El Molino Central

Popular stand emphasizes flavorful ingredients and authentic cooking methods.  

Mexican food options in Sonoma run the gamut from food trucks and shacks to festive sit-down spots. With its retro exterior and lean-to dining area and uncovered picnic tables, El Molino Central splits the difference decor wise and tops its competitors with subtly spiced, carefully crafted cuisine. Meals at this celebrated taco stand cost more than at most area Mexican restaurants, but dining here or ordering to go is always a pleasure.

Casual outdoor eating area behind restaurant.

Authentic Cooking Methods

Flavorful ingredients and authentic cooking methods are the emphases here. Tortillas, for instance, are made from organic dried masa (corn) flour ground daily. The beer-batter fish tacos, chicken mole enchiladas, pozole rojo (hominy pork stew), and several tamales are perennial customer favorites.

El Molino Central emphasizes flavorful ingredients and authentic cooking methods.

All the Right Notes

The chicken tamale with mole poblano sauce, cooked in a banana leaf and served with pickled vegetable relish, hits all the right notes, as so many plates here do. The soft, moist dough bursts with corn flavor, and the mole sauce provides sweet, savory, and spicy accents. It’s all in perfect proportion, and none of this smothers the chicken. As with the other meats and fish, the chicken comes from top, mostly local producers. Another noteworthy tamale contains chard, pumpkin seeds, a hard-boiled egg, black beans, and salsa habanero.

Info

11 Central Ave., Sonoma/Boyes Hot Springs 95416

The wines and beers on the short list are well selected.

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This story originally appeared online in 2017; it was fact-checked and updated in mid-2020.

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