As Napa’s wines have evolved, so has its dining. Napa Valley now boasts an extraordinary collection of restaurants with some of the most inventive cuisine prepared by some of the best chefs in America. Napa’s burgeoning fine wine community and glorious countryside have inspired many talented chefs to come to this formerly simple, now highly sophisticated rural environment. It’s a place where fresh ingredients and a hungry, discerning audience make cooking a worthwhile and rewarding challenge.
While BEST WESTERN PREMIER Ivy Napa Valley Hotel offers guests a gourmet breakfast and an evening wine tasting with fanciful hors d’ouvres each day, we fully expect that our discerning guests will seek the flavor of the regions most celebrated and world renowned chefs.
If you’re looking for the culinary capital of Napa Valley, many would argue that Yountville California has earned this title. The variety of cuisine alone brings foodies into town for a taste. Restaurants in Yountville range from French to classic California to Italian to Pacific Rim. From fine-dining to the leisurely ambiance of a bistro, Yountville has a variety of options for every palate. Local dining options we recommend include the internationally known The French Laundry, which boasts three Michelin stars and an exclusive atmosphere; reservations are accepted up to two months to the calendar date ahead of your desired meal, and it’s wise to make them as early as possible.
Other popular restaurants include:
Redd – Chef-owner Richard Reddington is well known in the Northern California culinary scene, having worked his way through a number of prestigious restaurants. Despite his talent in classical French cuisine fusion is key here as he brings in Asian, Mediterranean and California influences. The menu is set up as a series of small tasting courses which can be ordered à la carte or as part of a five-, seven- or nine-course chef’s tasting menu
Etoile – As the only fine dining restaurant within a winery in Napa Valley, étoile Restaurant epitomizes the very best that wine country dining has to offer. Innovative cuisine paired with award-winning wines and sophisticated surroundings set the stage for the ultimate wine and food experience. étoile’s unique position within a winery allows daily collaboration between the culinary team and Domaine Chandon’s winemakers, resulting in innovative, wine-inspired cuisine.
Ad Hoc - Originally conceived as Thomas Keller’s temporary placeholder restaurant for his long-held burger joint fantasy, ad hoc’s no longer just here today—it’s here to stay. Those into the pop-up shop trend, or perhaps those hopeful for French Laundry seconds, have assured its existence. Still, in keeping with the impromptu concept, a four-course prix-fixe dinner shifts daily. The menu comes pronged inside a plain brown file folder stickered with the all-lowercase ad hoc name on the tab. Casual servers in slate bowling shirts bring ample family-style platters for diners to dig into themselves. This is simple, homey food with a pedigree.
Bouchon – Thomas Keller brought his incarnation of a French brasserie to the masses, just a few blocks from The French Laundry, when he opened Bouchon back in 1998. Since then, diners have lined up to enjoy this quintessential American version of the Parisian experience, where chef Philip Tessier mans the stoves. The delicate fries are the best around, and the seafood dishes are first rate.
La Toque – The re-launched La Toque, in Napa’s natty Westin Verasa hotel, is chef Ken Frank’s wish list realized: a sleek dining room and spacious glassed-in patio with roll-back roof, a two-way fireplace to bridge both spaces, a full bar and an airy kitchen with six-person chef’s table. certain dishes inspire: fava bean ravioli with porcini and lusty wild mushroom Parmesan broth, and crisp-skinned black cod, invigorated by kaffir lime broth. But there’s less poetry and edginess in other dishes that lean instead toward comfort: pork confit reminiscent of tender-crisp carnitas served atop polenta; a double-helping of rib-eye—slices and shreds forked into potatoes; lamb loin with chickpea frites (also a snack at the hotel lobby bar). No longer a forced, five-course affair, dinner is now less of a commitment-perhaps targeting clientele wandering in for a cocktail and a couple of courses.
Ubuntu – Ubuntu shatters one’s notion of vegetarian restaurants. It’s a trip down a rabbit hole (minus rabbit of course) to a surreal garden world, where the birth of a vegetable, perhaps a newborn, pearl-size radish or fragile strand of leek, is not only heralded by the doting kitchen, but ultimately by charmed diners. Rest assured that chef de cuisine Aaron London, indoctrinated by departed founding chef Jeremy Fox, continues to defy with avant-garde (avant-garden?) cuisine. Each dish educates, showcasing herbs and heirlooms seldom seen, preserving the purity of each while recasting them in breakout roles.
Terra – Terra has attracted a solid following, and for good reason. Chef Hiro Sone and his wife and pastry chef Lissa Doumani turn out daringly sophisticated food in a beautifully restored 1880s-vintage stone structure. The tiled floors, flickering candles, cushy banquettes and wooden beams make this one of the most romantic restaurants in the valley. Sone draws on many countries for inspiration. A Thai-influenced grilled salmon comes enrobed in a kicky red-curry sauce. The spicy tripe with spaghetti and butter beans is heavenly for the adventurous, as are the sweetbreads in pistou sauce. Lobster chowder and broiled saké-marinated sea bass with shrimp dumplings will please more mainstream eaters. Doumani’s desserts aren’t superfluous—they’re true treats, especially her tiramisu. The topnotch wine list caters to all budgets and curiosities, and there’s passion behind the pairings.
The Restaurant at Meadowood - Perched where oak canopies give way to a golf green ringed with pine forests, The Restaurant creates a soigné stage for one of Napa Valley’s most transcendent dining experiences. Settle in underneath parasol-like beams veiling picture windows and wainscoting; in summertime, choose the surrounding covered porch. Surrender to the tasting menu—by all means, this is the place to do so.
JoLe – JoLe is a Contemporary American Restaurant owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Matt and Sonjia Spector, chef and pastry chef, respectively. JoLe is the couple’s second restaurant venture. Matt and Sonjia use organic, locally farmed ingredients as much as possible. The wine list is eclectic and ever-evolving, consisting of many of the area’s boutique producers. Cocktails focus on the classics, made with small batch, top shelf liquors.
Cyrus – Healdsburg’s Cyrus compels a culinary pilgrimage beyond Napa Valley. Settle under archways bathed in warm lamplight as caviar and Champagne cart rolls up to underscore the night’s theme: luxury. Tuck into any of five lavish caviars, gold bars counterbalance the scale, as co-owner/maître d’ Nick Peyton lays out the five- or eight-course tasting menu from co-owner and chef Douglas Keane. Keane’s cuisine exudes contemporary sensibility as he globe-trots for inspiration while respecting seasonality.
Auberge du Soleil - began as a restaurant created by visionary restaurateur Claude Rouas more than 25 years ago. Since then, the Auberge has maintained its legacy as a culinary destination, where innovative menus inspired by the bounty of Napa Valley are paired with wine in ways that delight and inspire longtime devotees.