Click through the above gallery for photos of favorite dishes.
Cotati often gets short shrift when it comes to dining. With its blurred borders between Rohnert Park directly to the north and Penngrove to the southeast, outsiders may only notice a blink-and-its-gone exit along Highway 101.
If you take a closer look, however, not just at the main business district, but at busy shopping centers and quiet office districts around town, there’s plenty of great food to be found. That’s all the better for locals and intrepid wanderers, because this quaint community has something for just about everyone — from notable to unnoticed, middling to mind-blowing.
Once home to Miwok tribes, then Spanish colonizers, 19th-century agrarians and 20th-century small-town seekers, Cotati is fast becoming a hot spot for commuters who want open spaces and friendly faces.
Ready to get a taste of Cotati? Here are my favorites, locals’ favorites and everything else.
Did we miss a restaurant you love? Let us know.
My Top Picks
Acme Burger: Freshly ground meat and veggie burgers range from the simple to the spectacular at this family-friendly eatery. “Burger” is really a state of mind here, with a hard-to-pick-one lineup of Willie Bird turkey, plant-based burger, buttermilk-fried chicken, ahi tuna and Bodega rock cod sandwiched between soft sesame buns. 550 E. Cotati Ave., Cotati, 707-665-5620, acmeburgerco.com.
Down to Earth Cafe: This chef-driven menu is a BiteClub favorite. Don’t skip the Kennebec fries, beignets with whiskey sauce, swoon-worthy pickled beet and arugula salad, house-cured pastrami Reuben and larger entrees including beer-battered fish and chips, fried chicken and slow-braised short rib poutine with Pt. Reyes blue cheese. 8204 Old Redwood Hwy, 707-753-4925, dtecafe.com.
Lynn’s Thai: This beautifully crafted Thai cuisine is made with great ingredients and care. They have crazy-good pad thai, along with a lengthy menu of curries, soups and entrees. 8492 Gravenstein Hwy, Cotati, 707-793-9300, lynnthai.com.
Mike’s at the Crossroads: Everyone should experience this classic burger spot at least once. We recommend starting with the simple but wonderful Mike’s Burger, then venturing out to the Cotati Jam (with homemade bacon-onion jam) and their Franimal fries (an ode to Animal-Style fries at In-N-Out) with cheese, onions, lettuce and Thousand Island dressing. 7667 Old Redwood Hwy, Cotati, 707-665-9999, mikesatthecrossroads.com.
Spring Thai: These beautifully plated dishes come with tons of flavor. We especially love their fried spinach salad, curries, tom kha coconut soup and Sea Wolf Combo — a nicely priced entrée aimed at Sonoma State students. 538 E. Cotati Ave., 707-665-5180, springthai.net.
Superburger: This local burger chain makes hefty burgers grilled to order. I’m a huge fan of the Lahaina turkey burger with grilled pineapple, bacon, teriyaki glaze and Pepper Jack cheese. 8252 Old Redwood Hwy, 707-665-9790, superburger.com.
Tiny Thai: Tiny-but-mighty, this hole-in-the-wall cafe has giant flavors and well-crafted cuisine. 8238 Old Redwood Hwy, Cotati, 707-794-9404.
Wing Man: Wings is all they do, which makes them the gold standard in Sonoma County for wings. Choose from crispy bone-in, boneless and tempura cauliflower “wings.” Plus, they have house-made sauces (buffalo, green goddess, teriyaki, Carolina-style mustard sauce) and more than 60 different beers. 101 E. Cotati Ave., 707-794-9464, wingmanfoodtruck.com.
More Great Choices
Cafe Salsa: Find all the staples here of Mexican and American dishes from tacos and burritos to burgers and breakfast favorites. There’s something for everyone. 8230 Old Redwood Hwy, Cotati, 707-795-7068, cafesalsacotati.com.
Cape Cod Fish and Chips: Douse their first-rate fried cod and fries with malt vinegar for best results. 7530 Commerce Blvd., Suite C, Cotati, 707-792-0982.
China Chef: Here is where you go when you’re hungry for straightforward Chinese-American food. Phone orders only, 707-664-1088. 7991 Old Redwood Hwy, Suite 2B.
Jaded Toad: Barbecue and smoked meats are their best-known dishes, but burgers, teriyaki and sweet potato fries topped with pork belly are good bets, too. (Plus, Loco Moco and Chicken Katsu with macaroni salad if you’re craving Hawaiian fare). 500 E. Cotati Ave., Cotati, jadedtoad.com.
Mai Vietnamese: Solid Vietnamese pho, barbecue rice plates and noodle bowls. 8492 Gravenstein Hwy, #J, Cotati, 707-665-9628, maivietnamesecotati.com.
Marvin’s of Cotati: This old-school diner has a huge menu for breakfast and lunch, from omelets to burgers and patty melts. 7991 Old Redwood Hwy, 707-664-1720, marvinsofcotati.com.
Mi Ranchito: With an epic menu of Mexican classics, Mi Ranchito is great for families and celebrations. 7600 Commerce Blvd., Cotati, 707-795-7600, miranchitocotati.com.
Redwood Cafe: All-day brunch. Enough said. 8240 Old Redwood Hwy, Cotati, 707-795-7868, redwoodcafe.com.
Saigon Café: Find Vietnamese and Japanese favorites on this short but sweet menu. 548 E. Cotati Ave., Cotati, 707-664-5925 (left of Oliver’s Market).
Sal’s Pizza: The usual pizza suspects, plus calzones, eggplant parmigiana subs and wings. 8270 Old Redwood Hwy, Cotati, 707-664-8460, salsnewyorker.com.
Twins Restaurant: If you’re in Cotati early in the day, this place has you covered, with breakfast classics and comfort food lunches. 572 E. Cotati Ave., 707-242-3075, bit.ly/3lH44Vd.
Zaina’s Bellini Cafe: Bottomless mimosas and brunchy fare, plus Middle Eastern-style shawarma, gyros and falafel. 7981 Old Redwood Hwy, Cotati, 707-664-5956, bit.ly/315Z1nN.
Editor’s Note: Travel, dining and wine tasting can be complicated right now. Use our inspirational ideas to plan ahead for your next outing, be it this week or next year. If you visit restaurants, wineries, and other businesses during the pandemic, remember to call ahead, make reservations, wear a mask and social distance.