The Best Restaurants in Napa Valley

Napa’s finest restaurants run the gamut from roadside burritos and barbecue to Michelin-starred dining rooms serving the inventive cuisine of celebrity—and soon-to-be celebrity—chefs. Whether you opt to eat at a picnic table with a view of a vineyard or a formal table set beside a firepit on a moonlit patio, get ready for a taste of this wine- and produce-rich region. You’ll quickly discover the reasons that chefs move here: fresh ingredients paired with local wines, a divine climate and stunning scenery, and the community’s willingness to welcome creativity in the kitchen.

1915 Main St, St. Helena, CA 94574, USA
Celebrity chef Chris Cosentino made a name for himself in San Francisco cooking with various forms of offal, or organ meat. Acacia House is the on-site restaurant at the ultra-luxurious (and boutique) Las Alcobas Napa Valley, in St. Helena, and here, he moves in a different direction. Sure, options often include sweetbreads or pâté, but most of the food focuses instead on local and sustainable produce—a new age spin on classic California cuisine. Menu items might include lamb tartare with green harissa, mint, and chickpea crackers, and Cornish game hen with roasted grapes, turnips, and pancetta. Drinks at the modest but classy bar are just as appealing; go ahead and try to have just one house margarita with salt foam (which is a recipe that hails from the Las Alcobas flagship property, in Mexico City). On warm nights, reserve a table on the covered porch.
180 Rutherford Hill Rd, Rutherford, CA 94573, USA
If you’ve ever wondered where you can have a proper bowl of miso soup and a perfectly roasted salmon for breakfast while watching the fog lift from the floor of Napa Valley, you have found it. (Okay, they also serve croissants.) In addition to the a la Amercacaine bacon and eggs and classic French pastries, Auberge du Soleil serves traditional Chinese and Japanese breakfast fare seven says a week beginning at 7 AM. A creamy bowl of congee served with crispy pork belly and a perfectly poached egg may just change your morning routine for good.
4110 Howard Ln, Napa, CA 94558, USA
Bistro Don Giovanni opened more than 20 years ago and is still among the most popular Italian restaurants in Napa, meaning it can be downright impossible to get a table at the eatery unless you roll in late. Dishes include fritto misto, agnolotti with salmon and sweet pea cream sauce, and branzino poached in a tomato-garlic broth. Locals love Mamma Concetta’s meatballs, the beet and haricot vert salad, and, when it’s on the menu, lasagna. Don Giovanni also has a sophisticated bar program that includes a number of specialty cocktails, as well as wine imported from Italy, and the attentive, old-school service is appreciated by patrons. The generous back patio has a fountain and overlooks vineyards and a kitchen garden.
4048 Sonoma Hwy, Napa, CA 94559, USA
When you tell your friends that you’re headed here, everyone will chime in about the dish that you have to get. ‘Make sure you try the smoked salmon flatbread!’ ‘The burger, be sure to get the burger’.’ ‘The donuts! You have to get the donuts!’ It’s good to know that with breakfast, brunch or lunch, they don’t take reservations. Be prepared to possibly wait and hang out on the porch swings or hang out at the bocce courts and play a while (they’re about a 10-minute walk from Boon Fly). With dinner, they do take reservations and I’d encourage you to get those well-ahead. If you’ve had a big bike ride in nearby Napa Valley or are headed in to downtown Napa for a concert or event, Boon Fly Cafe is just 5 miles away and will leave you with your belly full and happy.
6534 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599, USA
Some say that Keller’s second restaurant in Yountville is even better than his flagship, the French Laundry. The rest of us may never know. But Bouchon is open until midnight seven days a week, and you can grab a seat at the bar without a reservation and spare yourself the theatrics of the more formal dining. Champagne, oysters, and French fries are a fine first course, and the bar also makes a mean martini.

Bouchon is a Thomas Keller star (at a third the price of French Laundry). which serves unpretentious, French fare with a Keller twist. From Croque Madame to steak and roasted chicken, the kitchen puts out classical French bistro fare. Try sitting at the marble-topped bar with a Pastis in one hand and a spoon for mussels in the other. Not only is it quite affordable, but if you are lucky enough to snag an outdoor seat, you may also sit, Paris-style, all afternoon chatting with friends (and I dare you to resist walking into the Bouchon bakery two steps away to complete your meal- or grab a foie treat for your dog!).
