It’s no great secret that in addition to award-winning wine, Wine Country is also home to fantastic food and dining options that are focused on local, fresh, beautiful produce. Whether youre spending the weekend exclusively in St. Helena, or making a stop or two on your Napa Valley journey, everyone has to eat. Luckily, St. Helena houses some stellar dining establishments, no matter what you may be craving.
For weekend travelers who want to pack as much of St. Helena into 72 hours as they can, we’ve compiled a list of the best bites this charming town has to offer, from delectable desserts to unfussy burgers to complementary bites for your wine tasting.
If you’re hankering after some red meat, try PRESS, with its modern steakhouse cuisine with a distinctly Napa Valley flair. With the largest collection of Napa Valley wines in the world, PRESS can meet your needs for all of the valley’s varietals as you get your daily intake of protein, whether its in a dry-aged New York strip steak, or wild-caught Gulf Coast jumbo prawns, or the PRESS charcuterie plate.
587 St Helena Hwy, St Helena, CA 94574, (707) 967-0550
Elemental is the word to describe the hearth-centered cooking of The Charter Oak, helmed by chef Christopher Kostow, who is a James Beard Award 2018 semi-finalist for his Michelin-starred The Restaurant at Meadowood. His newest venture, also nominated for Best New Restaurant, focuses on showcasing “food, surfaces, [and] materials, in such a way that their essence is revealed.” The dishes reflect products in an elegant and unforced manner, with an emphasis of produce from The Charter Oak’s 2.5 acre culinary garden. Aesthetically, their dishes offer up a modern take in a traditionally rustic-centered area, pleasing both to the eye as well as the palate.
1050 Charter Oak Avenue, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 302-6996
At Two Birds/One Stone, Chefs Sang Yoon and Douglas Keane bring together their love of Asian cuisine with the incredible produce of the Napa Valley. The restaurant is located in the historic Freemark Abbey, a legacy winery renowned for its participation in the Judgment of Paris of 1976, a blind tasting which catapulted Napa Valley onto the world wine stage. The chefs have combined local farm products with Japanese-inspired flavors and techniques to create a unique take on a Napa Valley fine-casual restaurant. “We’re taking the traditional Binchotan [a type of charcoal traditionally used in Japanese cooking], but adding the local oak and grapevine clippings to impart our own special blend of smoke to flavor the food,” shares Chef Sang Yoon. If you stop by on a Monday, try a bowl of their ramen, for something unique to Wine Country.
3020 St Helena Hwy North, St. Helena CA 94574, (707) 302-3777
For a different take on a roadside diner, visit Gott’s Roadside. Burgers are always better when created with the farm-fresh produce of Wine Country, and Gott’s makes it a specialty. From 100% beef franks to beer-battered onion rings, from Ahi Poke tacos to hand-spun milkshakes from the San Francisco-produced Three Twins, enjoy the elevated diner offerings alongside a glass from their California-centric list of wines and beers.
933 Main Street, St. Helena CA 94574, (707) 963-3486
A visit to Terra Restaurant is not only an affair of unexpected flavors from Italy, France, and Asia, but also a love story between Chef Hiro Sone and Pastry Chef Lissa Doumani, the husband-and-wife team that has been running the Michelin-starred joint since 1988. For the gluten-free eater, rejoice in knowing that Terra has an entire menu of gluten-free savories and sweets, so if you’re traveling with someone who normally has a hard time getting as many delicious options at restaurants, surprise them with a trip to Terra.
1345 Railroad Ave, St. Helena CA 94574, (707) 963-8931
It’s something else to see piles of fresh baked goods behind the glass at The Model Bakery, a mainstay of St. Helena for close to 90 years. Karen and Sarah, the mother-daughter team behind the shop, focus on quality European-style breads in their offerings, from mouth-watering breakfast sandwiches to the crowd-favorite English muffins. Grab a pastry and Stumptown coffee to go, or nab a sidewalk table for some casual people watching to go with your snack.
