Now is not the time to start a diet: ditch your guilt and follow the foodies along Napa Valley’s Gourmet Mile! In the land of culinary riches that is Napa Valley, Yountville, a small town has big reputation for exceptional cuisine and extraordinary wine. Located in the heart of Napa, about an hour drive from San Francisco, the dining tables of some of America’s most celebrated chefs are within walking distance of one another.
In fact, Yountville boasts more Michelin-starred restaurants within the city limits of the town than anywhere in the world.
You’ll find plenty of sassy shops, antique stores, a full service spa, bike rentals, wineries for tasting and hot-air balloon rides.
But foodies know Yountville best for its hedonistic dinning.
The culinary competition is fierce within a one mile radius in this little town and you really can’t go wrong with any of the stellar restaurants.
Where to dine?
The French Laundry is known as the “temple of gastronomy” and has been awarded Three Stars, the highest rating, in the Michelin Guide. It is considered by many to be the finest restaurant in the United States. Reservations are often made months and months in advance, but once in a while they actually get a cancellation and the vacancy could be yours. Ask your hotel concierge for help. Reservations got even harder when Chef Thomas Keller was named the top chef in America by the James Beard Foundation. Then the New York Times called the Laundry the “most exciting restaurant in the United States.”
Down the street, a more affordable option and easier to get into than the French Laundry, the elegantly Parisian-style Bistro Bouchon offers reliable, irresistible classic French fare.
Bouchon has been awarded One Star in the Michelin Guide. The renowned Chef Keller creates bistro classics as well as daily specials. Sit at the bar and sip champagne and slup fresh oysters sourced from local and worldwide locations. Don’t miss the foi gras, mussels with thin French fries, and of course, the classic French onion soup. You’ll want to come back for seconds.
Redd’s chef is Richard Reddington, formerly at Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford, Masa’s in San Francisco at Spago in Beverly Hills pleases guests with special tasting menus of five to nine courses. Redd’s also has the coveted One Star in the Michelin Guide.
Bottega – one of our favorites — is a quintessential Napa Valley hot spot, with indoor and patio dining. Lontime Napa resident, Chef Chiarello is the celebrated Emmy-winning host of Food Network’s Easy Entertaining and owner of Chiarello Family Vineyards. Chef Chiarello teases the tastebuds with fabulous, creative Italian cuisine.
Bistro Jeanty (we recommend the warm foi gras, beef bourguignon and the crepe suzette), Brix Restaurant and Gardens, Ad Hoc and Hurley’s are also worthy of praise.
When to go?
Anytime. Winter in wine country is quiet and bucolic with no crowds and light traffic. The valley begins to warm up in March when the yellow, wild mustard starts to bloom and the daytime temperatures reach the low 60’s. April through October is the most crowded times to visit. In any season it’s wise to book your hotel and get dinning reservations in advance.
Sleep, Spa, Shop at the Vintage Estate
The Vintage Estate boasts two award-winning boutique hotels – Vintage Inn and Villagio Inn and Spa. At the Villagio, flowing waterways weave through lush green gardens and olive groves, past the heated pool with private cabanas, to a setting accented by vineyards, fountains and statues at the French and Tuscany themed properties. A complimentary bottle of Chardonnay welcomes you to a spacious room with cozy fireplace, oversize whirlpool tub, and the finest linens. Complimentary afternoon tea service and champagne breakfast – featuring warm bread pudding with crème Anglaise – and an abundance of local products.