Wine Spectator:
Sonoma: History, Diversity and Down-Home Culture


“Layla, at the historic MacArthur Place Hotel (see page 72), has big boots to fill. Last year, as part of a propertywide renovation, the on-site Saddles steakhouse, a longtime local favorite, was replaced by this bright, airy spot. Layla has been a fresh addition to the dining scene since opening in May 2019. The contemporary menu embraces regional Mediterranean cuisines, a theme that’s relatively uncommon in the area. Recent dishes, designed for sharing, include octopus with eggplant caviar and preserved lemon, patatas bravas with smoked paprika tomato jam, and lamb alla vaccinara (a traditional Roman stew that typically uses oxtail) atop semolina gnocchi and wild mushrooms. Larger items such as sea bass for two, and 8-, 14- and 16-ounce cuts of steak round out the choices. The sophisticated fare is paired with innovative cocktails and a reasonably
priced wine list, which leans on local offerings such as Sojourn Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2017 ($58), plus a good number of collectible Cabernets, including Dunn, Opus One and Scarecrow.”

MacArthur Place Hotel

“Set on 6 acres of beautifully manicured gardens a few blocks from the Sonoma plaza, this charming inn provides a romantic getaway to wine country. Victorian-style buildings are spread across the property, including the Burris House, the original 10-room residence built in the 1860s by miner and rancher David Burris. The property was updated in 2019 to elevate its already refined accommodations; the redesigned rooms and suites are light and airy, with custom furniture and neutral tones warmed by richly textured fabrics, and they offer a range of amenities such as fireplaces, private patios or decks, and outdoor showers. There are also two roomy private cottages. Boxes of cookies and skincare masks are provided at turndown. The inn’s restaurant, Layla, serves Mediterranean-inspired dishes (see page 66), while a chic bar and lounge offer more casual fare.”

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