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Cheap Eats: Fremont Diner

Road food gets an upgrade.

Sonoma
If Alice Waters had had her culinary awakening in Baton Rouge instead of Brittany, she might have created a restaurant like the Fremont Diner. Located off the Carneros Highway south of Sonoma, the country-casual spot serves a menu of Southern-fried American classics with ingredients exuberantly sourced from local farms, ranches, waters, and wineries. Order at one of the unfinished farmhouse tables, or grab a stool at the tidy counter in front of the kitchen and watch the bacon sizzle and the oysters fry. To handle weekend crowds, there’s ample outdoor seating at shaded picnic benches. The not unpleasant tangy aroma of a nearby dairy scents the air. Behind the restaurant, a chicken pasture and vegetable gardens give way to rolling vineyards. Breakfast options include black pepper brisket hash, a Hangtown fry, and excellent biscuits and gravy. Lunch means a Reuben sandwich with housecured pastrami; chicken and waffles; or a chubby, blue-ribbon burger. There are cakes and pies, of course, but the milkshakes, with flavors like salted caramel, Ovaltine, and horchata, steal the show. Portions are hearty, but don’t worry if you can’t finish. The pigs out back will eat what you don’t.

2698 FREMONT DR. (BET. KNOB HILL RD. AND CARNEROS HWY.), 707-938-7370 $ W ★★

Our review policy: To ensure that we get a typical consumer’s experience in a restaurant, our writers dine anonymously; all expenses are paid by the magazine. Reviews are pulled from our listings two years after the review date or any time personnel changes at a restaurant render a review invalid. Our admittedly imperfect star ratings are based on food quality, variety, service, ambience, and value. 

Staff reviewers and contributors to our restaurant guide include John Birdsall, Susan Bryan, Stett Holbrook, Rachel Levin, Jan Newberry, Josh Sens, and Lisa Trottier.

Prices:
Average price of an entrée:
$ = $10 or less
$$ = $11–17
$$$ = $18–24
$$$$ = $25 or more

Symbols:
D = Dinner only
R = Reservation required/recommended
C = Cash only
V = Valet parking
W = Wheelchair accessible

Ratings:
★★★★ = superlative
★★★ = excellent
★★ = very good
★ = good