Willi's Wine Bar

My wife and I loved this place so much we went there twice during our stay in the Sonoma Valley. It's a casual restaurant and on both weeknights that we went, it was packed with laid-back locals and possibly a few tourists and visitors to wine country like us. The menu is straight up my alley - unpretentious, yet with items full of flavor and lots of personality. I'm combining two meals in this summary.

You can actually have the restaurant pair flights of wine with your meal if you want, but once I saw the Bastide de St.-Dominique and the Vermentino from Tablas Creek, those were the go-to wines on both nights we had dinner.

As you can see from the menu, the portions are basically along the lines of what you might expect at a tapas bar in Spain or elsewhere in that country. Nevertheless, we had nothing that was even close to being disappointing, and everything was at least well above-average in quality, and in some instances, really exciting food. From the chilled summer tomato soup shooters to the Moroccan lamb, the incredible French fries, pork belly pot stickers and veal cheeks were all terrific dishes. But perhaps the most amazing dish of all was their local crimini mushroom salad, which just blew my mind in terms of the intensity of the mushrooms and the freshness of presentation. I'd go back here in a heartbeat and highly recommend it to subscribers who live in the area or are visiting Sonoma.

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