3111 St. Helena Hwy, St. Helena, CA 94574, USA
Brasswood Bar + Kitchen is part of Brasswood Estate, a sprawling complex at the north end of St. Helena, comprises a winery, tasting room, restaurant, café, art gallery, and bottle shop. The property was formerly known as Cairdean Estate but was rebranded in 2016. Like many eateries in Napa, this one features local bounty—produce and protein grown in Napa and surrounding counties. Executive chef David Nuno specializes in Italian cuisine, so everything has a bit of a Mediterranean flair. In the restaurant, the duck Bolognese, with duck from Sonoma, is rich and savory; the herb-crusted lamb chop is made with local lamb, as well. The artisan bakery serves food in a less-formal setting; here, pay for your white corn soup or mushroom salad at the counter, and enjoy it by the fountain on the plaza outside.
1207 Foothill Boulevard
The Louisiana-style, year-round barbecue at Buster’s is in a league of its own. Main-course options at this no-frills (read: It’s a glorified picnic shelter) Calistoga eatery include shoulder, pork ribs, tri-tip, chicken, pork loin, and pulled pork—all cooked medium rare unless otherwise specified. Most dishes come with sides such as baked beans, macaroni salad, and cole slaw. All portions are heaping, and every dish comes with signature garlic toast. Dessert options include house-made sweet potato pie and fresh-baked cookies. Because of Buster’s proximity to downtown Calistoga, the restaurant is a great stop after a morning hike on Mount St. Helena. On warm days, try to grab a table outside and watch the ‘cue masters work the outdoor grills, and on Sunday afternoons, stick around for live blues and jazz on the patio.
1413 Lincoln Ave, Calistoga, CA 94515, USA
Hungry customers line up and down the block for a seat at Café Sarafornia, without question Calistoga’s most popular brunch and lunch spot. The restaurant offers a California spin on an old-school diner, turning out pancakes, corned beef hash, and cheese blintzes. Breakfast is available all day—at least until the restaurant closes (at 2:30 p.m. daily). Café Sarafornia is particularly fun for kids, who can order off special menus and receive crayons and activity mats when they sit down. Local historians say the restaurant dates back nearly 120 years to when Calistoga was known as a resort town.
1260 1st St, Napa, CA 94559, USA
Chef Charlie Palmer’s newest wine country restaurant occupies most of the lobby at the Archer Hotel in downtown Napa—a lively setting for food that’s fresh and fun. Most dishes represent innovative spins on classics. The pig-ear pad thai is prepared like the original, only instead of noodles, Palmer and his chefs slice chicharróns extra thin. The surf and turf features a petite filet mignon and stuffed Maine lobster. Of course, the real star of this steakhouse is the steak; Palmer specializes in what he calls “artisanal beef” and almost always features wagyu on his menu. Cuts vary in size and shape, but the Bone-on Tomahawk for Two is the most formidable opponent. In warmer months, try to grab a table on the open-air patio in the courtyard to the west of the main dining room; it’s both private and shaded, and provides a perfect perch to linger for hours.
6770 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599, USA
Frank Altamura took his time renovating the old Italian grocery store — where he remembers shopping as a child — at the north end of Yountville. His dream was to turn the partly dilapidated building into a casual restaurant with great pizza and Napa Valley wine where locals would love to eat. His dream came to fruition when Ciccio opened its doors in 2013. The menu is simple, straightforward and ever-changing based on what Altamura is bringing in from his Napa ranch, where he also grows Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese and Negroamaro for his eponymous wine. Chef Polly Lappetito (former Executive Chef at The Culinary Institute of America) traveled far and wide in search of the perfect pizza crust, but her’s is in a category all its own — prepared in a hand-tiled, wood-burning pizza oven imported from Italy.
933 Main St, St Helena, CA 94574, USA
The line for burgers and fries at Gott’s Roadside (formerly Taylor’s Refresher and don’t you forget it) in St. Helena can be ridiculous in the afternoon, but if you go in the morning, you’ll have your choice of picnic tables—either in front where you can watch the morning traffic funnel into town or on the grassy lawn out back. From the simple egg and cheese to a fried chicken mess nicknamed the Paula Deen, Gott’s may have the best egg sandwich in the Valley (although, granted, there isn’t a lot of competition). Plus, a Trumer Pilsner makes a great breakfast beer.
