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REVIEW - Russian River Vineyards Restaurant

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REVIEW - Russian River Vineyards Restaurant

By Ron Skaar and Jon Russo

We had climbed these worn wooden steps before, but this time, after entering, everything looked different. Straight ahead is the new finely appointed indoor tasting room. Two floor-to-ceiling doors open outside to the spacious patio which is graced by towering redwoods. The Northern Californian sun highlights the wild flower gardens, umbrellas, seating areas and the open air tasting room.

The Russian River Vineyards Restaurant & Farm has undergone a major transformation.

One of the valleys oldest wineries has been turned into a thriving destination of West Sonoma County. The only winery-based restaurant in the Russian River Valley, which offers sustainable world class wines and farm to table dining, in and outside an 1890’s farmhouse.

The outdoor tasting area is shadowed by the majestic replica hop kiln building, undergoing restoration. Pedal steel music was the perfect accompaniment to the al fresco wine tasting and dinning adventure. The Sunday brunch starter menu includes fresh baked scones with Meyer lemon jelly, house-made Burrata, soup, charcuterie and cheese boards.

Kaytas Salad of fresh greens from the RRV gardenWe started with the Kayta’s House Salad, named for the gardener, prepared with her incredible produce from the farm. Mixed estate lettuces are piled high with herb-marinated radishes, heirloom carrots, fennel, a grapefruit and black sesame vinaigrette and embellished with blue and white edible flowers. This was a perfect showpiece for these fresh ingredients.

Brunch entrees included a two eggs any style, applewood bacon standard and Candy Cap waffles with Vermont maple syrup and blueberry compote. The Chai-Spiced Chioggia Beet, Smokey Carrot, Snap Pea and Pickled Rainbow Chard vegetable dish pairs Chef Paul Scandura’s expertise with the stunning seasonal produce grown by Kayta. 

We continued with the Eggs Benedict on Wine Barrel Smoked Ham and Garlic-Herb Potatoes and the Gio’s Burger with Gruyere, RRV Chardonnay-Stewed Onions and French Fries. Each entrée comes with a mixed estate lettuce salad and you can add a sunny-up farm egg to the burger.

The eggs were perfectly cooked on top of the Village Bakery English muffin and drizzled with a silky Hollandaise sauce. Roasting the new potatoes with garlic and herbs made them so sweet and delectable, they melted in my mouth. Gio’s burger was impeccably prepared and delicious while the accompanying French fries were flawless.

The restaurant is rated among the top 100 Al Fresco dinning experiences in America. 

Seven sustainably grown single vineyard wines are available under the trees or in the house tasting areas. A friendly and accomplished staff provides indoor and patio dinning service six days a week (closed on Wednesday) from noon to 8:00 p.m., accompanied by unique local musicians. 5700 Hwy. 116 N. Forestville, CA 95436. Tasting Room Tel. (707) 887-2300, Restaurant Tel. (707) 887-3344. info@russianrivervineyards.com.

Photos by Jon Russo

Live Music on the patio at Russian River Vineyards