Choosing where to dine in Napa is no easy feat. So many restaurants and so little time… Napa has dining experiences that range from rustic and old-school to cutting edge, and the choices are all up to you. Here we’ve picked a variety of some of our favorites:
1) Deluxe, that’s Bouchon. This is a bistro that is actually true to the word. French dishes, inspired and tweaked by fresh, local food. If you’re a night owl, Bouchon offers a pleasant surprise—it’s open until 12:30 a.m., and you’ll often find people who work in other restaurants and area wineries dining here at that hour. Bouchon shines, as do many of the other restaurants in lovely Yountville.
2) Absolutely Superb, that’s the French Laundry. You cannot make a list of Napa restaurants without including the French Laundry. It has become a wine country legend – make reservations far in advance! California cuisine that is influenced by a French kitchen makes for a fantastic menu and dining experience. (The wine list is large and sublime.) Thomas Keller, owner, is considered to be one of the top chefs in the world. He is at the forefront of creativity and cooking. This restaurant is in a lovely old building in Yountville.
3) Quite Elegant, that’s Auberge du Soleil. The dining room is perched on a hillside and your view is that of rolling vineyards. Peaceful and sweet. The building is circular, and the lounge has a soaring skylight with cupola while the dining area has large beams and a wonderful open fireplace. Think romance… The menu changes with the seasons. (Make sure to try a few appetizers. They are unusual and pretty close to heavenly.) The menu is extraordinary, as is the wine list, and there are plenty of offerings for vegetarians. Be transported. Auberge du Soleil is in Rutherford.
4) A local Napa Valley favorite, that’s the restaurant at Triple S Ranch. In business for almost 50 years, the drive north of Calistoga and into the Sonoma eatery is truly a wine country delight. The dining room is a lovely barn, over 100-years old, and feels like a step back in time. The food is comfort food of the best sort. If you can’t bring yourself to leave after dining, play bocce ball or horseshoes and enjoy the ambience. Excellent food, legendary place. The Triple S Ranch is in Calistoga.
5) A Napa Favorite, that’s Mustard’s Grill. Before other fantastic restaurants arrived in Napa, there was Mustard’s. There still is. The bar is wood, the room is paneled and it’s a comfortable cross between cozy and quite modern. Mustard’s has a unique wood-burning grill and oven. It’s here that chefs prepare smoked duck, rabbit, steak and chops. But, their specialty is fresh grilled seafood. Mustard’s is a somewhat less-expensive way to enjoy the best of Napa dining without giving up an inch of taste. Mustard’s is in Yountville.
You cannot drive anywhere in Napa without running into a special place to eat. You may come upon a hidden gem where locals chat about vineyards and crops. You may get lucky and find yourself in one of the finest restaurants in the world because of a cancelled reservation. Take a chance and enjoy yourself. Napa restaurants always please!