded, this was a super starter. It could be a meal if you are only mildly hungry. We loved the Calamari.


Classic Caesar Salad-
Hearts of Romaine, House Dressing, Shaved Parmesan. Lightly dressed and with anchovies ( like a true Caeser), we shared this and it helped to ease our way into the Main Courses

Main Courses- Girarrosto, Griglia E Specialita.

Oakwood Fired Pizza with Roasted Garlic , Smoked salmon, Green Onions, Heirloom Tomatoes, Arugula Pesto. A Very light thin crust and a very tasty Pizza. Smoked salmon and pesto is a nice combination.

Oakwood Grilled New York Steak.
With Cabernet Butter and Shoestring Potatoes. We noticed a happy couple with a bottle of Cabernet and two mouthwatering Steaks and we knew we’d have to return and have this ourselves some time.

Pan Seared Day Boat Scallops-
On White Truffle Oil with Whipped Potatoes.
Prepared perfectly on the bed of garlic potatoes, this was definitely our favorite Entrée. The Scallops were seared to lock in the juicy flavor.

Orecchiette Pasta with Grilled Skirt Steak, Crispy Yukon Gold Potatoes, mixed Mushrooms, Arugula.
This special pasta combination of spices and other ingredients created a fabulous rich savory broth. The plate was clean as we soaked up the sauce.

By Peggy Capretto
Dessert Chef

Chocolate Mousse Praline Bars with Hazelnut Crème Anglaise.
Chocoholics rejoice, rich, rich,rich

Flourless Chocolate Cake served warm with Vanilla Bean Gelato. This was a dense cake that suited us just fine especially with the Gelato on top.

Warm Fresh Seasonal Fruit Crisp With Vanilla Bean Gelato.This was the best dessert. The crisp was perfect. A Fantastic Finish to a great meal.

We had a few white wines by the glass and then tried reds in Half Bottles . The Half Bottle list which included both reds and whites was well thought out giving singles, couples or groups the chance to have some "better" choices without having to order whole bottles.

By The Glass:
Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc 1999 Sonoma Coast- light and flavorful. Paired well with the Calamari.

St. Francis Chardonnay 1998 Sonoma County- Buttery yet not too Oaky- Paired well with the Day Boat Scallops.

Half Bottles:

Carmenet Cabernet Sauvignon 1998- Full Bodied, great nose and paired well with everything. This was our favorite that we tasted this evening.

Acacia Pinot Noir 1998 Carneros- Nice nose and paired well with the Skirt Steak. The Bottle had a Quotation on the back that we liked from John Milton circa 1666.
" Wine, one sip of this will bathe the drooping spirits in delight beyond the bliss of dreams. Be wise and taste!"

As this evening dining experience drew to a close, we looked around and saw happy couples and families laughing and chatting. A party atmosphere where good wine, great food and friendly staff combined to enrich us all.

We were wise and we tasted as Milton had advised and we were glad that we did.

The Sonoma Plaza is happy to have Ristorante Piatti back! For Lunch or Dinner you’ll be glad you took the short and scenic ride and tasted the specialties from their wood burning oven and rotisserie.

Ristorante Piatti

405 First Street West
Sonoma, Ca. 95476
Phone: 707-996-2351
Fax: 707-996-5863

Open Daily
June- October
11:30 A.M-10: 00 P.M.
(Fri-Sat til 10:30 P.M.)
11:30 A.M.- 9:30 P.M.
(Fri-Sat til 10:00 P.M.)

Major Credit Cards Accepted

Reservations Recommended
(Required for parties of 10 or more)

Ample on street parking
Wheelchair Accessible

Seats 200
(100 indoors 100 outdoors)

Full Bar and Full Menu at the Bar- (seats 10)
Private Banquet Room seats 30
Private Parties to 200

Off Site Catering Available

Gourmet Box Lunches
(For 15 or more)