16 World-Class Restaurants in Napa and Sonoma Wine Country

In this heralded region, these restaurants’ lists go above and beyond
16 World-Class Restaurants in Napa and Sonoma Wine Country
Sweeping views of the surrounding vineyards are the icing on the cake at Best of Award of Excellence winner Auberge du Soleil. (Alex Farnum)
Aug 18, 2016

Updated: Aug. 15, 2019

If you're visiting California wine country, the whole point is to drink and eat well. It takes a special kind of restaurant, then, to go above and beyond the region’s standard for dining excellence. These 16 restaurants in Napa and Sonoma are a cut above the rest, be it for their vineyard views, their championing of producers both local and global, or their creative renditions of all types of cuisine.

This is only a partial guide to Napa and Sonoma dining. To check out more great wine dining spots there and across the globe, see Wine Spectator’s nearly 3,800 Restaurant Award–winning picks, including the full list of our winners in Napa and Sonoma wine country, plus the 100 Grand Award recipients that hold our highest honor worldwide.

Do you have a favorite you’d like to see on this list? Send your recommendations to restaurantawards@mshanken.com. We want to hear from you!


The French Laundry

6640 Washington St., Yountville, Calif.
Telephone (707) 944-2380
Website www.frenchlaundry.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Grand Award

A fish dish at the French Laundry
Deborah Jones
Chef Thomas Keller’s artful French-meets-Californian cuisine is world-renowned.

It’s near impossible to talk about wine country restaurants without talking about the French Laundry, chef Thomas Keller’s lauded shrine for Californian fine dining. The $325, French-infused tasting menu of 12 courses is executed by chef David Breeden, and there’s also a vegetarian version—both are heavily seasonal and change daily. Run by head sommelier Erik Johnson, the wine program has held a Grand Award for more than a decade, with 2,400 selections supported by a 15,000-bottle cellar. The offerings excel in regions across the globe, primarily California, as well as Burgundy, Bordeaux, the Rhône, Italy and Germany. Keller also owns another Napa Restaurant Award winner featured in this guide, Bouchon, plus another Bouchon in Las Vegas, Per Se in New York and the Surf Club Restaurant in Surfside, Fla.


La Toque

The Westin Verasa Napa, 1314 McKinstry St., Napa, Calif.
Telephone (707) 257-5157
Website www.latoque.com
Open Dinner, daily
Grand Award

Philip Harvey
Wine director Richard Matuszczak's cellar spans 24,000 bottles at Grand Award winner La Toque.

Located just off the Napa River, La Toque is a downtown Napa wine paradise. Chef Ken Frank’s contemporary French cuisine can be enjoyed in four to nine courses, with optional wine pairings, while a six-course vegetable tasting menu is also available. The 2,220-selection wine list, captained by wine director Richard Matuszczak, pays homage to both its California surroundings and French culinary influences. “We like having local wines,” says Matuszczak—the list contains more than 400 Napa Cabernets alone. “But our food covers a wide range of styles and cuisines and cultures, and so does our wine program for the pairings.”


The Restaurant at Meadowood

Meadowood Napa Valley, 900 Meadowood Lane, St. Helena, Calif.
Telephone (707) 967-1205
Website www.therestaurantatmeadowood.com
Open Dinner, Tuesday to Saturday
Grand Award

Entrance to the Restaurant at Meadowood
Alanna Hale
The Restaurant at Meadowood celebrates the region’s vintners with an emphasis on local labels.

The Restaurant at Meadowood is a particularly wine-focused tasting-menu destination, with a 2,915-selection, Grand Award winning list. Wine director Micah Clark’s program comes with a mission: to tell the history of Napa Valley’s evolution into a premier wine region by showcasing labels through a range of decades. That means an abundance of impressive verticals from leading producers such as Grgich Hills, Heitz, Caymus, Bond, Diamond Creek and many more. Beyond California, the wine list also excels in France, especially Burgundy and Champagne. Choose from chef Christopher Kostow’s tasting menu of nine courses for $330 or the chef’s counter menu for $500. Both make use of the property’s 2.5-acre Culinary Farm and have wine pairings available for an additional $250 per person.


