Conceived by chef Thomas Keller, this restaurant in Yountville is a great alternative if you cannot get reservations to the French Laundry. The daily-changing menu focuses on American comfort food and is a four-course, fixed-price. It’s delicious and informal.
Swanson vineyard’s Alexis Traina Swanson recommends:
“Michael Chiarello’s Bottega is a favorite. After the French Laundry, it is the most hard-to-come-by reservation in town and worth the wait.” Philip Kendall, a resident of St. Helena and the vice president of Carneros Inn and Plumpjack resorts, agrees, saying Bottega is always a hip scene with great food. For lunch, there’s a nice al fresco dining terrace.
Beth Nickel of Far Niente winery calls Cindy Pawclyn, the owner of this organic-heavy American grill, a “Napa icon” herself. (Since Mustard Grill’s inception 24 years ago, Pawclyn has captured the heart of casual, refined diners in tandem with her two other Napa ventures: the California-casual Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen and her most recent, the seafood-and-sushi haven Go Fish.) Much like the Kelleher family’s Brix, also in Yountville, Pawclyn’s menu depends on the 2 acres of farmed gardens that surround it. But Pawclyn takes green thinking further. Her garden is fertilized naturally and its plantings are considerably more substantial and diverse. Think eggplant, zucchini blossoms, French melons and purple potatoes in the summer. Winter holds richer offerings: root vegetables, Swiss chard, cheddar cauliflower and fava beans. And of course, meats and seafood off the grill are well-loved among regulars: try the seared Ahi tuna on sesame crackers or the BBQ baby back ribs. It’s been said that Mustards Grill is where you go in Napa when you want to eat and you want to eat well. It’s hearty but healthy fare, made with fresh thinking and classic style.
This romantic St. Helena restaurant has been a mainstay in the Napa dining scene since chefs Lissa Doumani and Hiro Sone opened it in 1988. The dining room and menus were given a serious revamp in 2010, leading San Francisco Chronicle food critic Michael Bauer to rave: “The ‘new’ Terra is better than ever.” The larger of the two dining spaces is Bar Terra, where diners can sample from a long wine and cocktail list as well as from small-plate menu. The smaller and more elegant space is Terra restaurant where Sone’s innovative dishes shine. This is a great place for a quiet dinner à deux.