The 7 Best Restaurants in Calistoga

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Distinctive and unique, Calistoga sets itself apart from the rest of the Napa Valley as being the town filled with risk-taking young chefs like Matt and Sonjia Spector, and old staples, like Cafe Sarafornia, that keep the balance. You’ll likely be overdressed in anything beyond jeans, and the rustic nature of the town will make you regret having not packed your plaid button-down and cowboy boots. But don’t be deceived by Calistoga’s laid back attitude: they take food very seriously in this neck of the woods.

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Restaurants / Calistoga

Solbar - Solage Calistoga

In the world of hotel restaurants, SolBar gets it right. Chef Brandon Sharp (Gary Danko, French Laundry) oversees this Michelin Star restaurant where his presence can be felt morning, noon, and night at the beautiful Solage resort. It’s easy to get distracted by the tranquility and California feel of Solage, but if you can focus on the food for just a moment, you’ll be rewarded: SolBar boasts healthy, lighter fare next to what they refer to as “hearty cuisine” on both the lunch and dinner menu. Breakfast, though not as obvious, echoes the same sentiment by offering egg white omelettes, a gluten-free veggie skillet, and silky lemon ricotta pancakes. You’ll have to drive if you’re staying close to Main Street, but the scenic views along the Silverado trail will be well worth the 5 minutes in the car.

Insider Tip

Order the doughnuts at breakfast: they are homemade and well worth the extra calories.

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Restaurants / Calistoga

Evangeline

Twinkling lights and a charming Maitre’d will you greet you warmly before you even walk through the front door of Evangeline. Old world charm with a splash of Southern hospitality warms the heart almost as fast as their not-to-be-missed Tuesday night duck cassoulet warms the belly. Self proclaimed as a ”Casual French bistro with a Creole Soul,” bistro staples like steak frites are served alongside bayou adaptations like the cornmeal crusted po’ boy. You’ll love the coziness of the dining room, but if dining al fresco is more your style, a heated outdoor patio is an excellent choice as well.

Insider Tip

Do try to save room for the apple tarte tatin, classically prepared with vanilla ice cream.

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Restaurants / Calistoga

Brannan's Grill

Ask any local where to grab a bite in Calistoga and their list of recommendations will invariably include Brannan’s Grill. Brannan’s is a Calistoga staple with a stellar reputation for consistently delivering solid food: an easy-going attitude pairs with steakhouse classics like shrimp cocktail and steak tartare (though the octopus is a menu favorite). The steaks are delicious, but pork fans would be remiss to give the pork chops a pass. For a more casual affair, pop in for lunch when they offer a separate menu with more sandwich and salad options.

Insider Tip

Happy Hour, offered everyday from 3 to 6 p.m, includes light bar snacks like the popular mac and white cheddar cheese.

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Restaurants / Calistoga

JoLe

If your foodie palate is craving something exciting, consider the contemporary American cuisine and slightly Spanish flair of JoLe. There are a few ways to approach the farm-to-table menu: a la carte and tapas style are great options, but for a more enhanced dining experience, opt for the tasting menu to enjoy 4, 5, or 6 courses chosen by the kitchen. Vegetarians will love the wide array of options like brussels sprouts salad, braised endives, and an anything-but-boring version of avocado toast.

Insider Tip

Be sure to ask for the wine list, which is a thoughtful and well-curated selection of both domestic and international selections at very reasonable prices by the glass or bottle.

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Restaurants / Calistoga

Sam’s Social Club

Echoing the sentiments of the newly renovated Indian Springs Resort where it resides, Sam’s Social Club is just as communal as it sounds—you’ll often see guests of the spa and hotel lounging around in their robes, cocktail in hand, so take note and follow suit. The fire pit and lounge seating will immediately entice you to relax with a glass of wine, and tempt with snack offerings like deviled eggs or fried green tomatoes

Insider Tip

Grab a seat outside in the covered section on the lawn and watch the sunset with a glass of wine: the views are spectacular.

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Restaurants / Calistoga

Buster's Southern BBQ

The down-home, authentic Louisiana-style barbecue at Buster’s Southern BBQ & Bakery will make you forget you’re in northern California. Leave your cocktail attire at home: this place is as casual as it gets, and the ribs can get messy. It’s difficult to say which of the entrees is superior, but the majority tend to go with the pork ribs or tri tip.

Insider Tip

Beer and wine options are limited, but they do let you bring your own or take the food to go. Either way, this food loves to be paired with a delicious liquid, whatever that means be to you.

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Restaurants / Calistoga

Cafe Sarafornia

Cafe Sarafornia operates with a no attitude, and no frills: just good food. Don’t be surprised if you find at this eggs-and-bacon greasy spoon every morning for breakfast: there’s a reason this diner’s been around since the 1890s, serving food to locals and tourists alike at very reasonable prices. For gluten-free guests there are plenty of options, and gluten-free toast is available upon request.

Insider Tip

It can get quite busy here with lines out the door, but you might be able to snag a seat at the counter for a more authentic experience and swifter service.

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