Auberge Du Soleil Restaurant

Auberge du Soleil, 180 Rutherford Hill Road, Rutherford, Calif.
Telephone (707) 963-1211
Website www.aubergedusoleil.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

The dining room at Auberge Du Soleil Restaurant
Auberge Du Soleil Restaurant
A Restaurant Award winner since 1992, the views at Auberge du Soleil are timeless.

From its perch on a hillside in Rutherford, Auberge du Soleil has been a wine-country dining destination for over 30 years. Offering panoramic views of the surrounding valley from its expansive outdoor dining area, the restaurant provides an ideal place for wine lovers to unwind. The 1,215-selection Best of Award of Excellence–winning list is managed by Kris Margerum and focuses on bottles from California and France (especially Burgundy and Bordeaux), while chef Robert Curry’s prix-fixe menus draw on Mediterranean flavors and local ingredients. After dinner, choose from a variety of Sherries, Madeiras and Vintage Ports, along with California dessert wines.


Barndiva Restaurant & Gallery Bar

231 Center St., Healdsburg, Calif.
Telephone (707) 431-0100
Website www.barndiva.com
Open Lunch and dinner, Wednesday to Sunday
Best of Award of Excellence

Sara Sanger
Day or night, Barndiva's charming setting and impressive wine list make it a top Sonoma dining destination.

Whether you fancy lunch on the patio or a late-night drink, Barndiva is a fashionable destination in the Sonoma town of Healdsburg. Situated in a chic cedar barn and featuring a sleek mahogany bar, the establishment has serious food-and-wine chops. Wine director Chappy Cottrell’s 670-selection, moderately priced list earns a Best of Award of Excellence for its local picks balanced with California and French bottles, while chef Mark Hopper’s creations make use of plenty of seafood, roasted meats and produce from the Barndiva farm. Among the gems on the list, guests will find a vertical of Chateau Montelena Calistoga Cabernet, as well as a large selection of sparkling wines and Champagnes.


Bouchon

6534 Washington St., Yountville, Calif.
Telephone (707) 944-8037
Website www.thomaskeller.com/bouchonyountville
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

A classic French bistro with a Napa twist, Bouchon Yountville has been earning Restaurant Awards for over a decade.

Another favorite from Thomas Keller, Bouchon brings the chef’s famed French bistro fare to Yountville. With another Restaurant Award–winning location in Las Vegas, the Napa County outpost offers a list of 500 selections with strengths in Californian and French bottles (especially Burgundy). When it comes to the cuisine, chef David Hodson’s menu channels Keller’s French classics, including steak frites, roast chicken and croque madame.


Compline Wine Bar and Restaurant

1300 First St., Napa, Calif.
Telephone (707) 492-8150
Website www.complinewine.com
Open Lunch and dinner, Wednesday to Monday
Best of Award of Excellence

The wine bar at Compline Wine Bar and Restaurant
Compline Wine Bar and Restaurant
Compline Wine Bar and Restaurant contains multiple concepts under one roof.

Compline Wine Bar and Restaurant is a Best of Award of Excellence–winning dining destination with an affordable on-site retail shop. The 175 retail selections typically range from $10 to $40. They’re generally more adventurous picks than those on the dining-room wine list, which comprises 575 labels strongest in classic regions like California, France (especially Burgundy) and Italy. The wine program and its supporting 3,500-bottle cellar are managed by co-owners and co-wine directors Matt Stamp (a Master Sommelier) and Ryan Stetins. In the kitchen, chef Yancy Windsperger crafts Californian-focused American cuisine, with seasonal dishes like summer bean salad and duck breast with duck confit and vegetables.