1357 Main Street, St. Helena CA 94574, (707) 963-8192
Run by Cindy Pawlcyn, who is also the owner of the beloved Mustards Grill, Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen combines heartfelt, home cooking with the cozy feel of dining in your favorite aunt’s country kitchen. Fittingly, the Mighty Meatloaf with horseradish barbecue and garlic mashed potatoes is a popular option, as is the Campfire Pie for dessert, with its toasted marshmallow fluff, fudgy chocolate, and an Oreo cookie crust.
1327 Railroad Avenue, St. Helena CA 94574, (707) 963-1200
A Wine Country public house, Goose & Gander is a place for locals and visitors alike to celebrate the bounty of Napa Valley. Their rustic American food and bar bites are derived from a focus on seasonally driven ingredients, which patrons can enjoy in the pub-like dining room, basement bar, or lush patio. Out late on the weekend? Goose & Gander’s basement bar might be just what you’re looking for, with delectable bar bites (read: drinking food!) served until midnight.
1245 Spring Street, St. Helena CA 94574, (707) 967-8779
An intimate place for pasta done right, Cook St. Helena focuses on Northern Italian dishes with prime ingredients and careful seasoning. Order from the rotating list of risottos, or any of the handmade pastas, for an extra helping of carbs to mitigate all the wine tasting.
1310 Main Street, St Helena, CA 94574, (707) 963-7088
Charles Krug has the distinction of being the oldest winery in Napa and also home to California’s first tasting room. The Cucina di Rosa tasting pays tribute to the establishments Italian heritage, with handcrafted cured meats, artisan cheeses, or wood-fired pizzas to pair alongside the estate-grown wines.
2800 Main St, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 967-2229
Weekend BBQ may not be what you expect from a historic winery with Italian roots, but V. Sattui offers a tasty selection of barbecued meats, house-pulled mozzarella, and wood-fired, thin crust pizzas most Saturdays and Sundays. Their assortment of good eats doesn’t stop there, and a visit to the Artisan Deli includes noshing on panini, pastas, hundreds of cheeses, and delicious desserts, like tiramisu and gelato. Grab a bottle or glass of award-winning wine and enjoy it on two acres of vineyard-side, picturesque picnic grounds.
1111 White Ln, St Helena, CA 94574, (707) 963-7774
Brasswood is an idyllic place for a coffee and a treat during a wine tasting break, where patrons can enjoy a cappuccino or a cookie on the beautiful patio. Or, if you want to optimize for wine tastings, but know better than to do so on an empty stomach, try the lunch pairing, a communal experience of Brasswood’s ultra-premium wines paired with seasonal dishes from the Brasswood Bar + Kitchen.
3111 St. Helena Hwy, St. Helena CA 94574, (707) 302-5104
Long Meadow Ranch is one of those stops that seems to offer a bit of everything. Cozy up to the bar in the General Store for a wine flight and some wine education, or stop by the cafe for a to-go bite to eat between tastings. If you’re in need of a hearty meal, reserve a table at the rustic-chic restaurant, Farmstead, for some celebrated American farmhouse cuisine. And if you’re feeling indulgent, try to score a seat at the Chef’s Table for a curated repertoire of dishes and corresponding wine pairing sure to tickle your palate.
738 Main Street, St. Helena CA 94574, (707) 963-4555
You might have heard of farm to table, but have you heard of farm to truck? Clif Family Winery believes that an elegant glass of wine begs for a delicious companion, and we’re inclined to agree. If you’re at the Clif Family Tasting Room, try the Bruschetteria Food Truck for some sustenance to go along with the vino. Fueled by seasonal, local ingredients, Chef John McConnell of the Clif Family Bruschetteria serves a rotating menu of bruschetta, porchetta, rotisserie chicken, farm fresh salads, and seasonal sides.
709 Main Street, St. Helena CA 94574, (707) 968-0625
Cover image courtesy of The Charter Oak