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Napa/Sonoma restaurants

Wine is the most civilized thing in the world.
– Ernest Hemingway

$1 - €0.91
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Photo by Kali Stamp / Courtesy of Oenotri

Ad Hoc

  • Yountville, New American, Southern, $$$$ $$$
  • 6476 Washington St.
  • Yountville, CA, 94599
  • +1-707-944-2487
  • Website

A laid-back alternative to Thomas Keller's high-end French Laundry (that nobody can get into anyway). The decor is understated and meals are served family style (get the buttermilk fried chicken). From May through October, pick up a boxed lunch to go before your vineyard tours at Addendum.

Aventine

  • Glen Ellen, Italian, $$$$ $$
  • 14301 Arnold Dr.
  • Glen Ellen, CA, 95442
  • +1-707-934-8911
  • Website

Snag a seat, wine in hand, on the outdoor patio of this rustic farm-to-table osteria on Sonoma Creek. No less enjoyable than the food is the service: casual but attentive, as warm and generous as the act of bringing someone food should be.

Bottega

  • Yountville, Italian, $$$$ $$$
  • V Marketplace, 6525 Washington St.
  • Yountville, CA, 94599
  • +1-707-945-1050
  • Website

With Murano glass chandeliers, Venetian plaster, and Calacatta d'Oro marble, the rustic Italian spot still manages to look right at home on one of Napa's oldest winery estates. The scene is always bustling and the service is incredible. Oh yes, and let's not forget Michael Chiarello’s bold and beloved plates. 

Bouchon

  • Yountville, French, $$$$ $$$
  • 6534 Washington St.
  • Yountville, CA, 94559
  • +1-707-944-8037
  • Website

Every single tourist in town can’t be wrong. Leave them to their fussy multi-course meal while you make a power play for the bar. Celebrate with oysters, fries, champagne, and their very innovative Vin de Carafe program of local wines made exclusively for the restaurant unavailable anywhere else.

Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen

  • St. Helena, New American, $$$$ $$
  • 1327 Railroad Ave.
  • St. Helena, CA, 94574
  • +1-707-963-1200
  • Website

If you're looking for something more classic Napa-style for lunch, this place is Martha Stewart-meets-Frida Kahlo, the mojitos are the best.

Cook St. Helena

  • St. Helena, Italian, $$$$ $$
  • 1310 Main St.
  • St. Helena, CA, 94574
  • +1-707-963-7088
  • Website

Warm and welcoming unpretentious local hang with a rustic Italian menu to match. There’s always homemade pastas and silky pannacotta to build a comforting meal around. All you need is a cliff to your norm.

Evangeline

  • Calistoga, Creole, $$$$ $$
  • 1226 Washington St.
  • Calistoga, CA, 94515
  • +1-707-341-3131
  • Website

A bustling French-Creole bistro serving up fresh takes on classic bistro fare, think a croque Marin with "millionaire's bacon" or a blue crab bisque. Lines can get long, but time will fly by at the bar with inventive New Orleans-inspired cocktails and approachable wines.

Fremont Diner

  • Sonoma, Southern, $$$$ $$
  • 2698 Fremont Dr.
  • Sonoma, CA, 95476
  • +1-707-938-7370
  • Website | Email

A farm-to-southern-fried-pit-stop on the outskirts of town. Piping hot coffee, cornbread with maple butter, old fashioned grits, and hearty bowls of peppered brisket hash fortify, though it’s easy to veer in the direction of root beer floats and fried apple pies.

The Girl & The Fig

  • Sonoma, American, $$$$ $$$
  • 110 W. Spain St.
  • Sonoma, CA, 95476
  • +1-707-938-3634
  • Website

A Sonoma mainstay offering rustic, provencal-inspired cuisine. Go for their signature salad of figs and arugula, stay for the last-meal-of-your-life-good quiche.

Gott's Roadside

  • Napa, American, $$$$ $$
  • 644 First St.
  • Napa, CA, 94559
  • +1-707-224-6900
  • Website

The hamburger: revered by live-to-eat enthusiasts and their eat-to-live (yawn) counterparts alike. The Western Bacon Blue Ring (onion ring, point reyes blue cheese, bacon, pickles, red onion, and bbq sauce) burger on an egg bun will give them something to talk about while they wait for a table.

Heritage Eats

  • Napa, Sandwich Shop, $$$$ $
  • 3824 Bel Aire Plaza
  • Napa, CA, 94558
  • +1-707-226-3287
  • Website

Low-key and super local. Drop by the fast-casual spot for globally inspired sandwiches and tacos — you can't go wrong with the hefty grilled lemongrass pork bánh mì on crunchy Dutch rolls or the Jamaican jerk chicken bao.

The Model Bakery

  • Napa, Bakery, $$$$ $$
  • 644 First St., Building B.,
  • Napa, CA, 94559
  • +1-707-259-1128
  • Website

Break bread with the locals. By night, crusty artisan loaves from this brick-ovened institution grace the side plates of the best restaurants in town. By day, crisp-edged english muffins slathered with butter and eggy breakfast sandwiches soak up debauchery from the night before.

Morimoto

  • Napa, Japanese, $$$$ $$$
  • 610 Main St.
  • Napa, CA, 94559
  • +1-707-252-1600
  • Website

The Iron Chef's eponymous sushi spot in downtown Napa draws locals and visitors for splurge meals like the omakase or raw bar tower, or for a more affordable meal of tacos and sake on the buzzing outdoor patio. All come for the signature tuna pizza.

Oenotri

  • Napa, Italian, $$$$ $$$
  • 1425 First St.
  • Napa, CA, 94559
  • +1-707-252-1022
  • Website

Crispy margarita pizzas from the wood-fired oven, bowls of house-made pasta, nearly 20 types of house-cured salami, and a deep Italian wine list present a real problem: making sure you’re hungry enough to really flex the many cheesy, carby, winey options. One solution: go for dinner, come back for lunch.

Sam's Social Club

  • Calistoga, New American, $$$$ $$$
  • 1712 Lincoln Ave.
  • Calistoga, CA, 94515
  • 7079424913
  • Website

The mid-century-style new restaurant in Indian Springs serves rustic American cuisine. Nurse a cherry-sweetened Moscow Mule by the outdoor fire pit, or have a seat inside at the more intimate, art-filled bar and lounge.

Shed

  • Healdsburg, New American, $$$$ $$
  • 25 North St.
  • Healdsburg, CA, 95448
  • +1-707-431-7433
  • Website

To say that everything here is fresh, gorgeous, and delicious almost misses the point. It's locavore heaven. The market stocks everything: prepared foods, fresh flowers, cookbooks, produce, you name it, and the café serves farm-to-table goodness, much of it grown by the owners. Head to the fermentation bar for house-made kombucha or a flight of shrubs — old colonial-era concoctions made from macerated herbs, vinegars, fruits, and soda.

Two Birds One Stone

  • St. Helena, Japanese, $$$$ $$
  • 3020 St. Helena Hwy N.
  • St. Helena, CA, 94574
  • +1-707-302-3777
  • Website

At this California-inspired yakitori restaurant, a pair of Top Chef alums take a boldly unconventional approach to wine service —complimentary corkage on one bottle of Napa or Sonoma wine, and only ten limited-edition vintages created exclusively for the restaurant by a local winemaker.

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