10 Best 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 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 10 Best 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’s 10 favorite Napa Valley restaurants to get you started, but don’t overthink it. Enjoy eating out, indulge and plan on visiting again.



Grace's Table

Grace's Table is a little off the typical walking route through downtown Napa, but it's a nice walk and easy detour. This charming bistro isn't French, but 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 dinner 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 corn bread, 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.

Ad Hoc

Expect to enjoy dinner with a fun, lively bunch when you sit down at Ad Hoc in Yountville. (Another one of Thomas Keller's many hit creations, it is just down the way from The French Laundry.) Five nights a week, the popular spot draws a crowd for its four-course family-style menu. (Ad Hoc is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.) The menu changes daily, but it focuses on classic American comfort foods like fried chicken, barbeque and pot roast. Dinner is a fixed $55 per person, not including wine. Ad Hoc has a multiple page wine list and a fun cocktail selection.

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 wine list includes great wines from both the Napa Valley and the various regions of France. Portions are generous, but do your best to save room for dessert. It's hard to say no to Mixed Berry Bread Pudding and Chocolate Créme Brûlée.

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. The wine list is expectedly long, but the Carpe Cocktails are worth a look-see. Save room for dessert. If the food wasn't already good enough, you can make any dish on the menu "Carpe style" by adding an organic poached duck egg and crispy pancetta.

If you didn't know Celadon was there, you could easily walk right by, especially at night when you are headed to 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.

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, crispy potatoes, and a beet salad with avocado, corn and turnips. If you want 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, pie crumble and rainbow sprinkles are just a handful of the toppings you can have atop Miminashi's soft cream, Japan's name for soft serve ice cream.

Ca' Momi Osteria
Photo courtesy of Ca'Momi Osteria

Located in the heart of Downtown Napa, Ca'Momi Osteria serves traditional Italian dishes using California grown organic ingredients, and locally sourced meats. Most dairy, meats and vegetables come from within a 50-mile radius of the restaurant. 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. Using a handmade organic crust, organic San Marzano D.O.P. crushed tomatoes and house-pulled, organic Fior di Latte mozzarella there are more than a dozen pizza possibilities on the extensive menu to choose from.

Charlie Palmer Steak Napa
Photo courtesy of Charlie Palmer Steak

With a name like Charlie Palmer Steak, non-meat eaters might rule out this new 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 Strip, 21-Day Dry Aged, Filet Mignon and 5 Dot Coulotte, just to name a few. But the tasty menu is loaded with a variety of entrees for a variety of tastes. Sweet Pea Ravioli, Shrimp & Grits, Pig Ear Pad Thai and Lobster Corn Dogs stand out on the extensive menu. Located on the ground floor of the Archer Hotel, expect a crowd of visitors and locals, especially during Happy Hour.

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 breads are 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. Whenever possible, produce is sourced from Oenotri's own four acres. That's more like a farm, than a garden.

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 a 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.


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