The Best Napa Valley Restaurants
The Napa Valley has long been a destination to taste some of the world’s best wines. Vineyards dot Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail, up rolling hills and down into the bucolic valley. Wineries have become so prolific in this appellation that it would take several months to visit every single one, even if you managed 7-8 per day! But in addition to the excellent wines, this valley has become a foodie haven. Napa Valley restaurants are now destinations in and of themselves, from little roadside diners to Michelin-starred eateries.
We have, over the course of several years, had meals at many of the highly lauded restaurants in the Napa Valley. Out of the 20 restaurants listed here we’ve had the great pleasure of eating at 13 of them. Friends often ask Peter and I for recommendations on where to eat and it’s always a difficult choice to pair it down to just 3 or 4 that they could fit into a weekend. So, I wanted to put together a list of those that we feel are worth your time, your palate, and your pocketbook.
I’ve assembled these Napa Valley restaurants based on price, as there are many culinary delights to be found across the spectrum, from gluten-free tacos at a stand in Oxbow Public Market to the famed French Laundry.
So if you are headed to Napa Valley and want to try something new, be sure to check out these Napa Valley restaurants.
A note of warning: Many of these restaurants require reservations, often 3-6 months or more in advance. If there is a particular restaurant you have to try, book the date and work your trip around that special meal especially during the peak season!
Affordable Napa Valley Restaurants ($)
We’ll start with the cheap eats. Yes, Napa Valley restaurants do include affordable fare, contrary to French Laundry and Morimoto prices. These eateries help budget travelers afford fancy wine tastings, allow drunken revelers to refuel on some carbs and coffee, and let locals have some good food without breaking the bank. Whether you’re looking for breakfast, lunch or dinner, there’s sure to be something in this price range that will appeal to your palate and your pocketbook.
1207 Foothill Blvd, Calistoga
Buster’s Original Southern Barbeque roadside stand has gained quite the reputation for its authentic Southern flavors. Serving lunch and dinner, Buster’s has traditional offerings of ribs, pulled pork, pork loin, tri-tip, chicken, and hotlinks, along with some tasty sides. Fun to watch Buster working the huge wood-fired racks!
C Casa ($)
610 1st St, Suite 6, Napa
Located in the Oxbow Public Market, this casual restaurant centers on Mexican cuisine with a twist. It’s completely gluten-free, offers vegetarian and vegan options, along with meat (including buffalo), fish/seafood, and poultry. Tortillas are made to order, whether you are there for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Note: Oxbow Public Market is a foodie paradise, featuring local purveyors, take-out food, and sit-down restaurants. Vendors include Hog Island Oyster, Fatted Calf, Model Bakery, Ritual Coffee Roasters, Three Twins Ice Cream, and many more. Worth a visit, for sure!
Gott’s Roadside ($)
933 Main St (Hwy 29), St. Helena
This St. Helena institution started out life as Taylor’s Refresher in the 1940s. Now called Gott’s Roadside, this old-fashioned roadside stand offers burgers (plain and upscale), fries, and some darn good shakes. The patio is a great place to nosh and watch the traffic crawl by, and it’s dog-friendly.
Note: There is also a Gott’s Roadside at Oxbow Public Market.
1400 Oak Avenue, St. Helena
948 Main Street Napa
You might have to hunt to find the St. Helena location, but it’s worth it. Small batch roasting yields some might tasty beans (to take home) and make for some great coffee drinks available on site. Brewed, pour overs, espresso drinks, iced or hot, every type of coffee concoction is available here.
Mid-Range Napa Valley Restaurants ($$)
You can enjoy fine dining at restaurants in the Napa Valley without spending a fortune. Here are several moderately priced restaurants serving some outrageously good food, from brunch to burgers, satay to salmon.
429 Main St (Hwy 29), St. Helena
Opened in 2015, this restaurant has fast become the go-to place for brunch on the weekends. Also open for lunch and dinner, the food is tasty, inventive, and absolutely palate pleasing.
Goose & Gander ($$)
1245 Spring St, St. Helena
Located on a side street off Highway 29, this gem of a restaurant serves up some flavorful food and unique cocktails for both lunch and dinner. Have some small bites and craft beer downstairs in the pub, or sit upstairs for a delicious meal.
Mango on Main ($$)
1142 Main St, Napa
This is a small Thai restaurant downtown open for lunch and dinner, with a thoroughly authentic flavor sensibility. From street food classics to typical satays and curries, you’ll be pleased with the menu. (And it’s very vegetarian and vegan-friendly, too!)
1367 Main St (Hwy 29), St. Helena
If chocolate is your thing, this is the place to go. Artfully decorated, beautifully presented, and heaven in the mouth, this confectionary offers dozens of chocolate and sugar-based delectables. Pick and choose your own assortment of standard and unique flavors, or grab one (or more) of their boxed goodies to take home.
