15 Best Restaurants in Napa Valley

  • Food
  • by SUSAN WILLIAMS
  • on JANUARY 30, 2019
  • 92707
  • 3
Courtesy of Facebook: The Restaurant at CIA Copia
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Given the natural affinity of food and wine, along with exceptional growing conditions throughout the valley, it’s no wonder culinary gardens are becoming as common as wine lists and Michelin stars in many of Napa Valley‘s best restaurants. These days, whether chefs are taking inspiration from the shores of San Sebastian or the tip of Italy’s boot, Napa’s most popular restaurants reflect a shared reverence for local produce and a movement toward a more approachable, farm-driven experience than the fine dining trend of years past.

For a culinary taste of Napa terroir, here are our picks for the 15 best restaurants in Napa Valley for eating local.

WINE COUNTRY CASUAL

Wine Country Roadhouse

The Boon Fly Café

Courtesy of Carneros Resort and Spa

Sitting front and center inside Napa Valley’s modern luxury inn, Carneros Resort and Spa, The Boon Fly Café draws resort guests, locals, and foodies alike with its comforting, but polished, Wine Country cuisine. Serving hearty breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with weekend brunch, this modern roadhouse is a casual alternative to the resort’s fine dining restaurant, FARM at Carneros.

Insider Tip:

Fans of fried chicken and donuts shouldn’t miss the Thursday night special when they’re together at last under a mouthwatering drizzle of Browned Butter Syrup.

4048 Sonoma Highway, Napa, CA 94559, (707) 299-4870

Indulgent Food & Drink

Goose & Gander

Courtesy of Napa Wine Tours

This casual gastropub in downtown St. Helena offers classic American fare with homey, Wine Country extras. Nosh on local cheese and charcuterie boards, add a side of duck fat fries to your meal, or to really indulge, top your G & G burger with a duck egg or bone marrow. Whether you dine outside in the charming courtyard or tuck into the dark and cozy basement bar, you won’t have any trouble finding the perfect drink with the restaurant’s extensive list of local wines by the glass and by the bottle.

Insider Tip:

The restaurant’s award-winning bar program features 35 signature cocktails.

1245 Spring Street, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 967-8779

Local Italian

Ciccio

Courtesy of Vintopia

Owned by local wine producers, Ciccio embodies both the heart and heritage of Napa Valley. This family-owned Italian spot in Yountville brings together the best of what’s growing at their winery and shares it simply and intentionally, without fuss or pretense. Alongside their house rosé, white, and red blends, this casual, welcoming eatery offers a pared down menu that changes every few days, featuring handmade pastas, chewy, wood-fired pizzas, and organic garden greens. Unless your party books the prix fixe Chef’s dinner, be prepared to wait as this seasonally-inspired gem is walk-in only.

Insider Tip:

The restaurant has a full Negroni bar with seven variations to sample.

6770 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599, (707) 945-1000

Tapas & Bar Scene

La Taberna

Courtesy of La Taberna

Taking cues from the tapas bars of Northern Spain (and filling a void in Wine Country’s classic dining scene), La Taberna is the place to go for both a quick, impromptu bite or a lingering meal full of Basque-inspired specialties. Located in downtown Napa, this convivial restaurant’s chalkboard menu changes nightly, featuring small plate items such as squid a la plancha, patatas bravas, and mouthwatering bocadillo and empanada offerings highlighting local produce.

Insider Tip:

Whether you come for the food or for the lively bar — one of the better bar scenes in Napa Valley — be sure to try a Spanish sherry or two from the extensive fortified wine list.

815 Main Street, Napa, CA 94559, (707) 224-5551

Locals’ Favorite Pie

Redd Wood

Dining room at Redd Wood, Courtesy of Moana Restaurant Group

For a satisfying interlude between wine tastings, or a low-key lunch or dinner, Yountville’s popular osteria, Redd Wood, by Michelin-starred Chef Richard Reddington, is a solid choice. This locals’ favorite offers cleanly-executed Italian fare, like blistered wood-fired pizzas, housemade cured meats, and fresh pastas, in a friendly, upscale setting.

