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“Fantastic food, but ridiculous wine list”

Sante at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn
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Ranked #15 of 123 Restaurants in Sonoma
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $40 - $60
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Business meetings, Local cuisine, Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Free Wifi, Full Bar, Parking Available, Private Dining, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Valet Parking, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Description: Sante Restaurant is the Inn's premier dining room and has earned a national reputation for its outstanding food. Recipient of a prestigious Michelin Star as well as the AAA Four Diamond Award, Sante is the only restaurant in the Sonoma Valley to receive these accolades. Conde Nast Traveler said 'it's worth a special trip just to eat here' and Gourmet Magazine calls the food 'the best of the new Wine Country style.' Only the freshest local produce, meats, poultry and seafood are used to create elegantly simple dishes that let the natural flavors of the food speak for themselves. A wine list, honored with Wine Spectator's 'Award of Excellence' features over 500 Sonoma and Napa wines. *Sante' will offer Grand Buffet's only for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Please call restaurant for further details.
Scarsdale, New York
Level Contributor
46 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Fantastic food, but ridiculous wine list”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 25, 2013

This is a formidable restaurant. The food was fantastic--certainly worth a Michelin star (which it had, or has).

But one quibble--not minor--is that the wine list was ridiculous. It came on an electronic tablet, that was hard to manipulate. And with the tablet came a sommelier standing over us and giving us the hard sell on wines in the $200+ range. And, as best as I could tell, there were no wines below $70 a bottle, and no more than a handful (both red and white) below $100. Maybe this is standard for highbrow California wine country establishments, but the wine list at a comparable restaurant in New York City would offer more choices, with at least a few at more moderate price points, without the high pressure sales tactics.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Eric_Hemel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fairmont S, Guest Relations Manager at Sante at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, responded to this review, October 28, 2013
Dear Eric_Hemel, Thank you for your post. We are delighted you so enjoyed the cuisine at Santé. We do apologize for any disappointment with our wine list, sommelier service or Ipad menu. We do have some wines under $70 and we use the Ipad menu because it links to detailed information about the wines, wine history, etc. to give our guests detailed information to read about wines they are ordering. Our sommeliers are also there to share expert information and offer pairing recommendations, and I am sorry you felt pressured into any purchase as that is never our intention. Thank you for bringing this to our attention, so we may refine our services even further. We do hope to welcome you back to our Michelin-rated restaurant again. Best regards, Guest Service Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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265 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Japanese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Concord, NC
Level Contributor
93 reviews
36 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 111 helpful votes
“Overall it was very nice”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 19, 2013

I arranged to have dinner here with my wife for her birthday upon the recommendation of friends who had eaten at Sante. We arrived 5 minutes prior to our reservation and were told they were not ready for us, so we treated ourselves to a self guided tour of the lobby. When our reservation time arrived a gentleman approached us and told us they were ready to seat us. I had selected outdoor seating because of the great weather. The wait staff was exceptional. We elected to order off the menu as opposed to tasting menu but asked for paired wines. The wine selections were excellent. The food was well prepared and presentations were very nice. So why not rate the restaurant excellent instead of very good? The restaurant has a dress code of "wine country casual". My take on this dress code would be something like slacks and a collared shirt as a minimum. We elected to dress up a bit for the occasion. However a gentleman was seated right next to us wearing torn blue jeans and a dirty white undershirt with holes in it. This seemed far too casual for me and degraded the overall birthday dinner experience.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank NC_Hiker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fairmont S, Guest Relations Manager at Sante at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, responded to this review, October 21, 2013
Dear NC_Hiker, Thank you for choosing Santé for your wife’s birthday celebration. We were delighted to read how you enjoyed the cuisine, wine pairings, service and patio seating with great weather. I apologize for any concerns with the dress code. We do hope to welcome you back for another memorable meal in the near future. Best regards, Guest Service Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, CA
Level Contributor
31 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Brilliant! Our large banquet group was thrilled”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 8, 2013

The reward--let's say our "graduation" at the end of an intense week-long photo workshop in the wine country was a dinner for 18 at Sante at the Fairmont in Sonoma. Our students flew in from all over the US and after crawling on our bellies to get the right shot in vineyards, it was so nice to dress up for the elegant and newly remodeled hotel and restaurant.
The Sante restaurant and the hotel staff went way above the call of duty when we asked for 18 wine glasses and wine for an impromput class photo just outside the hotel. I think it was Amy on the staff who helped us choose just the right location and our instructor, Joe Baraban, was so pleased.
We had cocktails in this gorgeous alcove lined with backlit wine bottles and then proceeded to our three-course tasting menu. With each course the sommelier came in and explained the wine we were tasting. And the selections were perfect from the most vegetarian to the dedicated carnivores amongst us. Service was elegant and flowing. The adult mac and cheese was absolutely sinful. The fish was delicate and light (so I felt a bit less guilty).
Booking this event with Arun Mali, the F and B Manager was so easy that I kept worrying that I had left something out. But it all came together effortlessly and the Sonoma Mission Inn made us feel welcome and respected from beginning to end.
The room was done in muted gray tones and looked over the swimming pool. We had it to ourselves which allowed us the luxury of cross-table conversations.
Truly a night to remember.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank technokitty16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fairmont S, Guest Relations Manager at Sante at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, responded to this review, October 10, 2013
Dear Technokitty16, Thank for taking the time to post the details of your special, post-photo shoot celebration in Santé. It was truly our pleasure to ensure this was a “night to remember” for your group. We hope to welcome you back again and again for many more special celebrations. Best regards, Guest Service Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
126 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Fantastic tapas”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 7, 2013

Great offering of Californian wine and also world alternatives. Tapas were very well served, fantastic presentation and a lot of options.
I have had dinner in the bar where atmosphere was outstanding. Staff is very friendly and customer focused.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Gabriel P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fairmont S, Guest Relations Manager at Sante at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, responded to this review, October 9, 2013
Dear rjpepe, Thank you for your “fantastic” review. We are thrilled to read how much you enjoyed our brand new bar venue, 38°North. Thank you for choosing Santé (and 38°North) at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa. Best regards, Guest Service Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
26 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Excellent experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 21, 2013 via mobile

This is an exceptional experience. Sat outside on a coolish end of summer evening, but heater nearby kept us toasty. We had the tasting menu with the wine pairings and everything we ate was delicious. Absolute favorite was the 1st course risotto - not to be missed. The Niman Beef Trio is also a delectable and the duck (particularly the confit) was perfect. The pace was good with the right amount of time between courses. We loved this restaurant!

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank Vanderal1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fairmont S, Guest Relations Manager at Sante at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, responded to this review, September 23, 2013
Dear Valued Guest, Thank you for your review. We are thrilled that you chose to wrap up summer with a wonderful meal on the Santé Patio. We hope to see you again soon. Warm regards, Guest Service Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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