A Gourmet Guide To The Best Restaurants In Napa Valley
Napa Valley is synonymous with wine yet gastronomy in the valley should not take a back seat. Dining options range from mom-and-pop establishments serving gourmet picnic lunches, to luxury resorts offering fine dining and breathtaking views. Napa Valley caters to a global audience with food experiences that fall in line with a northern California vibe. Here is our updated guide to 10 restaurants in Napa Valley not to be missed.
Addendum is rumored to have the best fried chicken in all of Napa Valley. The restaurant sprang from a temporary ‘ad hoc’ conception, which literally translates as ‘for this purpose’, meaning that its time was thought initially as ephemeral. Guests felt otherwise, hence Addendum is now open year-round. Favorite menu items: the buttermilk-fried chicken and the hickory-smoked barbecue, which are accompanied by two sides and a piece of cornbread served in a box to go. Addendum is an option for a to-go lunch from a top restaurant while en route to explore the plentiful wineries in Napa.
The Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant is part of the Culinary Institute of America, offering breathtaking vineyard views, inspired cuisine and warm hospitality. Serving cuisine as well as teaching culinary crafts, Greystone is a well-loved establishment in the Napa Valley region. A popular offering is the ‘Lessons in Wine’ tasting flight, which samples the restaurant’s ‘temptations’ paired with various wines. Meanwhile, food is expertly showcased with ingredients sourced from sustainable farms and prepared with an emphasis on substance. The menu offers a variety of fish, meat, poultry as well as vegetarian plates. Desserts are not forgotten either, from butter pecan cake with butterscotch ice cream, brown sugar banana and chicory glaze, to slow- baked chocolate mousse, with ganache, poached raisins and whipped cream.
Kitchen Door in Oxbow Market | photo courtesy of restaurant
Kitchen Door, from Chef Todd Humphries, is a popular contemporary family diner derived from multi-ethnic comfort food with a focus on communal gathering and handpicked regional produce. Located in the Oxbow Public Market, Kitchen Door is open all-day and designed with a breezy patio including wafts of family-style food served to satisfy. Must-try menu item: the duck banh mi, which is a sandwich consisting of pickled vegetables, spicy mayo, jalapeno and duck liver mousse, all in a toasted roll with sweet potato fries. For a sweet tooth, the coconut tapioca pudding with caramelized pineapple toasted macadamia will suffice.
Created to be the ‘the local gathering place for great food and wine in Napa Valley’, Oxbow Public Market, welcomes guests seven days a week at a location overlooking the Napa River. The market is a respite from the regions tourist prices and offers sociable eating at the lower fare. Containing a variety of culinary flavors that can be sampled against the dynamic backdrop of community events, live music, cooking demos, and wine and beer tastings, The Oxbow Market is lively and has something for everyone.
Bottega is a critically acclaimed restaurant offering creations from celebrity chef Michael Chiarello, the Emmy-winning host of the Food Network’s Easy Entertaining. The restaurant is situated in one of the oldest wineries in the valley, which is part of the historic Vintage Estates. Showcasing chef Chiarello’s signature Italian flavors, the menu offers both artisan ingredients and local produce. A few favorite menu items to choose from are wood-grilled lamb chops, duck three ways, forno-roasted whole fish, and twice cooked pork, all of which are accompanied by innovative vegetable sides, which garner as much attention as the main dishes. The ambience is quaint and the best of California’s wines are served.
Self-described as being ‘Sol-ful dining in Napa Valley’, Solbar at the Solage Calistoga Spa offers a sprawling outdoor terrace in a chic atmosphere, where guest can enjoy al fresco dining and a view of the surrounding mountains. Solbar uses seasonal ingredients and proficiently produces dishes consisting of both homely soul food and healthy spa food in perfect harmony. The menu showcases hearty meals such as grilled loin and confit shoulder of Sonoma lamb with English peas, Cipollini onions, tarragon honey-bacon carrots and PX sauce, alongside lighter meals like warm bulgur pilaf with ras al hanout, roasted cauliflower, cannellini bean hummus, castelvetrano olives and tomato chutney.
With a riverfront location, Morimoto Napa is a branch of celebrity Iron Chef Morimoto’s franchise that is run under the guidance of Napa’s executive Chef Kang, who prepares Morimoto’s signature Asian dishes. The décor is minimalistic and reminiscent of Tokyo. With design akin to a wholesale retail space, tables are slapped against shelves of branded products such as cookbooks, wooden crockery and sake, which seemingly represent the ‘Morimoto lifestyle’. The dining area of the restaurant is flanked by a gallery and open kitchen, which makes for an interesting view where sushi chefs are always on display. The menu offers both a vast sushi and sashimi list, in addition to Morimoto’s innovative creations, including grilled hamachi kama with red miso chimichurri sauce, and duck meatball soup with duck confit, fried rice and gooseberry compote.
Joel and Duncan Gott have changed the name of the burger-and-shake game with Gott’s Roadside. Offering menu items beyond the classic American cheeseburger, like the ahi tuna burger on a toasted egg bun, this roadside shack is a stand-out in Napa Valley. The beef served at Gott’s Roadside comes from 100% hormone-free, grass-fed Angus from nearby Niman Ranch, while their wines and beers are locally sourced. Other top-ordered items are the mahi mahi tacos and the fish & chips, from wild not farmed seafood, and the sweet potato fries alongside a traditional chocolate milkshake.
REDD offers simple contemporary furnishings designed to create a perception of expanse in a light and modern space. The vibe is relaxed and the food is a sophisticated fusion of ethnic cuisines, emphasising distinct flavors in less-than-complex combinations, such as sashimi of hamachi on sticky rice and edamame with a lime ginger sauce, and Liberty Farms’ duck breast and Swiss chard crepes on celery root and chocolate sauce. One of the favourite guest options is a paired food and wine tasting menu chosen by Executive Chef/Owner Richard Reddington. Guests can look forward to a range of cocktails available at the elegant bar within a Napa Valley modern retreat.
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Sourcing from a network of local farmers and its own kitchen garden, Oenotri is a Napa restaurant influenced by the regions Campania and Puglia in Southern Italy. The restaurant offers charcuterie and baking pizzas in a wood-burning oven directly from Naples, Italy. Open for lunch, dinner and a late dinner, Oenotri offers fresh ingredients that will satisfy a hankering for Italian fare. From the menu order the panna pizza, which consists of fior di latte, potatoes, Genovese pesto, pine nuts and cherry tomatoes; the romanesco squash ravioli with ricotta espelette peppers and basil; and pair these with a Sangiovese from Tuscany or a Meritage Cab blend.