Are you spending time in Russian River Valley and wondering where are the best restaurants to grab a bite to eat? Find out the top 12 Monte Rio CA restaurants and the other must-stop eateries nearby.
Russian River Valley is one of my favorite destinations to escape and unplug for a relaxing getaway. My husband and I, and our two dogs, have been to Russian River on numerous occasions. On our last trip, we rented an Airbnb for five blissful days on the river in Monte Rio.
Monte Rio is a small town along the Russian River, surrounded by majestic redwood trees and a short drive to the many incredible Russian River wineries. Monte Rio is nearby other popular towns in Sonoma County, such as Guerneville, Occidental, Forestville, and Sebastopol.
During our five days in Monte Rio, we learned all of the things to do nearby, where to eat, wine taste, and more. Here is my list of the top Monte Rio CA restaurants that I hope will help you plan your next Russian River adventure.
Monte Rio CA Restaurants
✅ It is important to note: During our stay in Monte Rio, we discovered that a lot of the restaurants are closed during the week. So before you plan on visiting one of these restaurants, make sure to check their hours.
1. Lightwave Coffee & Kitchen
First up, and one of my personal favorites for breakfast, is Lightwave Coffee & Kitchen. Every time we visit Monte Rio, we always make time to visit Lightwave Coffee & Kitchen. This trendy little cafe is full of fun decor, friendly staff, and delicious Israeli food.
Their charming dog-friendly outdoor patio is perfect for sipping coffee and enjoying your breakfast in the early morning sun. Next to the patio is a large community garden you can walk through and a public skate park.
Lightwave Coffee & Kitchen is such a gem in Monte Rio and a must-try during your visit to the Russian River Valley. They are open Wednesday – Sunday for breakfast and lunch from 9 am to 3 pm.
2. Rio Cafe & Grill
Don’t pass up a visit to Rio Cafe & Grill. The small no-frills cafe is a locals’ favorite! Enjoy hearty comfort food with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere at the cozy Rio Cafe & Grill.
After your meal, hopefully, you have saved some room for dessert! Rio Cafe & Grill offers Scoop of Sonoma, a handmade and locally sourced award-winning ice cream. The ice cream alone is worth a visit to Rio Cafe!
The Rio Cafe & Grill is open Thursday 5 pm – 8 pm and Friday through Sunday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner from 9 am to 9 pm.
3. Village Inn & Restaurant
Dine riverside at the Village Inn & Restaurant. The Village Inn is a quaint hotel tucked away in the lush redwood forest. Established in 1906, the Village Inn & Restaurant has plenty of history and unique charm. The historic hotel is surrounded by beautiful gardens, towering redwood trees, and views of the Russian River and surrounding mountains.
Even if you are not a guest at the Village Inn, you can still enjoy a meal on their outdoor deck that boasts stunning views of the Russian River and majestic redwoods. Village Inn & Restaurant currently only serves dinner and is open at 5:00 pm Wednesday – Sunday.
Book your stay at the Village Inn & Restaurant here
4. Northwood Restaurant & Bar
Come to Northwood Restaurant & Bar for some home-cooked comfort food. You’ll find all the classics, like steak, seafood, pasta of the day, mac n cheese, mashed potatoes, and homemade desserts. All of their ingredients are locally sourced.
Northwood Restaurant is a locally owned and operated restaurant situated on the beautiful Northwood Golf Course. Stop by the Northwood Restaurant for drinks and a meal after a round of golf or catch some live music every Friday night and karaoke on Saturday nights.
Northwood Restaurant & Bar is open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Restaurants Near Monte Rio CA
Monte Rio, CA, is a small town through and through. There are only a handful of restaurants and hotels, a convenience store, a golf course, and a theatre. However, that is all part of Monte Rio’s charm and why we love to visit.
If you are looking to explore more of this area, there are many nearby towns that offer their own unique personality and things to do. Here are some of the top restaurants near Monte Rio, CA.
Monte Rio to Guerneville: 4.5-mile drive, approximately 8 minutes away
The town of Guerneville is also located on the Russian River. The difference between Monte Rio and Guerneville is it’s a little more populated and has a downtown area. If you are driving through Guerneville, downtown is definitely worth a stop.
