When traveling to the area for the first time, many tourists have a deep fear of missing out on the best places to wine and dine. Here’s an insider-perspective on the best places to eat in the heart of California’s beautiful wine country.
With hundreds of wineries, restaurants, and cafes, you’re probably wondering, “Where should I eat in Napa?”. Here’s a list of the best restaurants in Napa, CA:
The Best Places to Eat in Napa:
- Bistro Don Giovanni
- Bounty Hunter
- Napa Valley Bistro
- Galpao Gaucho Brazilian Steakhouse
- The Boon Fly Cafe
Looking for the inside scoop on Napa’s best restaurants? You came to the right place.
Bistro Don Giovanni
First on the list is Bistro Don Giovanni. This rustic Italian bistro offers a comfy patio with vineyard views and creates an atmosphere that’s perfect for any night out. The must-try items on the menu include Mama Concetta’s meatballs and Pollo alla Diavola. You won’t go wrong with pasta at Don Giovanni’s either. They even have gluten free pasta options for the gluten intolerant in your group.
In addition to hand-crafted Italian dishes, you’ll find a wine list here that’s second to none. After 20 years as a Napa staple, Bistro Don Giovanni continues to be the epitome of fine dining in Napa. Our insider tip? Make sure to head to Bistro Don Giovanni after 6 pm to avoid the dinner rush. Don’t worry, they’re open late!
Next up, we have Bounty Hunter. Bounty Hunter offers regional barbecue favorites like pulled pork, smoked brisket, and St. Louis-style ribs in a rustic-chic atmosphere.
For a sampling of what Bounty Hunter has to offer, try a barbecue platter — they’re perfect for sharing. The signature dish on their menu? The Bounty Hunter signature Beer Can Chicken. It’s a whole chicken slathered in cajun spices and perched atop a can of Tecate, ready for enjoyment of the fullest extent.
You can pair anything from the menu with a perfectly-matched selection from their extensive craft beer and wine list. Swing by their happy hour from 3-6pm Monday through Friday and you’ll find some spectacular 2-for-1 specials on wine and beer.
Napa Valley Bistro
Napa Valley Bistro has everything you’d expect from a top-rated Napa restaurant: an interesting menu featuring fresh, organic ingredients, a top-notch wine selection, and rotating specialty dishes that keep customers coming back.
The type of cuisine here can only be described as “Californian”, and is chock full of fresh vegetables, local meats, and seafood from the nearby coast. Must-try dishes include the Fallon Hills lamb burger and the potato mascarpone gnocchi.
Well-known for its menu alone, Napa Valley Bistro gets an extra bonus for their five-star service. The staff here really go above and beyond in order to make your dining experience extra special. If you’re in town over the weekend, don’t miss their Sunday brunch with delicious offerings such as the smoked salmon eggs benedict and their fresh Dungeness crab skillet.
Galpao Gaucho Brazilian Steakhouse
Make sure to bring your appetite to Galpao Gaucho Brazilian Steakhouse. Located on the outskirts of Napa, just north of Union, this all-you-can-eat steakhouse offers over 17 different cuts of flame-broiled meat, grilled in the traditional Gaucho style of Brazil. Waitstaff whisk platter after platter of meats, sides, salad, and dessert, so service is always quick and your plate will never be empty.
At Galpao Gaucho, it’s difficult to not fill up on the salad bar alone, but pacing yourself is a must if you plan on trying a little bit of everything. A fan favorite by far is the spicy picanha top sirloin, which boasts a crisp outside and a perfectly cooked interior definitely makes it worth the trip.
The Boon Fly Cafe
Located at The Carneros Inn, The Boon Fly Cafe is a cozy brunch spot that fills its menu with eclectic California diner favorites. You’ll find this popular roadhouse-like spot situated in a contemporary barn-style building, the perfect place to pay homage to the local flavors of the California harvest.
The Boon Fly is known to have a line out the door during peak hours, so plan accordingly. Locals tout the quick and friendly service but mourn the lack of parking.
Must-have dishes include the fluffy mini donuts, their take on eggs benedict, and the breakfast tacos. Though it’s best-known for brunch, the Boon Fly also offers menus for meals later in the day and will take reservations for dinner service.
Fine Dining in Napa
Looking for a fine dining experience in Napa, CA? As of 2018, the Napa, California area is home to four Michelin-rated restaurants. A Michelin star is awarded to only the finest restaurants in the world. A restaurant may be awarded between zero and three stars.
According to Michelin, the meaning of the star rating system is as follows: one star represents “a very good restaurant. Two stars represent “Excellent cooking, worth a detour”, and three stars stand for “Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”.
Here is where you should eat in Napa, CA if you’re looking for a Michelin star experience.
Located in the Westin Verasa Napa, La Toque boasts french-inspired Californian cuisine offered a variety of multiple course setups. With Chef Ken Frank at the helm, expect an impressive wine list and knowledgeable staff to guide you through this fine dining experience.
La Toque has received rave reviews for their tuna tartare, clams with apple vinaigrette, crostini with foie gras, and their beef carpaccio. As of the 2019 Michelin Guide, La Toque was awarded one Michelin star.
As of 2019, Kenzo Napa holds one Michelin star. Their Japanese cuisine is universally known to be elegant and inventive, with menus broken down into two styles of fare: Sushi Kaiseki and Kaiseki. The former offers spaced-out small plates of traditional edomae sushi dishes while the latter offers the best of cooked Japanese cuisine.
Chef Kenzo Tsujimoto along with his wife Natsuko designed this restaurant in typical Japanese minimalism, allowing the visitor to focus on the fine flavors and delicate presentations of the various plates. Don’t miss the Wagyu tenderloin or the Shinjo dumpling, both are a credit to their chef and country.
Located just outside Napa in Yountville, Bouchon Bistro offers French delicacies from the kitchen of Thomas Keller. Home to a single Michelin star, Bouchon breaks down French masterpieces into the fundamentals of fine French cooking.
Along with escargot and braised lamb, you can’t miss with Bouchon’s menu. With a bakery next door, even the bread is first class, so don’t miss the pain d’epi.
The French Laundry
Last, but certainly not least, The French Laundry is Chef Thomas Keller’s masterpiece. It boasts a creme-de-la-creme kitchen that turns out wildly fresh French classics that wow critics year after year.
Must-try dishes include oysters with white sturgeon caviar and the Scottish sea trout. The only restaurant in the Napa area that can boast three Michelin stars, The French Laundry is a fine dining experience that can’t be missed.
Which Napa Valley Restaurants Have the Best Local Wine Selections?
For the wine-lovers of the world, visiting Napa is a no-brainer. Once you’re done hitting the major viticulture spots for wine-tasting, continue your wine tour at several wine bars in the Napa area, most of which offer spectacular food pairings as well. Here are some of the best wine bars in Napa, CA.
This wine bar is known for its California-centric wine selection and its eclectic menu that offers everything from charred octopus to the heirloom tomato salad.
This wine bar and bottle shop attract visitors and locals alike with its contemporary atmosphere and award-winning wine selection. With many selections priced between $10 and $40 a bottle, this reasonably priced shop also offers small plates and delicious entrees with California fare.
This cozily situated wine spot offers selections you won’t find anywhere else in Napa. This best-kept secret is vintner owned and operated, and offers thoughtful food pairings in a truly exclusive atmosphere.
How many wineries are there in Napa, CA?
The Napa Valley is home to over 500 wineries. Napa, California is known as the capital of California’s Wine Country.
Where should I stay in Napa, CA?
Here are a few of the top-rated hotels in Napa, CA: