Located in the rustic Suisun Valley, Fairfield, California, is just a 45-minute drive from both Sacramento and San Francisco—making it super easy to visit. Being in such a lush, agriculturally rich part of the country, the stage is set for delicious, fresh meals, yummy local wines and jaunts to sunny vineyards when you make this your next vacay. Fairfield is the perfect low-key escape to wine country where you’ll also find top-notch meals and restaurants.
If you’re in the mood for a fun, stress-free getaway where you can enjoy the idyllic Northern California bounty and countryside, a long weekend in Fairfield is just what you need. I just returned from a rejuvenating trip there with my boyfriend, so please allow me to be your guide.
A true gem in Fairfield is the Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company, a family-owned spot dedicated to producing high-quality artisan olive oil. Here you can—and, in my opinion, must—do an olive oil and wine tasting. Because what is more wonderful than sipping beautiful wines and olive oils? Absolutely nothing; it was a truly fantastic experience. Then, follow in my footsteps by grabbing a bottle of wine and heading out back to sit in the garden among the olive trees, sipping the afternoon away.
Il Fiorello also teaches cooking classes on site, and they are an absolute pleasure. Any food lover will adore these classes. My boyfriend and I participated in the classic French regional cooking class on a Saturday morning, and we had a blast. We were greeted with delicious blueberry lavender shrub drinks when we arrived, made with Il Fiorello’s own blackberry balsamic vinegar reduction. After meeting our teachers and classmates on the beautiful estate, we moved into the kitchen where we learned to cook perfect French omelettes, niçoise salads and crepes Suzette. You get to use their olive oils in the recipes you cook, which is super fun! Both the olive oils and balsamic vinegars they make are fantastic; we ended up buying some of each to bring home with us.
Later that night, my boyfriend and I hopped around downtown Fairfield for a progressive dinner, starting at Crush Wine Bar. Wine lovers, you’re in for a treat here, as the owner features different wine specials nightly. After telling him what kind of wines we enjoy, he recommended a few for us based on our tastes. He selected a local white wine for me—Wooden Valley Winery’s Sauvignon blanc—and it hit the spot. This fruity wine is delightfully drinkable with notes of lemon and grapefruit. Since the wines change daily, you never know what unique wine might be waiting for you to discover! I recommend showing up early; members get preferential seating here.
After our wine time at Crush, we headed across the street to Million Thai for appetizers and Thai iced teas. Don’t miss the crispy chicken wings!
Next, we walked down the block to Rustwater Kitchen & Taproom for some solid comfort food. Rustwater is where you’ll find bomb burgers and bar food, as well as more than 30 California beers on tap. We kept it very simple (and very delicious) with chili cheese fries, a Polish dog, a double cheeseburger and a couple of local lagers from Heretic Brewing Company. Although we didn’t visit during football season, I thought to myself that this would be an awesome place to watch a game.
Satisfied by a delicious dinner at Rustwater, we then popped down to Evelyn’s Big Italian for dessert. We savored classic cannolis and tiramisu at a street-side table outside. Pro tip: Evelyn’s also serves great pizza. We indulged in a couple of late-night slices of pepperoni another night during our trip, and it was wonderful.
Still full from our big meal the night before, the next day we were ready for something light and fresh. Before visiting Larry’s Produce, I’d never seen so many fruits and veggies in one place! Aisles and aisles of massive bins of all different types of ripe fruits and vegetables line this enormous produce stand. Larry’s attracts visitors from all over the Bay Area with its low prices. People come to fill their wheelbarrows with its reasonably priced goods. We purchased some grapes and peaches for snacking, and they were so sweet, they tasted like candy.
The veggie tacos at the stand behind Larry’s were magical. Such fresh lettuce and tomato atop flavorful rice and beans made these some of the best veggie tacos I’ve ever had. They also serve all kinds of grilled meat options and an assortment of uber-delicious aguas frescas. A trip to the produce stand followed by lunch out back is a must when in Fairfield.
Dinner at Mankas Steakhouse definitely feels like a special occasion. It’s a beautiful restaurant with a fantastic patio. My boyfriend and I dined al fresco, and it was such a fun date night. What’s more romantic than wine and steaks in a beautiful setting?
The meal started with a burrata tomato salad sent from heaven. Up next, we devoured an incredibly flavorful bone marrow. The grand finale was a luxurious filet for me and a ribeye for him. The side of grits with candied jalapenos was just as fantastic as the steaks. We paired our fantastic beef with a bottle of Verdelho from Vezér Family Vineyard, right next door. To the disappointment of my taste buds, there was no room for dessert after a decadent meal like that. After dinner, I recommend heading across the street to check out the Suisun Valley Filling Station, an adorable tasting room with vintage touches.
Fairfield is a great off-the-beaten-path destination for any food and wine lover. This bountiful area is stunning, with rustic hillsides and breathtaking sunsets. Beautiful vineyards and farms are splattered throughout the rustic wine region. I loved being in the heart of it all—Fairfield is the perfect place to experience wine country without all the fuss!Grab a bite at Fairfield restaurants.