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13 World-Class Restaurants in Napa and Sonoma Wine Country

In this heralded region, these restaurants’ lists go above and beyond
Photo by: Alex Farnum
Sweeping views of the surrounding vineyards are the icing on the cake at Best of Award of Excellence winner Auberge du Soleil.

Posted: August 18, 2016

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 13 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. Other spots on the North Coast with great wine lists have appeared in past Restaurant Guides: the French Laundry in Yountville, the Restaurant at Meadowood and Press in St. Helena and Oenotri in Napa.

To check out more great wine dining spots across the globe, see Wine Spectator’s more than 3,700 Restaurant Award–winning picks, including the full list of our winners in Napa and Sonoma wine country, plus the 91 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!


La Toque

The Westin Verasa Napa, 1314 McKinstry St., Napa
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 2,130-selection wine list earned its first Grand Award in 2014; captained by wine director Richard Matuszczak, the program pays homage to both its California surroundings and French culinary influences. “We like having local wines,” says Matuszczak—the list contains 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.”


1313 Main Restaurant & Wine Bar

1313 Main St., Napa
Telephone (707) 258-1313
Website www.1313main.com
Open Dinner, Tuesday to Sunday
Best of Award of Excellence

Tubay Yabut
The outdoor dining space at 1313 Main provides an ambient setting to enjoy your wine pick for the evening.

With a list running to 1,500 wines, including an array of aged bottles, Best of Award of Excellence winner 1313 Main Restaurant & Wine Bar does not disappoint when it comes to selection. Owner Al Jabarin has long sold wine online and at a Napa retail shop in addition to at this hip, modern restaurant. Chef Adam Ross’ innovative New American cuisine highlights seasonal ingredients in both his tasting menu and his multicourse dinner offerings, while wine director Jordan Nova’s list champions bottles from California as well as Burgundy, Bordeaux and Italy.


Auberge du Soleil Restaurant

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

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 1,295-selection Best of Award of Excellence–winning list is curated by Kris Margerum and focuses on bottles from California, Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhône, 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

231 Center St., Healdsburg
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. Alexis Iaconis’ 350-selection, moderately priced list earns a Best of Award of Excellence for its local picks balanced with French bottles, while chef Ryan Fancher’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 back to 1980, as well as a large selection of sparkling wines and Champagnes.


Dry Creek Kitchen

Hotel Healdsburg, 317 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg
Telephone (707) 431-0300
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 Rolando Maldonado’s 500-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 dating back to 1998 and magnums of Williams Selyem Allen Vineyard Pinot Noir back to 1991. Palmer’s contemporary American tasting menu is inspired by local farmers; after dinner, an array of California cheeses are available to pair with the selection of local dessert wines.


Farm

The Carneros Inn, 4048 Sonoma Highway, Napa
Telephone (707) 299-4880
Website www.farmatthecarnerosinn.com
Open Dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Carneros Inn
The elegant dining room at Farm showcases its extensive wine collection.

Immerse yourself in California wine country at Farm, located within the agri-chic Carneros Inn complex. The Best of Award of Excellence–winning restaurant echoes the estate's modern but comfortable feel, with warm lighting, high ceilings and cozy corner tables for couples. Chef Aaron Meneghelli’s California cuisine is locally sourced, while the moderately priced wine list, recently taken over by Zion Curiel, holds 490 options, including a generous selection of Carneros bottlings and plenty of sustainably, organically and biodynamically farmed picks.


Bistro Jeanty

6510 Washington St., Yountville
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 opening in 1998.

Champagne native Philippe Jeanty’s Bistro Jeanty in the Napa town of Yountville is an artful marriage of French and California influences. Chef Jeanty’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 340-selection Award of Excellence–winning wine list offers an abundance on either path, providing plenty of Napa options alongside French bottles.


Bouchon

6534 Washington St., Yountville
Telephone (707) 944-8037
Website www.thomaskeller.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
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 iconic French bistro fare to Yountville. One of three Restaurant Award–winning locations across the West Coast, including Bouchon Las Vegas and Bouchon in Beverly Hills, the Napa County outpost offers a list of 300 selections from beverage director Sean Dawson, with strengths in Californian and French bottles, as well as a "vin de carafe" program, which sources a rotating selection of wines in barrel from the cellars of featured local wine producers. When it comes to the cuisine, chef Ross Melling’s menu channels Keller’s French classics, including steak frites, roast chicken, croque madame and pot de crème.


Carpe Diem Wine Bar

1001 Second St., Napa
Telephone (707) 224-0800
Website www.carpediemwinebar.com
Open Dinner, daily [closed Sundays December–May]
Award of Excellence

For an eclectic wine bar in downtown Napa, head to Carpe Diem. There, treat yourself to an array of California wines and an impressive selection of small plates ranging from artisanal cheeses and flatbreads to an ever-changing chef’s selection of tacos. The moderately priced list, guided by wine director Jim Foster, has earned an Award of Excellence since 2013; today, guests can choose from 275 selections, over 40 of which are available by the glass. For an alternative to vino, the restaurant also offers a selection of beers on tap from its own Carpe Diem Brewing Company.


Harvest Table

Harvest Inn by Charlie Palmer, 1 Main St., St. Helena
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 by Charlie Palmer lives up to its name. Divided into snacks, starters and plates, chef Levi Mezick’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, Portugal and Germany on the 285-selection Award of Excellence–winning wine list curated by Lauren Helm. With al fresco 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
Telephone (707) 527-7687
Website www.vintnersinn
Open Dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

Surrounded by stunning Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc vineyards at Santa Rosa’s Vintners Inn, you’ll find Award of Excellence winner John Ash & Co. The wine program has earned a Restaurant Award each year since 1987; Brandon Schrey’s list currently offers 360 selections, over 275 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 Chef’s Tasting menu with optional wine pairings.


Solbar

Solage Calistoga, 755 Silverado Trail, Calistoga
Telephone (707) 226-0850
Website www.solagecalistoga.com
OpenLunch and dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

At Solbar, chef Brandon Sharp's take on California soul food features seasonal ingredients.

Home to a 20,000-square-foot spa, including a geothermal spring–heated mineral pool and a mud bar, the 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 Scott Turnbull, the moderately priced list offers half a dozen wines on tap, as well as “A Stone’s Throw,” a special section of the list devoted to wineries “within shouting distance.” Chef Brandon Sharp executes an elegant menu equally divided between lighter spa dishes, featuring locally grown produce, and heartier comfort foods.


Valette

355 Center St., Healdsburg
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. Earning its first Award of Excellence in 2016, Garzini’s moderately priced wine list offers 125 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.

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