Head to historic St. Helena for a taste of the Old World at Tra Vigne. This restaurant uses only fresh, local ingredients to craft the pasta dishes and seafood entrees of its menu, each made to accompany one of the area’s wines. The setting is also Italian-inspired: The vine-covered building with its grand ceilings sits beside a sprawling Tuscan courtyard. Dine outside under the trees and the charming white lights.
Once a French steam laundry erected in the 1890s, French Laundry is a rustic stone cottage that looks like something straight out of Nice. Sit outside to gaze at the beautiful country garden, filled with perennials, herbs and roses, or take a table in the intimate indoor dining room. The restaurant offers two prix-fixe menus with nine courses, including a vegetarian option. This is a popular date-night location for residents and visitors alike, so make a reservation in advance.
New Mexican cuisine is the the specialty at Cielito Lindo on the chic stretch of Main Street in downtown Napa Valley. The restaurant has a casual, intimate appeal, with only room for 34 patrons in the dining room and six at the marble bar. You’ll eat among candlelight and walls lined with original paintings by California and Mexico City artists. Try the chorizo-shrimp queso fundido to start, then move onto an entree like the flank steak or the braised pork belly tacos with a side of cactus salad.
You can request a table in the beautiful courtyard or in the dining room of the Historic Napa Mill. The menu, created by chef Greg Cole, fuses Asian, Mediterranean and American flavors. It features several green plate options, including the endive and pear salad and the baby spinach and duck confit, or try an entree like the togarashi - crusted scallops served with mashed potatoes, sweet pea coulis and carrot salad.
Napa Valley Bistro
The sustainable menu at Napa Valley Bistro changes with the season, but it always features a mixture of modern and classic American fare. Try homestyle dishes like the sesame crusted ahi tuna or vegetarian lemon thyme risotto. Pair your meal with one of the wide selection of wines, including red, rose and Pinot varieties.
Step into Ristorante Allegria on the historic landmark bank, and you’ll find yourself in a magnificent dining room with 3-foot ceilings. It has an enchanting ambience accompanied by soothing Italian music. The cuisine at this restaurant is California-inspired Italian. Among the house favorites are the marinated teriyaki skirt steak and the homemade pasta dishes. You can also choose from an extensive wine list featuring selection from both local and Italian producers.
Using seasonal ingredients from local farmers to craft the menu, La Toque chef Ken Frank cooks up modern French cuisine. Pick from the table menu or the vegetable menu, featuring specialties like the beer-battered Alaskan halibut and the ricotta-espelette pepper ravioli. You can opt for the wine pairing - a seasoned sommelier will choose the best wine for your meal from an assortment of styles and flavors. Enjoy your meal in the warm atmosphere of the dining room, and get a table by the glowing fireplace if you’re lucky.
Renowned chef Thomas Keller designs the French bistro menu at Bouchon. Try some of the specialties of the raw bar, or choose from classic dishes like the the mussels meuniere, foie gras pate and steak frites. The dining room has a beautiful Parisian motif that feels like you’ve been transported to France. Next door, you’ll find the bistro’s authentic boulangerie, where you can pick up French breads and pastries to go.
étoile is the restaurant counterpart of Domaine Chandon, one of Napa Valley’s most renowned wineries. The French-infused California cuisine is the brainchild of chef Perry Hoffman, who focuses on creating seasonally inspired cuisine that pairs perfectly with local wines. In fact, Hoffman works intimately with the winemakers of Chandon to create foods that complement their wine flavors.
Bistro Jeanty serves up classic French fare at its quaint, neighborhood bistro location. It’s the only restaurant in Napa Valley operated by French owners, and it touts the most authentic Parisian experience in the area. Eat in the casual yet elegant countryside-style dining room while you delight in traditional meals like the beef daube, coq au vin or warm lamb tongue salad.