Downtown Guerneville is small but consists of a variety of shops, restaurants, a spa, cafes, and a yoga studio.
5. Boon Eat + Drink
Boon Eat + Drink is a sophisticated farm-to-table California bistro in downtown Guerneville. As a farm-to-table restaurant that uses fresh and organic ingredients, its menu is seasonal. However, you can expect to find some of their most popular dishes on the menu, such as their out-of-this-world truffle mac n cheese, polenta lasagna, and famous brussel sprouts.
You can eat your meal in their cozy and modern restaurant, or take it outside, to their lovely backyard gardens.
Boon Eat + Drink is one of the top places to dine in Guerneville. Unfortunately, they do not take reservations. So be sure to either arrive early or put your name down and grab a drink at El Barrio, the bar next door. Boon Eat + Drink is open Wednesday – Sunday from 4 pm to 9 pm.
6. Big Bottom Market
Home to the best biscuits in Sonoma County! You do not have to take my word for it. However, when Oprah Winfrey declares Big Bottom Market’s biscuits as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2016. You better believe they are some pretty special biscuits!
Also located on the Main Street in Guerneville is where you can find Big Bottom Market. They are famously known for their homemade and undeniably delicious biscuits. However, their menu also consists of sandwiches, salads, local wines, and breakfast options.
Inside their market, they have an assortment of artisanal food and wine, and a variety of local products, such as jams, honey, cheeses, bread, meats, and prepared foods. And of course, they sell their famous biscuit mix.
Big Bottom Market is open Wednesday through Friday 8 am – 3 pm, Saturday 8 am – 3 pm, and Sunday 8 am – 5 pm.
7. Guerneville Bank Club
My husband and I literally stumbled upon Guerneville Bank Club on our last visit to downtown Guerneville. The outside of the ice cream shop looks exactly like a bank. Luckily we saw a sign on the sidewalk, “handmade choco tacos and ice cream sandwiches,” we were immediately intrigued.
The Guerneville Bank Club was once a Historic Bank of Guerneville built in 1921. The building has been restored, and now is an awesome location for an ice cream shop. The Guerneville Bank Club has everything you want and more when it comes to ice cream.
It was so hard to decide what we wanted to order, so we got a little bit of everything. You can get a scoop or cone of handmade ice cream. Or what we found pretty cool and unique was the to-go freezer. The freezer was stocked with pints of their popular flavors of ice cream, choco tacos, ice cream sandwiches, and cookies to bake at home.
There is also a wine vault inside, with a decent selection of local and imported wines, microbrews, art, and other items for purchase. The Guerneville Bank Club is open all week, except for Wednesdays.
8. Guerneville Taco Truck
Are you looking for the best Mexican food in town? If so, you have to visit the Safeway parking lot to find the Guerneville Taco Truck.
Every time we drive by the Safeway, there is always a large group of people gathering around the Taco Truck. The popular Taco Truck is owned and managed by the Vazquez brothers and has been in the family for the last 3 centuries.
The Guerneville Taco Truck is known for its speedy service, quality Mexican food, and friendly service. The Taco Truck is open 7 days a week from 11:30 am to 9:00 pm.
Monte Rio to Occidental: 6.5-mile drive, approximately 12 minutes from Monte Rio
Occidental, CA, is another small town tucked away in the redwood forests of Sonoma County. Occidental has a two-block downtown area full of culture, arts, and a few restaurants. Sonoma Canopy Tours, a ziplining park, is also a fun and popular thing to do in Occidental.
9. Negri’s Original Occidental
If you are craving some classic hearty Italian food, Negri’s is the restaurant for you. Negri’s is a family-owned and operated restaurant that has been sharing its family recipes with Occidental since 1943.
We chose to dine at Negri’s after our day of exploring Occidental and had a fabulous dinner. We decided to do family style and order a little bit of everything to share with the table. Nonni’s Ravioli is a must-try! They are housemade, with a combination of beef, pork, swiss chard, herbs, and parmesan. We also enjoyed the juicy and flavorful meatballs and burrata as appetizers.
Besides authentic Italian food, they also have handcrafted seasonal cocktails from Joe’s Bar. Negri’s is open only on the weekends. Friday and Saturday 4 pm-8 pm and Sundays 3 pm-8 pm.
