Napa and Sonoma are known for great wine and great food. But with so many options, how do you decide where to eat? Drop your food FOMO and head to nearby Yountville, Calistoga or Oakville (or just stay right in Napa).
You can find just about every cuisine here. The best part? Many of these places have been around forever; when it comes to food, there’s no better test than the test of time.
You’ll notice a whopping three Thomas Keller restaurants on this list (partially because Keller dominates the food industry in Yountville).
The Zagat guide called this place, “As close to France as you’ll get in Napa.” Considering all the French-inspired wines that hail from Napa, that’s saying a lot.
Though you can definitely order a full French meal here, lighter fare is also offered, including a raw bar and fresh salads. Just like at any good French restaurant, you can’t go wrong ordering the roast chicken; it’s the perfect dish to soak up that extra vino and keep you powered for the second half of your winery tour.
If you haven’t gotten enough of Bouchon by the end of your meal, hit up the nearby bakery for pastries.
Hop in an Uber to nearby Calistoga for upmarket fare and daily happy hour. Set in a craftsman-style home, this brunch spot is popular with both locals and tourists on the weekends.
The menu features both sweet and savory fare at brunch, pasta, salads — and (of course) wine. You could just as easily order a rabbit potpie here as you would an heirloom tomato salad or a spring risotto.
Thomas Keller’s other famous restaurant, The French Laundry, is open for lunch only on the weekends. To get a reservation here, you’re going to want to plan ahead. Tables will book up months to even years in advance. This place has churned out more famous chefs than an episode of “Top Chef.” (We’re lookin’ at you, Grant Achatz.)
The tasting menu here is something of legend. The famous dish “oysters and pearls” still makes an appearance each day and features oysters, white sturgeon caviar and pearl tapioca sabayon. In addition to Keller’s favorites, you’ll also find new and exciting seasonal dishes on the menu each day.
But what if you don’t want to be fancy all day? There’s a spot for that too. Gott’s Roadside has been slinging burgers and blending shakes in nearby Napa since 1999 (and in many additional locations thereafter). Heralded by some as the, “Best burger in California,” you really can’t go wrong if you have a craving for something a little more casual.
In addition to burgers and fries, you can also order soup, ahi (in tacos and as a burger), hot dogs and even more wine. Those who are craving a little vino break (we don’t get it, but we accept it), can enjoy an icy cold beer on draft.
Just make sure to head there a little early — lines head out the door and around the building at lunchtime.
The Oakville Grocery in nearby Oakville has everything you need for that picnic you forgot to pack back in the city.
Head here in the morning before stopping at your first winery for an egg sandwich to give you a little energy for an arduous day of wine tasting (hey, somebody’s gotta do it). Grab a few side salads, some sandwiches, a bit of bread and some local cheese. You might even want to pick up a bottle of wine here (on the off-chance you can’t find one at the local wineries).
For those who just can’t decide on one spot, the Oxbow Public Market in Napa has plenty of options to suit every taste. In addition to being home to Gott’s Roadside (see above), you’ll find over 20 stores, restaurants, wine bars and beer bars here.
Grab a bite to eat, and head over to one of the bars to meet back up with your party. Some of our favorites include Eiko’s (sushi), C Casa (Mexican) and Five Dot Ranch and Cookhouse (sandwiches).
Don’t forget to stop at Three Twins Ice Cream on your way out.
Napa and Italy have a lot in common: they’re known for their wines — and their pizza! Redd Wood serves up casual pizzas and charcuterie that would make even vegetarians salivate.
Their four-cheese wood-fired pizzas are topped with arugula, prosciutto and tons of Parmesan cheese; or, be purist with the mozzarella pizza, topped with fresh tomato, basil and mozzarella. Salads include a Brussels sprout salad, chopped salad and a fresh option, topped with pear, beet, walnuts and gorgonzola.
On weekends you’ll even find street fairs, boasting even more food options (and food trucks galore). In fact, it’s difficult to find a “bad” meal in the Yountville area. But when in doubt, head to one of these options for the perfect afternoon break from the wineries.