The Best Stop-Spots Between SF and Mendocino Co

The Best Stop-Spots Between SF and Mendocino Co

How To Stay Fed, Watered, and Caffeinated on the Trip

We’ve all been there: the late flight, the early flight, the Bay Area appointment, the … something that has us driving on Highway 101 and thinking only about where to stop for something to eat or drink. Word of Mouth has you covered. This collection of spots are some of our personal faves that raise the bar on flavor, value, or just plain convenience. Enjoy!

Plank Coffee
Where: 227 N Cloverdale Blvd, Cloverdale
What: Plank is my favorite stop in Cloverdale for a fantastic americano, a delicious shrub of the day, or a choice of yummy gluten-free (or regular) confections created by the Flour Girl (who also has a pop-up shop in Cloverdale). The service is always friendly, the ambience is great, with both tables and comfy chairs, and they have a few local-interest books for sale. Great stop before or after traversing the winding curves of Highway 128. – Dawn

Diavola Pizzeria and Salumeria
Where: 21021 Geyserville Ave, Geyserville
What: Diavola, right off of Highway 101, is a delightful stop after a long day, particularly when it starts with a trip next door to Locals Tasting Room, where you can buy a bottle to enjoy with your Diavola fare. The environment is warm and happy, no doubt in part because the menu is so satisfying, with pizza as tasty as it comes, house-cured meats, a reliance on local sources, and the thin, crispy breadsticks that point heavenward on each table. I’m hungry just thinking about it. – Anna

Where: 48 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg (of course!)
What: There are lots of great options for a meal in Healdsburg, yet if you’re looking for something casual but good—as I often am when I’m in the midst of our epic drive north or south—Healdsburger is an easy choice. They’re big on the burgers, it’s true, with a range of options so interesting that it would take a good while to get through all of them (Lamb Burger with Feta and Grilled Onions, anyone? A Cajun Cheeseburger with jalapenos, perhaps?), yet there are also sandwiches, hot dogs, and salads available, including a few vegetarian choices. Don’t forget to grab a milkshake—Chocolate Peanut Butter calls my name—before choosing one of the small tables indoors or from the spots available on the patio. – Anna

SEA Noodle
Where: 286 Coddingtown Center, Santa Rosa
What: This Thai fusion restaurant is my go-to when passing through Santa Rosa. Chicken coconut noodle soup with extra vegetables is so rich and flavorful that it keeps me coming back. Plus, their craft mocktails like the Lychee Iced Tea let me imbibe without getting tipsy. – Holly

Crooks Coffee
Where: 404 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa
What: This family-owned coffee shop was a lovely discovery one early morning on the way to the airport. Crooks offers a light food menu for breakfast or lunch and a range of hot drinks, including temptations such as a Lavender Rose Latte and a Crème Brûlée Hot Chocolate. Open at 5:30 a.m. during the week and until 11:00 p.m. on weekends means this is a great stop for stretching your legs and breaking up that long drive, regardless of the time of day. – Anna

Hana Japanese Restaurant
Where: 101 Golf Course Dr, Rohnert Park
What: When I want to treat myself on the drive between Mendocino County and the Bay Area, I head to Hana, which offers incredible food and an atmosphere that belies its nondescript exterior. The sushi is always fresh, and it’s usually possible to get a seat that allows you to watch the chefs at work. There’s also a strong wine list and clear guidance on the sake that might suit you best (if you’re not the driver, of course!). Don’t forget to make a pit stop before you get back on the road, as the bathroom is sure to soothe the weariest. – Anna

Amy’s Drive Through
Where: 58 Golf Course Dr W, Rohnert Park
What: With delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner designed for those interested in conscious eating, Amy’s menu offers vegetarian and vegan spins on classic fast food as well as options such as salads and chili. Almost everything is organic, and when it’s not, they’ll make sure you know that before you order. I often go for a veggie burger with spicy sauce, fries, and a milkshake, happily knowing I’ve eaten well at this quick, inexpensive, and always-satisfying favorite. – Anna

Café Zazzle
Where: 121 Kentucky St, Petaluma
What: Open ‘til 9:00pm, this is one of those places where everything on the menu is so good it is hard to choose. Voted Best Restaurant in Sonoma County by two different publications, the menu is diverse. The fish tacos come blackened, with melted cheese between the two tortillas, and are topped with fresh coleslaw and a creamy chipotle sauce. Accompanied by rice and beans, this is a delicious value. The peanut sauce noodles are also great! See? It’s hard to choose. – Holly

Bel Campo Restaurant & Butcher Shop
Where: 2405 Larkspur Landing Cir, Larkspur
What: Bel Campo serves up hearty, carnivore-pleasing dishes spotlighting the high quality meat they raise on their farm near Mt. Shasta. My husband usually goes for their succulent burger, while I’m partial to the bacon Caesar salad, always with a side of sweet potato fries dipped in house-made ketchup. A relaxed café vibe that’s walking the walk (and, speaking of walking, just steps from the Larkspur ferry terminal), it’s a delicious way to kick off a trip to the city. – Torrey