Insider Tip:

Dine at the bar and you might find yourself sitting next to one of Napa Valley’s famous chefs or vintners.

6755 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599, (707) 299-5030

MID-RANGE

Napa-Style Comfort Food

Ad Hoc

Dining room at Ad Hoc, Courtesy of Thomas Keller Restaurant Group

For a more casual taste of the famed French Laundry Chef Thomas Keller’s cooking, (and a much easier reservation in Yountville to book), Ad Hoc offers an approachable dining experience centered around American comfort food. Inspired by the chef’s childhood, the nostalgic eatery creates a fresh, new four-course menu daily, served family style, featuring produce from Keller’s extensive gardens. The restaurant’s wine list follows a similar theme, featuring more accessible bottles and great value.

Insider Tip:

For a special event, the Ad Hoc team offers customized events in their private dining room, as well as offsite catering throughout Napa Valley.

6476 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599, (707) 944-2487

Sleek Winery Restaurant

Brasswood Bar + Kitchen

Courtesy of Facebook: Brasswood Napa Valley

Located just north of St. Helena, Brasswood is a one-stop shop for an unparalleled food and wine experience celebrating all the finer things. Next to the state-of-the-art winery, event spaces, bottle shop, and bakery, Brasswood Bar + Kitchen offers elevated American comfort food for lunch and dinner daily, including menu items like raw oysters, Dungeness crab cakes, and duck risotto.

Insider Tip:

Explore the full spectrum of Brasswood’s food and wine experience by booking one of their four unique wine tastings for before or after your meal.

3111 St. Helena Highway, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 302-5101

Elemental Napa

The Charter Oak

Courtesy of The Charter Oak

Behind the handsome brick facade on the southern end of St. Helena, sits The Charter Oak, a newer, more casual venture by Meadowood’s three Michelin-starred Chef Christopher Kostow. A study in simplicity, this Napa restaurant focuses on elemental, farm-inspired dishes featuring just a handful of ingredients, largely sourced from the restaurant’s 2.5-acre culinary garden. The menu centers around hearth-cooked vegetables and grilled meats, along with assorted grain dishes and basic, but deftly executed, starters like farm eggs with local olive oil and sea salt.

Insider Tip:

The restaurant offers five different private event spaces for gatherings of all sizes, including weddings and receptions.

1050 Charter Oak Avenue, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 302-6996

Top Chef Dining

The Restaurant at CIA Copia

Dining room at CIA Copia, Courtesy of Riggs Distributing

Experience a taste of the world-renowned Culinary Institute of America at the school’s newest food, wine, and art locale in downtown Napa. Situated on the bottom floor of the foodie complex, The Restaurant at CIA Copia serves a rotating selection of seasonally-driven menu options from its open kitchen, where guests get an up-close glimpse of the chef’s process, from mis en place to master knife skills and expert plating.

Insider Tip:

After dining, channel your inner chef and shop for gourmet ingredients from Napa Valley’s best purveyors at the bustling Oxbow Public Market just steps away from the CIA Copia. Or, become a chef in your own right by taking one of the many hands-on and demonstration cooking classes offered at CIA Copia, covering everything from how to make cheese to homemade dumplings and celebration-worthy cakes.

500 First Street, Napa, CA 94559, (707) 967-2555

Affordable Fine Feasting

TORC

Dinner at TORC, Courtesy of Andy Berry

For those seeking premium ingredients, masterfully composed, only without the high price tag often found throughout Napa Valley, TORC is the reservation to secure. Located in downtown Napa, this lively, modern American eatery strives to deconstruct the valley’s fine dining experience with its local, farm-inspired fare and variety of menu options, from bar bites to its rotating three-course prix fixe menu with wine pairings.

Insider Tip:

Groups looking for an affordable shared experience can call ahead and order off-menu, family-style meals like Lobster Thermidor for four ($155) or whole braised beef shank with Perigord black truffles for ten ($275) to enjoy in the restaurant’s spacious dining room.

