Recently, our merry band of diners decided to enjoy a fun night out in gorgeous downtown Walnut Creek. Sunol Ridge Restaurant and Bar came highly recommended so we thought we’d go and check it out. Before visiting, I knew nothing about the restaurant or menu so I went with an open mind and a hungry tummy.

Entering the restaurant you really get the impression of a hip, trendy place. The decor is interesting. The walls in the bar are dressed in mirror background with wood strips on top of it creating a striped effect. The ceiling has an interesting geometric wood design which reminded me of different styles and shapes of pallets which contrasted with the round lighting fixtures. The bar itself has a coating of cowhide strips that are used like wallpaper, and the bar stools are chrome with a neutral leather seat. On the other side of the bar, there are low modern sofas with colorful contemporary fabric. All summed up, the place definitely has a unique style all of its own. Rustic with a modern/contemporary twist maybe?

I have to say this right now, our server was beyond awesome. She had the cutest personality and we all really enjoyed her. She was effortless in her outstanding service and I doubt there is one more thing that she could have done to make our evening more enjoyable. Great service trumps everything else. In my book, great service makes up for any little mistakes that are made in the kitchen, or on the bill. But guess what? Her great service didn’t have to make up for anything. It was all fantastic!

We started off our dinner with glasses of wine. I started off the night with a glass of their Vasco Urbano 2012 “The Sherif” GSM. I really enjoyed this sip. Silky smooth in the mouth, with a gorgeous richness of dark fruits and a hint of smoke. It got a big thumbs up from me. The Brit ordered a glass of the 2014 Tierra Devina Terra Rossa Malbec. I had a taste of his wine and it was true to form for a Malbec. It had a medium body in the mouth with good fruit flavors and a nice spicy finish. We both liked it a lot. Both of the wines we selected were perfect pairings for food.

One of our guests ordered a glass of the Caratelli 2013 Rose Grenache. She tends to like sweeter profile wines, so that was our best guess from the menu choices of something that she would enjoy. The wine didn’t end up being at all sweet, but she was able to enjoy the soft floral and vanilla notes in her glass. It ended up to be a win despite its lack of sweetness for her.

To start we decided to order one dish between the four of us to share. We selected the fried green tomatoes. I have to say that I was a little surprised as to how they were served. When I have eaten this dish in the past, it has always been slices of the green tomatoes battered and then fried. The chef, in this case, had cut the tomatoes into wedges and then battered and fried them. They were outstanding. You could hear the sounds of pleasure from our table as we ate them hungrily. The spicy basil ranch dipping sauce that was served with them on the side was so good I could have just eaten it alone with a spoon. I would highly recommend this as an appetizer.

We then ordered a selection of plates between us. Bacon wrapped pork tenderloin, Worcestershire braised beef cheeks, Tapioca-crusted snapper, and Sunfed ranch burger. It was me who ordered the burger. Everyone else took all of the dishes I was drooling over. In the end, I decided it would be good to have the contrast to all of the more gourmet dishes and see how simple worked in this place.

When our plates arrived, we were all impressed. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you which of the dishes I enjoyed eating more. My burger was delicious, cooked perfectly and beautifully seasoned. The cheese on it had both good melt and a nice flavor which was a great addition to the meaty goodness of the beef. Anyone who enjoys a good burger, this is a really well-executed version. They kept it simple and easy and didn’t try to get fancy with it. The fries were tasty and well seasoned. I enjoyed my plate.

The beef cheeks were wonderful. Actually, they tasted nearly identical to those I had tried in The Czech Republic and Poland a few months ago. They had that deep rich gravy flavor and the tender melt in your mouth meat which were highlighted by the creamy mashed potatoes. The combination made this dish a winner. I loved how the broccolini, onions, and carrots were cooked and that they added a contrast to the rich dish.

The Tapioca-crusted snapper was a joy in the mouth. It was texturally interesting plus packed with flavor. Our guest who orders fish because she feels that she “ought to” rather than enjoying it, raved about it. The rice cake was particularly interesting and I loved the cook of the veggies. I would absolutely order this dish on my next visit.

The last dish was The Brit’s. The bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin was simply: Crazy good! All of the flavors, the apple, the tenderness of the pork and the saltiness of the bacon were in absolute harmony. The pork was cooked beautifully and you could see the juices running down the plate. I thought the au jus and the veggie hash was a great complement to the rest of the flavors. I loved this dish.

As we were all enjoying ourselves and we could blame the blog, we decided that we would share two desserts between the four of us. We selected the Chocolate Mousse and two sorbets. They came plated together on a huge slate slab. The mousse had a light texture with tons of chocolate flavor. It had been drizzled with a raspberry coulis and accented with fresh raspberries. It was delicious. The mango and strawberry sorbets were both great, but the mango was the unanimous favorite. It had such amazing and bold flavor that the strawberry seemed to pale in comparison. Almond flavored meringue twists were served with our dessert. Sometimes meringue can get hard and have an uninteresting flavor. These, however, were light, crispy and not overly sweet. I loved the addition of the almond flavor. It kept them from being boring. The meringue also complimented both the mousse and sorbet in flavor and added wonderful texture.

It was a fantastic meal and we all really enjoyed everything about it. This restaurant goes on our highly recommend list. Thank you to the staff and the chef, for such a great experience.


  1. Richard B Young Reply

    You did not mention that in addition to the great food and wines, Sunol Ridge has 38 taps for craft beer lovers. The beers are rotated regularly so there is a big chance of tasting new and different brews. Great place to be all around!

    • California Girl Reply

      Hi Richard!

      You are right, we didn’t mention the beer! Our group didn’t drink any beer on this occasion, so we didn’t comment on it. Since The Brit is a lover of fine beers, we will make a separate posting about that. Is that fair? Not that I am not dying to go back and eat more of those fried green tomatoes or anything! Thanks for commenting and giving us a new idea!

  2. Michelle Perlick Reply

    Nice review. I think it’s worth mentioning that the Chef’s name is Evan Perlick the man in the photo is his Sous chef Joe. Just making sure the proper credit is given.

    • California Girl Reply

      Michelle, thank you for your comment. Actually, I wasn’t given the name of the chef. He simply came to the table and set down our dessert. I was under the impression that he was the chef. I snapped a really fast picture of him. Thank you for correcting us.

  3. Concerned Fan Reply

    Since we’re giving credit where it’s due, I’d like to point out that Chef Joe is the Chef De Cuisine, second in command to the Head Chef, not a sous chef. While we’re handing out credit, I’d like to also point out that Christine was your amazing waitress, Mario made your fried green tomatoes as well as your exquisite burger. Jose made the pork dish, Hector made your red snapper, and Chef Joe made your beef cheek. Sara is the pastry chef and was thrilled to hear you loved her meringue cookies and chocolate mousse. Sunol Ridge has all around excellent staff, who care about making great food, and all deserve recognition.
    Thank you for writing this glowing review!
    -a loyal customer.

    • California Girl Reply

      Thank you so very much for pointing out all of the great people who made our meal outstanding. They all deserve the highest praise indeed. If you look at our other reviews, you will notice that we are honest in our appraisals. Even when the restaurant isn’t so great. It’s also important to note that we usually review places without notifying the restaurant at all. We show up, eat the food, experience it like everyone else. We also pay for our food ourselves. Usually, we don’t get to meet the chefs or the staff, so we don’t tend to name them personally. It was cutie Christine who noticed my camera and alerted the management that night. They were all sweet.

      Again, thank you for pointing out all of the superstars who deserve our thanks at Sunol Ridge. I hope this gives you some insight. Keep reading us, and see where our adventures take us!

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