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The Best Restaurant in Sonoma You've Never Heard Of

Photo courtesy of Restaurant Rudy

It's easy to walk right past Restaurant Rudy on Broadway in Sonoma and not think much of it — the understated dining room gives you very little idea about what to expect. But to do so would be a mistake, because it's what is happening in the back of the restaurant that's the real attraction.

Chef Rudy Mihal is, perhaps, Sonoma's best kept secret. The San Francisco native has spent the last decade working in some of the best kitchens in the world —Daniel Boulud, Gramercy Tavern (under Tom Colicchio) and with Michael White at the three-Michelin-starred San Domenico in Emilia-Romagna. He later opened White's Fiama in New York and Cafe Boulud in Palm Beach before heading back west to accept a head chef position at San Francisco's Zuppa. Most recently, Mihal has come off a successful opening as the executive chef for Healdsburg's Spoonbar (Mihal tells Sonoma's Index-Tribune “Openings are a walk in the park, for me").

Now, the chef has decided it is time to strike out on his own. His eponymous restaurant opened quietly last fall, just a block south of Sonoma's plaza.

His menu is autobiographical, filled with some of the best things he has learned to do along the way— the tender, chewy, creamy tortelli harkens to his days in Bologna and the classic French terrine he mastered while at Boulud. But he is certainly enjoying the abundance of produce to be found in Sonoma as well: The chicory salad was made memorable by a thin-as-glass dehydrated persimmon chip.

Mihal will start serving fried chicken dinners on Wednesday (with greens and dessert for $20) that look incredible and has recently started serving lunch and brunch as well.

Restaurant Rudy, 522 Broadway in Sonoma, 707-938-7373