Here are some tasty alternatives around Sonoma County and, as a plus, the suppers offer special pricing, leaving more money for gifts and stocking stuffers.
It’s also time to start planning for New Year’s, so check out these marvelous ways to count down to midnight. There’s even a New Year’s party with kids activities, so you can count out the babysitter.
John Ash & Co., Santa Rosa
As a centerpiece to Vintners Inn, the restaurant offers views of 92 acres of lush vineyards and landscaped gardens, plus a seasonal menu of local foods and produce from chef Thomas Schmidt.
Christmas Eve dinner is offered from 5 to 8 p.m., while New Year’s Eve dinner rocks in with two seatings, and two menus. Make a reservation for 5:30 to 7 p.m. ($95), and enjoy a multi-course meal kicked off with sparkling wine, then dishes like butter poached Dungeness crab leg, estate sunchoke ravioli with crispy sage butter and Bohemian Creamery Capriago, and Broken Arrow Ranch loin of venison wrapped in “feuille de brick” mushroom duxelle with cranberry sabayon, haricot vert, spicy venison demi-glace and wild rice pilaf.
The second seating runs 8:30 to 10 p.m. ($120), with goodies like roasted organic beets and burrata cheese with La Quercia prosciutto in sherry vinaigrette and beet reduction, smoked paprika infused Kurobuta pork belly with cocoa, chili threads, cucumber and polenta, and oven roasted breast of pheasant with sauerkraut, truffle potato crepes and tarragon sauce.
4330 Barnes Road, Santa Rosa, 707-527-7687, vintnersinn.com.
Timber Cove Inn, Jenner
Take a jaunt to Jenner, and celebrate the New Year overlooking the crashing waves of the Sonoma Coast from this lovely restaurant and inn. Get all snuggly and toasty in front of the roaring fire in the Sequoia Lounge, continue on to dinner and dancing, stay for the balloon drop, then wrap up with s’mores by the fire pit overlooking the ocean before waltzing off to bed in your comfy room.
The five-course dinner ($139 plus $59 for wine pairings) features citrus prawns, and pan roasted moi fish over black truffle risotto, broccolini and crispy leeks in morel mushroom sauce. Special stay-over packages are available, as well.
21780 N. Highway 1, Timber Cove, 800-987-8319, timbercoveinn.com.
Madrona Manor Dickens’ Dinners and Christmas Day Dinner, Healdsburg
It’s difficult to get more holiday than a supper of beef Wellington in a Christmas castle-decorated historic mansion, enjoyed while being serenaded by Olde English costumed carolers.
On select evenings through Christmas Day, come together around the table at 6:30 p.m. or reserve a matinee meal at 1:30 p.m. on Christmas Day. The Twelfth Night Singers a-cappella quintet stroll throughout the dining rooms, and there’s even some opportunity for sing-alongs.
Cost for the five-course feast is $85-$125 depending on date. Return again for New Year’s, when chef Jesse Mallgren prepares another special five-course menu ($130) with seatings from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. complete with champagne sabering and complimentary toast at midnight.
1001 Westside Road, Healdsburg, 707-433-4231, madronamanor.com.
Flamingo Resort, Santa Rosa
Everyone loves a bargain, and the Flamingo Terrace Grille Restaurant offers a delicious deal in its elaborate Christmas Gala Buffet from noon to 4 p.m. Cost is $32 adults / $16 children 5-11 years / free to kids under 5, and brings a feast of carved meats and much more.
Later, bring the New Year in with a bang, at the family friendly party from 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., which includes a movie room for the kids, and monitored private care for infants and toddlers.
Adults enjoy a buffet, late-night snacks, casino games, dancing to DJ music and a midnight ball drop. Cost is $75 per adult including one free child admission ($20 per additional child).
2777 Fourth Street, Santa Rosa, 707-523-4745, flamingohotel.com.
Corks at Russian River Vineyards
The chef is still planning the Christmas Eve feast, since every meal at this elegant retreat amid the redwoods features the seasonal best from local growers and organic ranchers.
But here’s the idea: a three-course dinner and wine pairing is value-priced at $49 per person, including soup or salad, choice of three entrées and dessert, accompanied by the property’s own Russian River Vineyards wines.
Then, for New Year’s, it’s a four-course affair ($89), beginning with a glass of sparkling wine, then moving on to dish choices such as Bodega Bay Dungeness crab, avocado and blood orange salad, grilled prime filet of beef with mashed potatoes and crab Béarnaise, and Meyer lemon tart with persimmon and passion fruit cream
5700 Highway 116 North, Forestville, 707-887-3344, russianrivervineyards.com.