While I love tacos more than any other food, sometimes it’s nice to mix it up and try something new. We are blessed to have a diverse Latino community here in Sonoma County, and are able to try cuisines outside of the usual Mexican restaurants found in the area. Check out the list below for an exploration of Peruvian, Brazilian cuisine and more!
A local favorite, Sazon Peruvian Cuisine cooks up a variety of traditional Peruvian foods. Try lomo saltado, grilled steak strips, onions and tomatoes served over french fries for a savory appetizer or a ceviche mixto, made with shrimp, octopus, three types of fish marinated in a flavorful lime and chile sauce, accompanied with cancha, a roasted Andean corn. Finish your meal off with a round of refreshing pisco sours, a Peruvian cocktail elaborated with egg white. 1129 Sebastopol Rd in Santa Rosa. 707-523-4346.
Bringing a latino touch to Petaluma is Quinua Cocina Peruana, a small hole in the wall bursting with flavor. Start with some yuca fries, served with a creamy dipping sauce, then give your taste buds a buzz with the jalea de mariscos, crispy pieces of fish and fresh seafood mixed with yuca, rocoto sauce and topped with a spicy salsa. Join them for happy hour every Tuesday-Sunday from 2-5:30 pm. 500 Petaluma Blvd S in Petaluma. 707-981-7359.
Located in downtown Petaluma, Ayawaska is a new restaurant bringing traditional Peruvian cuisine with a modern twist. Their extensive fresh ceviche menu will have you craving more. Try their arroz con mariscos, a rice dish mixed with octopus, shrimp, scallops, calamari and crab meat. Pair your meal with a unique cocktail like the Ayawaska Mule, a Peruvian twist on the Moscow mule classic. 101 2nd St in Petaluma. 707-559-3519.
Pupusas, a dish from El Salvador made up of thick cornmeal flatbread stuffed with cheese, meats and vegetables, have become quite popular in the U.S. Here is Santa Rosa, Pupusería Salvadoreña is making a name among locals for their delicious pupusas. If you’re a newbie, start off with a pupusa de queso y frijol, a simple yet savory cheese and beans stuffed pupusa, topped with pickled cabbage and fresh salsa. For those who are pupusa experts, try something a little different like the empanada de platano con frijol, an empanada stuffed with fried plantains and refried beans. Or get the classic revuelta! 1403 Maple Ave in Santa Rosa. 707-544-3141.
Ever heard of a pupusa burger? Well, Don Julio’s is the place to try it. One of their most popular items, the pupusa burger (two pupusas of your choice stuffed with your choice of meat, pico de gallo, guacamole, chipotle cream and cheese) keeps people coming back for more. If you’re looking for something a little lighter, the sweet corn tamale meal is a great choice. The dish consists of a homemade sweet corn tamale, covered in a tropical mango salsa and paired with a side of plantains and rice. 217 Southwest Blvd in Rohnert Park. 707-242-3160.
This hidden gem in Petaluma is getting a lot of attention for their traditional Brazilian BBQ. Nearly every day of the week between 5-9 pm they serve all-you-can-eat rodizio BBQ. The meat, cooked right on skewers, is brought to your table side and served with unlimited salads. Another popular dish? The bacon-wrapped chicken breast, served with rice, beans, sweet plantains and grilled pineapple. If you still have room for dessert, the banana flan (a caramel custard dessert) is raved about. 5306 Old Redwood Hwy in Petaluma. 707-665-0644.
El Coqui has established itself as a popular restaurant in downtown Santa Rosa. The pollo al horno, a marinated chicken thigh dish, paired with rice, beans and sweet plantain is a popular favorite. I am a fan of the canoas con carne molida, a dish which consists of large sweet plantain stuffed with ground beef and topped with melted cheese. Visit them during their happy hour every Monday-Friday from 3-6 pm for $5 sangría and appetizers. 400 Mendocino Ave in Santa Rosa. 707-542-8868.
While still considered a Mexican restaurant, Maya specializes in traditional cuisine from Yucatan, in the Southeast region of Mexico. The star dish is cochinita pibil, pork roasted in banana leaves, achiote and sour orange served with citrus habanero onions, prepared in the traditional style. The chicken mole enchiladas, sauteed pollo pibil, onions and peppers served with a homemade mole and garnished with fresh queso fresco. Maya’s bar is also a popular spot for their extensive tequila and mezcal menu, which includes mezcal flights. 101 E Napa St in Sonoma. 707-935-3500.
Guiso Latin Fusion is known in Healdsburg for the quality and variety of their Latin fusion cuisine. Mix it up with the paella caribeña, a mix of chicken breast, wild prawns, linguica and fresh vegetables simmered in garlic infused saffron rice. Another dish worth tasting? The pescado con coco, fish sauteed in a coconut, papaya and bell pepper sauce, served with saffron rice. Finish the meal off with arroz con leche, a milk and coconut rice pudding dessert, topped with caramelized bananas and cajeta. 117 N Street in Healdsburg. 707-431-1302.Click here for reuse options!
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