Just along the main street of Occidental is where you can find the charming and ultra-cozy Hazel Restaurant. One of the newer restaurants in Occidental, Hazel quickly gained an outstanding reputation for its food. The restaurant features two wood-fired ovens to create a rustic Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. Also, they make a pretty incredibly delicious wood fire pizza.
Save room for dessert! Hazel is also known for its housemade desserts including cakes, sundaes, a variety of cookies, and fresh fruit shortcakes.
If you plan on visiting on a weekend night, I highly suggest making a reservation in advance. The Hazel Restaurant is open for dinner Wednesday – Sunday from 5 pm – 9 pm.
Monte Rio to Forestville: 11.5-mile drive, approximately 20 minutes from Monte Rio
As you drive east from Monte Rio, you will hit the tiny town of Forestville. Forestville’s unofficial motto is “The Good Life,” it is not hard to see why. Even though this town is small, you can find so many things to do.
You can spend your time wine tasting at one of the many beautiful wineries, relax on the Russian River, or sit for a meal at one of the farm-to-table restaurants.
11. Russian River Vineyards Restaurant & Farm
During our time visiting Forestville, we stopped at a couple of the wineries. One of our favorites was Russian River Vineyards. We loved it for its fun and laid-back atmosphere, tasty wines, and beautiful outdoor patio. Also, a huge perk, you could order lunch with your wine tasting.
Russian River Vineyards Restaurant’s menu is simple, but everything is made from fresh and local ingredients. The menu has a couple of sandwiches, salads, flatbreads, and charcuterie boards to choose from. I got the Roasted Beet Salad, and it was so yummy and filling.
On Thursdays and throughout the weekend, Russian River Vineyards features live music with some local musicians on their outdoor patio. Russian River Vineyards is the perfect option when you want to sit back and relax and sip on a glass of wine in the heart of the Russian River Valley.
12. Farmhouse Inn
If you are going to have dinner anywhere in Forestville, make it the Farmhouse Inn. The Farmhouse Inn is a rustic-chic hotel nestled in the rolling hills of the Russian River Valley. The hotel offers many luxury amenities such as a spa, pool, fireplace in each room, and their Michelin Starr restaurant.
Even if you are not a guest of the Inn you should not miss the opportunity to dine at the Farmhouse Restaurant. The innovative menu takes you along a 4-course journey of flavors and fresh ingredients from Sonoma County. They also have an extensive wine list that will perfectly complement each course of your meal.
If you plan on having dinner at the Farmhouse Restaurant, you will need to make a reservation in advance. The Farmhouse Inn is open Thursday – Monday from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
Book your stay at Farmhouse Inn here
Monte Rio Bars
You are not going to find much nightlife in Monte Rio. Most of the restaurants close early, and there are no bars in town. However, you can find some local bars nearby in Guerneville.
Or, if you don’t mind the 30-minute drive, Sebastopol has numerous bars open until 2 am. Perfect for a drink, listening to music, and enjoying the night with some friends. In my opinion, Sebastopol is your best bet for nightlife near Monte Rio.
Here are some options for bars nearby in Guerneville.
El Barrio: El Barrio is an authentic Mexican-inspired restaurant and bar on Main Street in Guerneville. They specialize in artisanal handcrafted spirits with a focus on mezcal, tequila, and bourbon.
Rainbow Cattle Company: One of the only late night bars you are going to find near Monte Rio. The Rainbow Cattle Company is a gay bar located on Main Street, Guerneville.
Stumptown Brewery: Visit Stumptown Brewery for a laid-back brewpub that serves local beers, burgers, and sandwiches on their backyard deck overlooking the river.
Where to Plan Your Next Trip in Northern California
After your visit to the Russian River, here is a list of some of my favorite Northern California destinations for you to visit next.
In Conclusion: Monte Rio CA Restaurants
As you can see, this small town offers numerous options of fantastic restaurants to dine at. However, if you are traveling from early to mid-week, don’t forget to check the restaurant’s hours. The majority of them are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. I hope this list of top Monte Rio, CA, restaurants helps you plan an epic trip to the Russian River!