Dry Creek Kitchen

Hotel Healdsburg, 317 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, Calif.
Telephone (707) 431-0330
Website www.drycreekkitchen.com
Open Dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Paige Green
With a list packed with local gems and a central Healdsburg setting, Dry Creek Kitchen embodies wine country charm.

In the Hotel Healdsburg, just off the town plaza, Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen champions its Sonoma surroundings on both its menu and its wine list. A Best of Award of Excellence winner since 2002, wine director Jeff Creamer’s 610-bottle list highlights both up-and-coming producers from the region and rare local gems, including a vertical of A. Rafanelli’s Terrace Select Cabernet and another of Morlet Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley Mon Chevalier. Palmer’s contemporary American menu is inspired by local farmers; after dinner, an array of California cheeses are available to pair with the selection of local dessert wines.


SingleThread Farms

131 North St., Healdsburg, Calif.
Telephone (707) 723-4646
Website www.singlethreadfarms.com
Open Lunch and dinner, Wednesday to Monday
Best of Award of Excellence

A dish at SingleThread Farms
Eric Wolfinger
SingleThread Farms sources ingredients on-site for its refined Californian tasting menu.

SingleThread Farms creates a memorable, almost immersive Sonoma dining experience. The property includes a luxurious boutique inn, a farm that produces flowers, eggs, honey, olive oil, produce and more, and a restaurant that carefully honors those ingredients. Japanese influences are evident on the $275, 11-course tasting menu from chef-owner Kyle Connaughton, which is available with optional wine pairings for $270 each. Wine director Evan Hufford oversees the extensive list. The 1,500 selections feature a plethora of California and French wines, especially Burgundy, which Hufford finds particularly interesting to compare to its New World counterparts. The Bordeaux collection stands out as well, with showstoppers like a 47-vintage vertical of Château Latour going back to the 1940s and a 35-vintage vertical of Château Mouton-Rothschild going back to the 1970s.


Bistro Jeanty

6510 Washington St., Yountville, Calif.
Telephone (707) 944-0103
Website www.bistrojeanty.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

Bistro Jeanty
A Napa institution, Bistro Jeanty has been capturing diners' hearts since 1998.

Champagne native Philippe Jeanty’s Bistro Jeanty in the Napa town of Yountville is an artful marriage of French and California influences. Chef Gregory Short’s menu is as classic as they come, with favorites such as coq au vin, boeuf Bourguignon, cassoulet and a generous assortment of French cheeses gracing the menu. When it comes to wine, will you go Old World or New? The 260-selection Award of Excellence–winning wine list offers an abundance on either path, providing plenty of Napa options alongside French bottles.


Harvest Table

Harvest Inn, 1 Main St., St. Helena, Calif.
Telephone (707) 967-4695
Website www.harvesttablenapa.com
Open Dinner, Tuesday to Sunday; lunch, Wednesday to Sunday
Award of Excellence

Paige Green
Harvest Table's list of global and local wines is matched with dishes featuring fresh produce from its own gardens.

With five culinary gardens adjacent to the restaurant, Harvest Table at the Harvest Inn lives up to its name. Divided into snacks, starters, salads and mains, chef Spencer Wolff’s menu makes full use of the restaurant’s fresh produce, as well as products from nearby farms and ranches. Choose among bottles from California, France, Italy and Germany on the 200-selection Award of Excellence–winning wine list managed by wine director Shawn Chilvers. With alfresco dining terraces overlooking the property’s green spaces, an evening here is an immersive experience in Northern California dining.


John Ash & Co.

Vintners Inn, 4330 Barnes Road, Santa Rosa, Calif.
Telephone (707) 527-7687
Website www.vintnersinn.com
Open Dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

The dining room at Josh Ash & Co.
John Ash & Co.
Choose from a tasting or à la carte menu at John Ash & Co.