1400 2nd St, Napa, CA 94559, USA
Napa Valley is home to some fantastic restaurants, several of which are located in the few square blocks of downtown Napa. My favorite among these is Grace’s Table. The owner and chef combines a global awareness of flavors with a commitment to local, sustainable sources of fine ingredients. Seasonal vegetables are often those he has just picked from his garden earlier in the day. Besides the vibrant flavors of the lunch and dinner menus, Grace’s Table serves an excellent breakfast, with European-style offerings of fresh baguette, seasonal fruit, and homemade yogurt—though the flavorful egg dishes are not to be missed either. Tip: Head to the late-afternoon happy hour for a chance to sample small plates from the dinner menu.
3824 Bel Aire Plaza, Napa, CA 94558, USA
This fast-casual restaurant in the back corner of Bel Aire Plaza in Napa is all about natural and sustainable food and a mix of international flavors. As the name suggests, Heritage Eats sources all of the ingredients for its wraps, rice bowls, tacos, and sandwiches from purveyors within 50 miles of the restaurant. The result: food that’s both delicious and good for the planet. Portion sizes are generous, and Heritage uses its own hot sauces. When dine-in guests have finished their meals, they can spin a prize wheel to redeem different rewards, such as a free soda to a picnic for two. All the spinning and related hollering makes the environment festive year round.
1 Main St, St Helena, CA 94574, USA
The Harvest Table opened Harvest Inn in 2015, and it quickly became one of the go-to spots in St. Helena. One of the main reasons: unpretentious food at reasonable prices. The 110-seat restaurant has a large horseshoe-shaped bar that serves upscale pub food, California style. Burgers are thick and juicy, and the fish and chips are crispy and light. The rest of the dinner menu is filled with hearty fare such as braised short ribs and grilled pork chops. Since its debut, the restaurant has launched its own beer program and now bottles microbrews, too. If you go, be sure to scan the crowd around you. Harvest Table has become the backdrop for many a business deal, and you never know which winery owner might be sitting nearby.
1153 Rutherford Rd, Rutherford, CA 94573, USA
A favorite among vineyard and cellar workers of all nationalities, La Luna keeps the Napa Valley workforce fed. It’s fast, it’s cheap, it’s the best burrito around. There are picnic tables out back with vineyard views, real Mexican Coca-Cola, and not a limo or pair of stilettos in sight. In Rutherford, off Highway 29, it makes for a convenient pit stop whether you’re wine tasting or shoot thinning. Also, if you need a hat, a harvest hook knife, or a giant bag of chicharones, La Luna has it.
1314 McKinstry Street
Housed inside the Westin near downtown Napa, this restaurant stands out among fine-dining experiences. The best time to taste Chef Ken Frank’s classic French fare is during truffle season, when he hosts the annual Napa Valley Truffle Festival. La Toque has been awarded a Michelin star for its cuisine, and the wine list is more than an afterthought, featuring nearly 2,000 selections from around the world. As one sommelier sums it up, “La Toque is a proper restaurant.”
6526 Yount Street
To say that Lucy Bar + Restaurant is inside the very cool Bardessono hotel in Yountville is not quite right as the separation between outside and inside is almost indistinguishable in this contemporary space. Jeff Vandiver, one of the designers of the space, said he wanted to stay as far away from wine country kitsch as possible—and he succeeded, swapping the standard old vines and wine-barrel decor with steel beams and blown glass. A wall of doors and windows open to a patio, garden, and a reflecting pond. Lucy is one of the few places to get a good breakfast in town, and takes advantage of the friendly Napa climate by including seating on the patio. Much of the menu comes from their own garden or from local purveyors (a commitment that aligns with the hotel’s LEED Platinum certification), so the menu is seasonable and changing.
6755 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599, USA
When Chef Richard Reddington was tasked with concepting a new, casual restaurant in Yountville to compliment his Michelin-starred Redd, he brought in a wood-burning oven from Italy and Liza Shaw from A16 to work her magic with yeast and flour and fire. Success. Shaw has since moved on, but the eatery maintains its stellar reputation for Italian fare and a relaxed atmosphere. The best seats at Redd Wood are at the bar, where you can see into the open kitchen and the charcuterie cooler, enjoy a respectable Manhattan, and avoid the tourist hordes.