1140 Main Street, Napa, CA 94559, (707) 252-3292

HIGH END

Modern Steakhouse

PRESS

Courtesy of PRESS

A solid cut above the everyday chophouse, St. Helena’s PRESS is a modern steakhouse rooted in its Napa Valley terroir. Menu items include free-range poultry and lamb from the Sonoma Coast, freshly-harvested vegetables from the restaurant’s onsite gardens, and prime, dry-aged beef grilled over almond wood, along with bountiful platters of fresh seafood. Wine pairings are never a problem with this diverse menu, as Press boasts the largest collection of Napa Valley wines in the world.

Insider Tip:

For the ultimate dining experience, book the wine cellar where you and up to 20 guests can indulge in a Wine Country feast alongside the restaurant’s 10,000 bottle collection.

587 St. Helena Highway, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 967-0550

Fresh & Soulful

Solbar

Courtesy of Solage Calistoga

Aptly named, this sunny gem inside Calistoga‘s Solage Resort radiates warmth through its service, while dishing up bright, fresh California fare that soothes the soul. In a relaxed, casual setting both inside the airy, light-filled dining room and outside on the sun-dappled terrace, Solbar offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch, featuring seasonal ingredients interpreted through a global lens. Brunch guests can choose between menu options such as Crispy Dungeness Crab Cakes and housemade granola, or venture further abroad with options like the Traditional Cubano Sandwich or Steak Frites.

Insider Tip:

Families visiting this Calistoga resort will be glad to know that the restaurant welcomes little ones, too, with a designated children’s menu full of all the kid-friendly classics.

755 Silverado Trail, Calistoga, CA 94515, (707) 226-0850

A Curated Culinary Experience

The Restaurant at Meadowood

Courtesy of Meadowood

Quietly nestled inside the luxury Meadowood Napa Valley resort off the Silverado Trail, sits one of Napa Valley’s more transcendent dining experiences. Striving to translate the “tranquility and raw natural beauty” of its locale through food, this three Michelin star-rated restaurant serves imaginative, contemporary tasting menus that explore the diversity of its 2.5-acre culinary farm. For the full Meadowood experience, add a tailored wine and spirits pairing to either the Tasting Menu or the Chef’s Counter Menu.

Insider Tip:

For a less spendy dining option, try the three-course bar menu for $90, which features delectable bites that rotate with the seasons.

900 Meadowood Lane, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 967-1205

Japanese Izakaya

Miminashi

Interior of Miminashi, Courtesy of Jean Bai Konstrukt

Except for the extensive bottle list, it’s easy to forget you’re in Wine Country at Napa Valley’s newest Izakaya-style hotspot, Miminashi. The restaurant’s contemporary vibe starts with the front door inspired by the peaks of Mt. Fuji and continues inside, with Japanese pub fare served under its pagado-style ceiling. The menu, comprised of authentic yakitori (Japan’s favorite fast food featuring all parts of the chicken deliciously skewered and grilled), also draws non-meat eaters with its creative vegetable forward offerings like Roasted Japanese Sweet Potato with Miso butter, fermented chili, tenkasu, scallion, and crème fraîche.

Insider Tip:

Save room for Miminashi’s popular soft serve, which churns out innovative flavors like zucchini bread or lemon verbena ice cream.

821 Coombs Street, Napa, CA 94559, (707) 254-9464

Farm-to-Table Italian

Oenotri

Courtesy of SF Chronicle

Located in the heart of downtown Napa, Oenotri offers a deeply satisfying rendition of Southern Italian fare that blends European tradition with wine, produce, and olive oil from local artisans. Brunch and dinner menus feature housemade pastas and bread, along with over 20 types of the chef’s artisan salumi, all elevated with fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs from the restaurant’s five-acre garden.

Insider Tip:

When in Napa, join the restaurant’s very own wine club featuring quarterly selections exploring the diverse growing regions throughout Italy.

1425 First Street, Napa, CA 94559, (707) 252-1022


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Author

Susan Williams

Susan Williams is a baker, writer and entrepreneur based in Sonoma, California. When she’s not busy in the kitchen assembling tiers for her garden-inspired wedding cake business, Cake Bloom, she's usually at the farmers market looking for something new to inspire her next creation. Follow her in the kitchen @cakebloom and in the vineyards @sonoma_williams.

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