As part of my homage to Northern California I wanted to share a few of my favorite places to eat in the heart of wine country. Napa Valley is home to many great vineyards and just as many restaurants. New ones sprout up all the time and others stand the test of time. Here are a few of my favs for your next trip but really this is just scratching the surface -- Napa has so many great restaurants it's hard even to just pick a few. The best part of your California adventure is the ability to eat outside almost year round -- if it's chilly there are often heaters or a warm fire nearby. I love eating outside and it adds to the enjoyment of my evening. Local in season ingredients, ethically raised meat ensure that your food is literally farm to table. Enjoy!
A great French restaurant with wonderful in or outdoor seating along the Napa Valley River. If you are staying in downtown Napa this is a wonderful option for a great glass of wine and bistro style fare.
(707) 252-8115, 540 Main St, Napa, CA
Thomas Keller's home turf is in downtown Yountville which has several of his restaurants (French Laundry's home), his company headquarters and his vegetable farm. Bouchon is a Paris bistro in the middle of wine country with all of the noise and fun of the city in a beautiful setting.
(707) 944-8037, 6534 Washington St, Yountville, CA
Goose & Gander is home to one of the best cocktail bars in the Valley with a cozy downstairs bar perfect for a nightcap or before your table is ready. The restaurant serves hearty American food and they often features small local producing wineries as part of their menu. We love hearing about very small wineries and trying new varietals. They have a great outdoor garden to eat in or a warm pub interior with a welcoming staff.
(707) 967-8779, 1245 Spring St, St Helena, CA
The Oakville Grocery is a must stop on your way up and down the St. Helena Highway -- it has a wonderful deli, pizza oven and a line around the block most weekends. I like to go on the weekdays but whether you want to pick up a sandwich or wine and cheese for a picnic it has wonderful choices.
(707) 944-8802, 7856 St Helena Hwy, Oakville, CA 94562
Model Bakery is famous throughout the valley for their delicious sandwiches, quiches, coffee and croissants and cookies. All the wine tasting, hiking and relaxing is easily nourished with a stop at the bakery. There are few locations including Napa near the Oxbow Market and downtown St. Helena.
(707) 259-1128, 644 1st St, Napa, CA 94559
The newest shiny place on the block in Yountville opened by Tom Keller -- caviar is having a moment. With live music and an elegant in or outdoor setting I love inviting visitors here for a great glass of champagne and apps before dinner.
(707) 947-718, 6480 Washington St, Yountville, CA
The Charter Oak receives rave reviews from just about everyone who visits and it is well deserved. I love the atmosphere with it's big warm wood burning oven in the dining room, giants wood beams and great bar setting and it's outdoor beautiful garden it is all Napa. The reason to go back again and again though is the food, every time I go I enjoy something new and marvel at how amazing the food is. Homemade bread, fresh vegetable crudite and the burger and steak are out of this world.
(707) 302-6996, 1050 Charter Oak Ave, St Helena, CA
Is it a gas station, a breakfast place or lunch place? -- The answer is yes, yes and yes. This is my favorite place to get coffee and the best egg sandwich anywhere but their pastries, sandwiches or salads are all so incredible you won't stop saying I can't believe this is also a gas station!
(707) 963-3356, 1153 Main St, St Helena, CA