One of the things I missed the most while we were under SIP orders was dining out at some of my favorite restaurants. Napa Valley is home to some of the best food and chefs in the world! The experience is a little different now but these restaurants and their teams make it as comfortable for their guests as possible. Here are some of my favorites:
It gets better every time we go. A fairly small menu, but everything is exceptional. This casual fine dining spot is in St. Helena and its worth the trip up valley. They also have their own culinary garden. What to get: We always get the Wings, as there's usually a different recipe every week for chicken wings from chef friends around the world. The Bread ($10 for a large loaf) with the best butter you can slather on freshly baked beautiful bread. And there's also the mains which are usually prepared in the wood-fired oven visible to all in the restaurant. Steak, chicken or fish. And if you just can't decide, let the chef do it for you. Order the Family Dinner for the table. You can't go wrong. Amazingly kid-friendly, the high chairs look like bar stools and they've got kid portions. Last time I went they gave my toddler house-made play-doh that smelled like lemons. Don't forget the cocktails for yourself. Reservations highly recommended here far in advance.
This wonderful Italian favorite is a staple in Yountville. A great wine list or bring your own. Pasta alla St. Michael - whole goose egg potato gnocchi with confit duck egg yolk, duck prosciutto and duck fat asparagus. Another favorite is the Bucatini Aglio y Olio con Frutta di Mare. The menu does change but these dishes stay on. Although seating is not guaranteed to be inside or outside, you can let them know your preference and generally you will be graciously accommodated. They have a full bar so get your Aperol Spritz for that full Tuscany experience - in Napa. Reservations are highly recommended.
FRIED CHICKEN. Only the best ever. People break diets for this. Get the whole bucket $50 and have leftovers. (You may not.) Each crunchy crumb and juicy tender morsel is entirely worth the calories and price. A casual and consistent favorite, you can order online or walk up to their kiosk. I usually take this home and during the whole ride home I am tempted to pull over to grab a piece. The BBQ Ribs are also worth a mention and for a splurge, the Lobster Roll. Addendum also has outdoor seating under shade trees so feel free to grab a spot. Wines are also available for purchase. Yountville. Open only Wednesday through Sunday. Check the hours. Order online.
Favorites here include whatever fresh oysters they have that day, Clam Steamers in a tomatillo salsa broth with sausage, Steamed Mussels in a red curry broth and their smoked salmon. Although I generally prefer raw fresh oysters, try the Grilled Oysters with Garlic and Parsley Butter. Nom. Make sure you put some of their Hogwash on your fresh oysters. And if they have raw clams, that's amazing too. First come, first serve on their patio at Oxbow. Or if you're staying in the area, order online for pick up.
Also located in the same V Marketplace as Bottega, Coqueta offers one of the best outdoor dining & drinking experiences in the Spanish style. Do order a beautiful cocktail (like the Lisbon Shore Leave or a Port of Spain) from their bar or a carafe of Sangria. How to order? Start with some Pintxos to go with your cocktail, then make sure you order both cold and hot tapas. Some of our favorites are Huevos Nacionales - basically deviled eggs, Patatas Bravas, Croquetas de Pollo and Albondigas de Feria. If you're really hungry, also get El Gran Plat Cap (charcuterie and cheese platter) - don't miss getting something from the wood grill - usually the tomahawk Ribeye to share or the Sea Bass and they usually have one other special meat or seafood. If you don't want something from the grill, you're going to have to get a Paella! They're all delicious, just pick one. I personally really like the Paella Mar Y Montana - Chorizo and Seafood. Make reservations.
Located in downtown Napa by the river, Angèle offers a casual French-style menu, but I have to tell you, my favorite from them is their Angèle Hamburger and get all the extras! If you don't order it, make sure your dining partner does, because otherwise you'll be jealous when they bring it out to your neighbors. For starters, the Pate de Campagne is a great shareable item. Lighter fare and for lunch - the Niçoise Salad with Tuna Confit, Moules Frites are amazing. If the have Croque Monsieur, do that too. Also for dinner, do get the Roasted Half Chicken. It's awesome. Reservations highly recommended!