The Dish

Dig into Sonoma Valley's vibrant culinary scene.

the girl (and guy) & the fig

Sondra & Jon 2014.. m. woolsey-12 copyOwner Sondra Bernstein and Executive Chef John Toulze have been cooking up incredible cuisine in Sonoma Valley for 18 years. Enough has been written about the food, so we thought we’d give you an insight into the people behind the amazing meals at the girl & the fig.

United in their passion for fresh, local ingredients, John and Sondra come to the girl & the fig via quite varied paths. John, believe it or not, is a completely self-taught chef. Raised in Northern California to a third generation French family, cooking has always been a big part of his life. In 1994, John went to work selling wine for Viansa. That’s where he met Sondra, and the idea for the girl & the fig started simmering.

gf2Sondra, with a degree in Photography from Philadelphia College of Art, embarked on a more traditional culinary path. She graduated from The Restaurant School, focusing on culinary and restaurant management. From there, she rose within the ranks at restaurants in Philadelphia before moving on to trendy spots in Los Angeles, including Alice’s Restaurant and Tavern On Main. Heading up to Sonoma Valley she became the Director of Operations for Viansa Winery and the rest, as they say, is history.

Together, Sondra and John have established a winning partnership. Of course, the food has always spoken for itself. The girl & the fig is widely celebrated for a seasonal menu featuring garden vegetables, herbs, and an abundance of creativity. The rustic Provencal-inspired cuisine, or as they like to say, “Country Food With A French Passion, allows earth’s true and natural flavors to shine.”

f5But there’s more to the girl & the fig than the food. Sondra and John share a belief that the dining experience should be a treat for all the senses. The staff should ensure you feel welcome and comfortable. Atmosphere is key, and at the girl and the fig you’re surrounded by original artwork and an old-town Sonoma feel of community. Perhaps Sondra puts it best when she compares the dining experience to a mixed media collage. Putting all the pieces together is something John and Sondra have certainly elevated to a high art form.

Learn more about the girl & the fig restaurant in Sonoma, along with their other offerings at