Expensive Napa Valley Restaurants ($$$)
The majority of my recommendations fall into this category. It is, by far, the price point where the majority of Napa Valley restaurants subscribe. Here you will find some of the most talked about eateries and chefs, all worthy of the press they garner.
Bistro Don Giovanni ($$$)
4110 Howard Lane, Napa
This traditional Italian eatery serves up some of the best pasta in the Valley. Open for lunch and dinner, everything from pizza to pesto is made from locally sourced ingredients. Dine inside or alfresco on the patio.
6510 Washington St, Yountville
A Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand award winner, for 20 years this restaurant has remained a staple of classic French cuisine in the Valley. From coq au vin, cassoulet, steak frites and duck confit, you’ll get excellent quality food that will transport you to its European roots.
6534 Washington St, Yountville
Another Michelin-starred Napa Valley restaurant, with French bistro fare coming out of famed chef Thomas Keller’s kitchen. Partake is traditional items including escargot, foie gras, trout amandine, and boudin blanc, as well as some lovely seasonal offerings and excellent baked goods. Serving breakfast, brunch, and dinner.
Note: Next door is Bouchon Bakery, also worth a visit. Try their traditional baguettes, breakfast pastries, decadent desserts, French macarons, or order off their take-out menu for a picnic lunch.
500 Main St, Napa
This riverfront restaurant focuses on “Global Comfort food” (per their website), and that is an accurate description. Well-prepared, artfully plated, and seasonally influenced, there is sure to be something on the menu to please everyone, with the seafood options often the star of the meal.
738 Main St, St. Helena
Part of a working ranch, this farm-to-table restaurant features New American cuisine with an emphasis on comfort food. Many of the ingredients for the menu are grown and harvested at the ranch specifically for Farmstead, and the freshness shows. Serving lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, you’ll love the relaxed atmosphere, and for something different, try eating at one of the communal tables!
6528 Yount St, Yountville
Located within Bardessono’s Hotel, this New American restaurant offers field-to-fork fare all day long, meaning breakfast, brunch (check out the Bloody Mary bar), lunch, and dinner. With an onsite garden, you get fresh, healthy, and tasty food presented by Chef Nate Lindsay.
6480 Washington St, Yountville
Named after its chef, Richard Reddington, this Napa Valley restaurant offers new American cuisine in a comfortable atmosphere. Open for dinner daily and brunch/lunch on Friday/Saturday/Sunday, you’ll enjoy great quality food and service here, whether you order off the menu or opt for the tasting menu.
755 Silverado Trail, Calistoga
Featuring New American cuisine, this restaurant is off the beaten path a bit at the end of the Valley within the Solange Hotel. Chef Brandon Sharp has earned a Michelin star with his seasonal fare. Relaxed atmosphere, great mixologist with tasty concoctions and, because they are within a hotel, they serve breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.
Splurge Worthy Napa Valley Restaurants ($$$$)
This is the category reserved for once-in-a-lifetime memories (for most of us). The Napa Valley restaurants in this category are often Michelin-starred, created/owned by famous chefs, and worthy of every penny you spend. They may be hard to get reservations at, but book one for 6 months down the road and get started saving those hard-earned dollars. You won’t be disappointed.
Auberge de Soleil ($$$$)
180 Rutherford Hill, Rutherford
Located on the same property as its namesake hotel and spa, this restaurant effortlessly blends California and French cuisines. Offering breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as weekend brunch, the food is fresh and bright. You have the option of tasting menus during brunch or dinner, and you won’t be disappointed with either one.
The French Laundry ($$$$)
6640 Washington St, Yountville
Three Michelin stars. Need I say more? Thomas Keller’s famed Napa Valley restaurant is one hot ticket, with a complicated reservation process. Choose from their ever-changing dinner menu or opt for the 9-course Chef’s Tasting Menu ($310/pp). Neither will disappoint.
Morimoto Napa ($$$$)
610 Main St, Napa
Famed Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto opened an outpost of his famed Japanese restaurant in the heart of Napa, serving lunch and dinner. As you would expect, dishes are Japanese in origin or inspiration, many served in unique and unexpected ways, with the visually striking décor adding to the experience.
The Restaurant at Meadowood ($$$$)
900 Meadowood Ln, St. Helena
Worthy of every one of its three Michelin stars, this restaurant serves an 11-course blind tasting menu. That’s right, no menu is presented until the meal is complete, so there is anticipation, intrigue, and (usually) several wrong guesses on what you’re actually eating. But the food is spectacular (much of it farm to table), artfully presented, and will be thoroughly imprinted forever on your taste buds.
I hope this post helps you plan your restaurants accordingly!
If it’s your first time visiting this amazing destination make sure to read; The Best Napa Valley Wineries for First-Time Visitors.
If you’re looking to have some food with your wine tastings I’ve also compiled the The Best Napa Wineries for Food and Wine Tasting Experiences .