1140 Main St, Napa, CA 94559, USA
The ingredients may seem familiar, but the flavors and preparation are inspiring and innovative at Torc. Serving fresh, local, and seasonal food should be a given in Napa Valley, but that’s not enough to win the culinary warfare of one of the world’s most celebrated dining destinations these days. Fortunately, Chef O’Toole doesn’t depend solely on freshly unearthed radishes. Well-honed technique and internationally inspired ingredients (serrano ham, Maryland soft-shell crab, mangos, and chile sambal) bring a next-level treatment to the locally foraged mushrooms and just-sprouted pea shoots. The menu always feels fresh and lively and the room—stone walls, dark bar, and warm wood floors—is masculine and welcoming.
2770 Old Sonoma Rd, Napa, CA 94558, USA
Southside is a treat for just about anyone who ventures over to its flagship location, in Napa. The café occupies a stand-alone structure in the middle of a parking lot and has attracted quite a following since it opened in 2016. In particular, locals love the specialty coffee from Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters, as well as the freshly made food—especially on Fridays, when chefs prepare fried-chicken buckets with a full complement of sides. Southside also does weekend brunch and boasts a comprehensive list of Napa and Sonoma wines. In 2017, Southside opened an outpost at Stewart Cellars in Yountville, and a third location in South Napa is promised soon.
1111 White Lane, St. Helena, CA 94574, USA
Yes, V. Sattui Winery, in St. Helena, makes great wines, but on bright and beautiful days, the secret attraction is its deli and marketplace, where visitors can purchase all sorts of items to furnish a picnic and set up to eat at any number of picnic tables out front. The 2.5-acre picnic area is open to the public, and tables are available on a first-come, first-served basis. As for the yummies, choose from a range of prepared sandwiches, salads, salumi, and 200 types of cheese, or piece together an antipasto with salami, cheese, olives, and fresh bread. On weekends, in summer, Italian chef Stefano Masanti takes up residence (his Michelin-starred restaurant in the Italian Alps is only open in winter) and turns out perfect wood-fired pizzas. Go early to avoid big crowds.
While most pizza in the Napa Valley is made with thin crusts and cooked in wood-fired ovens, Velo Pizzeria takes a different approach, featuring a yeast crust that’s doughy and chewy and using pizza ovens. The result is more like the stuff you might find in New York City. Options abound but the Nineteen Steps is by far the most creative, topped with rosemary fries, fennel sausage, tomato sauce, mozzarella, and citrus zest. (There’s also a white pizza topped with wine grapes and gorgonzola.) The menu at Velo also offers pasta, subs, and salads. Inside, the pizzeria has a warehouse vibe, with exposed brick walls and steel railings that lead to a second-floor loft. The restaurant looks out onto the Napa River, providing great opportunities for people-watching on sunny days.
829 Main St, Napa, CA 94559, USA
Tapas and paella are the big draws at Zuzu, a tiny Spanish-inspired restaurant in downtown Napa. Small-plate portions range in price from $6 to about $15, and feature a variety of local produce—some from Zuzu’s own garden. Fan-favorite tapas include pan-fried Manchego cheese with roasted poblano peppers, Monterey squid and morcilla sausage a la plancha, and bacalao, dried salt cod drizzled with white truffle oil. Paellas are larger, more expensive, and more involved; most take at least 20 minutes to prepare. Choose between the paella of the day with chorizo, shellfish, and sofrito, and the black paella with clams, shrimp, mussels, and calamari. Zuzu also offers an interesting wine and beer list, with a number of imports from Spain. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, so be sure to go early.
6518 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599, USA
The newest Yountville venture by Chef Thomas Keller and his restaurant group opened in January 2019. The casual Mexican eatery welcomes diners with bright, festive decor and crockery sourced from artisans in Mexico. Though Keller’s name earned the spot a ton of buzz long before its opening, Chef de Cuisine Kaelin Ulrich Trilling is the real culinary captain of the place. In addition to highlighting dishes from his native Oaxaca, Chef Kaelin honors flavors from across Mexico in a menu which features dishes like tostada de nopales (grilled cactus), pollo en mole negro (chicken in mole), tacos al pastor (pork with pineapple) and a tres leches cake that’s worth the trip alone. But above all, Trilling and his team are committed to embodying the restaurant’s name. “A calenda is a celebration,” says Trilling, “and the name is to bring to Napa Valley a sense of fun and Mexican culture. You come in, have a great meal, but we want you to feel like you’re relaxed and hving a good time, maybe sipping a good mescal.” So far, they’re hitting the mark.
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