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10Best restaurants for dinner in Napa Valley



Napa Valley built its reputation on world-class wine. But tasting isn’t just about what’s in a wine glass. More and more, it’s becoming about what’s sitting on the plate next to it. At Ca’Momi Osteria it could be wood-oven roasted vegetables with house-pulled burrata. At Carpe Diem, a simple bowl of popcorn isn’t so simple when it’s topped with truffle oil. At Charlie Palmer Steak Napa, lobster corndogs tend to disappear in record time. If the many chefs that call the Napa Valley home have anything to do with it, world-class wine will soon have to share much more of the spotlight with world-class dining.

One of the world’s most famous wine regions, Napa Valley has figured out the combination of good wine and good food isn’t just an award winner, it’s a way to attract new visitors. Well-fed guests are happy ones. And if dinner includes a great glass of wine, the smile can be even bigger. But where to go for dinner in Napa Valley isn’t an easy question to answer. Awarded more Michelin stars per capita than any other wine region in the world, sometimes it seems like delicious dishes outnumber wine grapes. Picking the 10Best spots for dinner is a next to impossible task. The list can easily change depending on one’s mood and just as important, what ingredients are in season. Here are 10 favorite Napa Valley restaurants to get you started, but don’t overthink it. Enjoy eating out, indulge, and plan on visiting again.

 


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Grace's Table


Grace's Table is a little off the typical walking route through downtown Napa, but it's a nice stroll and easy detour. This charming bistro isn't French, but rather classic Napa Valley wine country. The garage door styled wall rolls right up and on Napa's many enjoyable evenings, lets the outside in. The supper menu draws inspiration from France, Italy and the Americas, offering a wide range of choices. It's not often dinner in one restaurant includes choices like cornbread, tamales, cassoulet and a house-ground chuck burger. The drink menu includes wine, beer in bottles and on tap, and some one-of-a-kind specialty beer cocktails.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Grace's Table offers an eclectic menu, in a casual, relaxed setting.

Dana's expert tip: The Iron Skillet Cornbread with lavender honey butter is on the breakfast, lunch and supper menu. That means you should try it. Yes, even at dinner time.

Read more about Grace's Table →


Carpe Diem Wine Bar


Expect to find a happy, lively crowd when you walk through the doors at Carpe Diem. The menu makes it easy to try something new like an ostrich burger with triple cream brie cheese or butternut squash risotto balls. If you're out and about with a group, the menu offers a number of small plates and easily lends itself to family-style dining. From deviled eggs and pork belly to charred octopus. The wine list is expectedly long, but the Carpe Cocktails like the Watermelon Margarita and the Hibiscus Negroni, are worth a look-see. Save room for dessert a alongside a homemade Twix bar, you'll find Meyer Lemon Cheesecake and Vanilla Creme Brûlée.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Whether you feel like just a main dish or many plates to share, Carpe Diem offers tasty options in a fun space with a great staff.

Dana's expert tip: When it arrives at the table, the homemade Carpe Diem Twix Bar with salted caramel ice cream will make diners around you envious.

Read more about Carpe Diem Wine Bar →




If you didn't know Celadon was there, you could easily walk right by, especially at night when you are on the search for dinner. Located in downtown Napa, it's one of those hidden foodie spots, tucked in the Historic Napa Mill. The dining room is stylish, but if you have the chance to sit in the courtyard, do it. Even on a cool night the fireplace and numerous heat lamps keep it cozy. The rustic weathered brick walls create an inviting spot where it's easy to feel comfortable whether you are with new acquaintances or old friends. The restaurant describes its menu as "Global Comfort Food," with flavors from the Mediterranean, Asia and the Americas. Think options like sesame crusted Ahi tuna and Moroccan-braised lamb shank, but know the menu changes to take advantage of the season's best ingredients.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Tucked behind a garden in the Napa Historic Mill, you'll know you made the right choice when you enter the weathered but welcoming courtyard.

Dana's expert tip: The pan-roasted mussels with Applewood smoked bacon, tomatoes and white wine, are a must for seafood lovers.

Read more about Celadon →


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Bistro Jeanty


Experience a little slice of France in Napa Valley at Bistro Jeanty. Serving traditional French bistro fare in the town of Yountville, the dining room at Bistro Jeanty is small and cozy, but charming and the outdoor Bistro Terrace is enjoyable year-round. The menu varies with the season, but expect French classics like Cassoulet, Steak Frites and Coq au Vin. Bistro Jeanty's cheese menu includes locally made and French selections. California-made Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog can be enjoyed alongside the likes of Brillat Savarin from Normandy and Fourme d'Ambert from France's Auvergne region. Do your best to save room for dessert. It's hard to say no to Créme Brûlée au Chocolat and Rum-Raisin Bread Pudding.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Bistro Jeanty offers a classic wine country meal, with excellent service and a cozy setting.

Dana's expert tip: The Crême de Tomate en Croute, or Tomato soup in puff pastry, is a crowd favorite.