Surrounded by stunning Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc vineyards at Santa Rosa’s Vintners Inn, you’ll find Award of Excellence winner John Ash & Co. Wine director Sean Brosnihan’s list currently offers 300 selections, most of which are sourced from Sonoma County wineries. A variety of small plates, charcuterie and cheeses are available on chef Thomas Schmidt’s menu, complementing an array of grilled and roasted meats and seafood. You can also opt for the four-course tasting menu with optional wine pairings.


Kenzo Napa

1339 Pearl St., Napa, Calif.
Telephone (707) 294-2049
Website www.kenzonapa.com
Open Dinner, Tuesday to Sunday
Award of Excellence

Entrance to Kenzo Napa
Kenzo Napa
Kenzo Napa brings minimalist, Japanese elegance to California wine country.

From the owners of Kenzo winery in southeast Napa comes this Award of Excellence–winning destination for fine wine and Japanese fare. Kenzo Napa is an intimate spot—just 27 seats—where chef Kenji Miyaishi’s cuisine is presented through a 10-course, $225 tasting menu. Pair Miyaishi’s transportive creations with the 105-selection wine list overseen by general manager Tomonori Iwao. California and France are the stars of the program and, of course, you’ll find an array of Kenzo bottlings (with two flights available) as well as sake.


Solbar

Solage Calistoga, 755 Silverado Trail, Calistoga, Calif.
Telephone (707) 226-0850
Website www.aubergeresorts.com/solage
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

Home to a 20,000-square-foot spa, including a geothermal spring–heated mineral pool and a mud bar, Solage Calistoga, at the northern end of Napa Valley, provides a serene escape for many city dwellers. Let the pampering continue at Solbar, which has earned an Award of Excellence since 2011 for its program strong in California and international bottlings. Managed by wine director Joe Zapata, the moderately priced list offers more than two dozen wines by the glass, as well as a “Hot Sheet” of staff favorites. Chef Gustavo Rios prepares an elegant menu equally divided between lighter spa dishes, featuring locally grown produce, and heartier comfort foods.


Valette

355 Center St., Healdsburg, Calif.
Telephone (707) 473-0946
Website www.valettehealdsburg.com/
Open Dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

Alanna Hale
At Valette, brothers and co-owners Dustin Valette and Aaron Garzini make a point to feature local wines and ingredients.

The longtime dream of brothers Dustin Valette and Aaron Garzini, Valette champions nearby producers to create a quintessentially Sonoma wine-and-dining experience. Garzini’s moderately priced wine list offers 145 selections, emphasizing bottles from Sonoma and its surrounding counties. When it comes to cuisine, chef Valette’s contemporary American fare provides an apt match for the beverage list, showcasing local meats, cheeses and produce; a multicourse “Trust Me” tasting menu is also available for guests seeking culinary surprises.


Veraison

1457 Lincoln Ave., Calistoga, Calif.
Telephone (707) 942-5938
Website www.veraisoncalistoga.com
Open Dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

Charcuterie at Veraison
Veraison
Veraison offers house-made charcuterie in customizable boards of three, five or seven selections.

At Veraison, both the menu and wine list draw influences from around the world but emphasize California. Chef James Richmond highlights local ingredients through a diverse range of entrées, plus vegetable sides that change seasonally. Overseen by owner and wine director Daniel Kaiser, the wine list is built to be accessible and guest-friendly; headers such as “Crisp, Clean & Bright” and “Dark, Spicy, Smokey” introduce each section. The moderately priced, 150 selections focus on France in addition to California, representing producers like M. Chapoutier and Weinbach. For fans of aged Napa Cabernet Sauvignons, off-the-list picks from older vintages are available at their original retail prices each week during Veraison’s “Throwback Thursdays” promotion.


Keep up with the latest restaurant news from our award winners: Subscribe to our free Private Guide to Dining newsletter, and follow us on Twitter at @WSRestoAwards and Instagram at @WSRestaurantAwards.

Dining Out Restaurant Awards United States California Napa Sonoma Restaurants

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