“The Gourmet Mile” in Yountville, a small town with a 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 walk 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.
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 60 days in advance, but once in a while they actually get a cancellation and the vacancy could be yours. 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.”
A more affordable option and easier to get into than the French Laundry, the Parisian Bistro Bouchon offers reliable, irresistible classic French fare. Bouchon has been awarded One Star in the Michelin Guide. Don’t miss the 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, where celebrity chef Michael Chiarello showcases creative Italian cuisine.
Bistro Jeanty (we recommend the coq au vin 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
Sleep, Spa, Shop at the Vintage Estate
The Vintage Estate boasts two award-winning boutique hotels – Vintage Inn and Villagio Inn & Spa – the luxurious Spa Villagio; Restaurant Boteggo; and specialty shops of V Marketplace. 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 feature an abundance of local products.
The Spa Villagio is a haven for rest and relaxation in a garden setting with fountains and olive groves. Pamper yourself with the 100-minute “Aromasoul Mediterranean Ritual”. A scrub infused with basil, mandarin orange and lemon blended in jojoba oil, revitalizes even the most weary traveler. It is followed by a body wrap and full body massage.
Shopping meets the wine country lifestyle at the specialty shops in V Marketplace. Stroll through the 1870’s building for beauty and bath products, vintage clothing wine and wine accessories, or gifts to take home for family and friends. The variety of cooking accessories, gourmet olive oils, salts and cookbooks at NapaStyle will tempt you to buy gifts for all your girlfriends.
Planning Your Trip
Yountville Chamber of Commerce
Villagio Inn & Spa or Vintage Inn
** Thank you WineCountry.com and Brent Miller for use of the photos.