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Miminashi
Photo courtesy of Emma K. Morris


Park the car and forget about it. Miminashi is a nice walk from just about anywhere in downtown Napa. The extensive dinner menu includes sashimi, noodles, rice and teppanyaki. Vegetable choices are plentiful including the likes of grilled sweet corn, roasted Japanese sweet potatoes, corn fritters, and marinated eggplant. If you're in the mood for a little of everything, think about ordering the Omakase. The chef's five-course menu is served family-style and changes daily. Save room for dessert. Whiskey butterscotch, cookie crumble and glitter sprinkles are just a handful of the toppings you can have atop Miminashi's soft cream, Japan's name for soft-serve ice cream.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Miminashi serves Japanese-style Izakaya menus and soft cream in a fun, casual spot in the heart of downtown Napa.

Dana's expert tip: No room for dessert? Go for a stroll, and come back. You can grab something sweet from the Soft Cream Window.

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Ca' Momi Osteria
Photo courtesy of Ca'Momi Osteria


Located in the heart of Downtown Napa, Ca'Momi Osteria serves traditional Italian dishes using farm-fresh organic ingredients, and whenever possible, locally sourced meats. Warm and inviting, the Osteria calls a historic 19th-century building home. Pizza is serious business here and thanks to the open-style kitchen complete with an Acunto Napoli wood-burning oven imported from Italy, you can watch as pizza magic is made. From vegetarian specialties to classic meat loaded selections, there are more than a dozen pizza possibilities on the extensive menu to choose from. Pizzas are cooked for 90 seconds at 900 degrees, and true to Italian tradition, the pizza is not cut when served.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Ca'Momi Osteria showcases its Italian roots with a menu loaded with authentic and regional Italian recipes.

Dana's expert tip: Order a pizza or maybe even two. You'll be happy if you have leftovers the next day.

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Charlie Palmer Steak Napa
Photo courtesy of Charlie Palmer Steak


With a name like Charlie Palmer Steak, non-meat eaters might rule out this downtown Napa hot spot, but they'd be missing out. Yes, beef is big here. Steak selection includes the likes of Wagyu, Snake River Farms NY Strip, 21-Day Dry-Aged Porthouse, and filet mignon, just to name a few. But the tasty menu is loaded with a variety of dishes for a variety of tastes. Clams and mussels, Spring Risotto, roasted chicken, creamed spinach, and Lobster Corn Dogs are all standouts. Located on the ground floor of the Archer Hotel, expect a crowd of visitors and locals, especially during Happy Hour.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Right in the thick of downtown Napa, it's walking distance from pretty much every hotel and spot you'd want to see in town.

Dana's expert tip: Order the lobster corndogs. Yes, they are unusual, but they are also delicious.

Read more about Charlie Palmer Steak Napa →




It's all about southern Italy and food as fresh as it gets at Oenotri. The open kitchen means diners can watch chefs in action and maybe even spy their pizza emerging from the wood-burning oven. Along with a variety of handmade pasta, all bread is made in house and guests can choose from more than 20 types of house-made salumi. The menu changes frequently depending on seasonally fresh ingredients. Many restaurants in Napa Valley have their own garden, but Oenotri takes it a step further, farming five acres, just a few miles from the restaurant. During peak season, it's said 80% of the menu is sourced from Oenotri's garden.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Oenotri serves rustic southern-Italian cuisine, paired with a full bar and an extensive wine list that includes sought after bottles from Italy and Napa Valley.

Dana's expert tip: The bread is made in-house, daily, so yes, they're worth skipping lunch for.

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FARM at Carneros Resort and Spa
Photo courtesy of Carneros Resort and Spa


Located at Carneros Resort and Spa, FARM is anything but your typical hotel restaurant. The a la carte menu includes options like Celery Root Soup, Seared Ahi Tuna, oven-roasted octopus, and a root vegetable medley. Dessert choices range from Mascarpone Cheesecake and artisan cheese to homemade ice cream and sorbet. But for a unique and delicious dining experience, be sure to ask about the Seasonal Tasting Menu. It picks one ingredient and features it throughout five courses. Menus have highlighted everything from carrots, apples, and corn, to English peas. The Seasonal Tasting Menu typically changes every two weeks. Along with wine pairings, a featured cocktail is available. Indoor and patio seating is available.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: The seasonal tasting menu offers a delicious dining experience you won't find anywhere else in wine country.

Dana's expert tip: The dining room is elegant and enjoyable, but it's tough to go wrong dining alfresco on the patio. Bring a layer in case you linger longer.

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The French Laundry


For some, The French Laundry is the end all be all when it comes to dining out. Chef Thomas Keller's Michelin three-star restaurant tops many Napa Valley visitors dining wish lists. Serving classic French cuisine, two prix fixe tasting menus (a Chef's Tasting and the Tasting of Vegetables) are offered daily. If a meal here is on your wish list, you have to be organized and get a reservation. The restaurant does not take walk-in guests. Jackets are required for both lunch and dinner service, so be sure to pack and dress appropriately. (Ties are optional.) No casual attire such as t-shirts or athletic wear is allowed.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: The French Laundry sources the finest quality ingredients, and provides impeccable guest service, providing diners with a memorable meal.

Dana's expert tip: The wine list is long, covering wine regions from around the world. If you have time, taking a look at the wine menu before you're seated in the restaurant, or online, can help ease the decision process.

Read more about The French Laundry →


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Meet Dana Rebmann

Dana Rebmann moved from San Francisco to Wine Country in search of sunshine. Amazing wine and food was a delightful bonus.

A former television producer for NBC News, Dana is a regular...  More About Dana

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