Ashes & Diamonds Winery
4130 Howard Ln., Napa
Sitting somewhere between a community gathering hub and a winery, Ashes & Diamonds, a new Napa Valley-owned spot by Kashy Khaledi is looking to shake things up. Khaledi cut his teeth as an ad exec at the likes of Capitol Records and MTV before deciding to get into the wine business. The first clue that Ashes & Diamond is unlike any other winery in the Napa Valley is the design: porthole windows, stark white facade, and mid-century modern furnishings are a nod to the Napa Valley of the 1960s thanks to LA-based architect Barbara Bestor. As for the wine itself, Khaledi brought in organic and biodynamic wine makers Steve Matthiasson and Diana Snowden Seysses who are churning out a particularly good Blanc (a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon from three vineyards in the Oak Knoll District and Yountville). And, in a true nod to his music roots, Khaledi tapped Brian Roettinger, who concepted the album cover of Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail, to design the wine labels. Their yearly membership program starts at three bottles ($345), and perks include access to the "leaders and conspirators" conversation series, plus,…
540 Main St., Napa
The relaxing setting on the patio is one of the main draws of this bistro-style restaurant. Located in the Hatt Building, an historic 1890s ship chandlery, the space has the feel of a French brasserie. The menu is solid, with French favorites such as duck confit and roast chicken.
1339 Pearl St., Napa
To dine here it so indulge in authenticity and flavor, as well as minimalism.
FARM at Carneros
4048 Sonoma Hwy., Napa
Nestled between the Napa and Sonoma Valley, the FARM, the Carneros Resort's warm, though undoubtedly fancier dining option (the other is the roadhouse-style Boon Fly Café) is known for its stellar farm-to-table line-up. Much of the menu is dictated by what's seasonally thriving, so that may be heirloom tomatoes, little baby lettuce, beets, and carrots; meats and fish come from nearby farms, including the Bay Area. Napa-raised chef Aaron Meneghelli's dishes are a nod to his Italian roots, too, with orecchiette pasta, ricotta gnocchi and summer squash, and Urbani truffled burrata being some of our favorites to order. (There's also a gorgeously plated five-course tasting menu if you want to go all in.) The wine list is obviously impressive too, and the cellar features some 490-plus options, including Carneros bottles plus many other sustainable and biodynamically farmed options.
The Boon Fly Café
4048 Sonoma Hwy., Napa
In this red barn right on the Carneros Resort property, weekend brunch is a major thing, both for visitors and locals, thanks to diner favorites like green eggs and ham, a triple stack of griddle cakes, and breakfast tacos—despite it not taking reservations. (Oh, and a bacon Bloody Mary, obviously.) If you have to be in and out, don't miss the made-to-order cinnamon doughnuts or scones.
Napa River Inn, 500 Main St., Napa
Greg Cole (the former Executive Chef and owner) originally came to Napa to work for Chef Jeanty (of Bistro Jeanty fame) in the kitchen at Domaine Chandon. This spring, he and his wife sold their share in this cozy restaurant to their long-time General Manager and Chef de Cuisine Marcos Uribe took over as head chef. Not to worry—Uribe has been trained by Cole over many years, and we've heard the menu and food quality are still just as good.
Hog Island Oyster Co.
Oxbow Public Market, 610 First St., Napa
Napa is a short drive from some of the country's best oyster beds, so it's worth taking a break from all of the farm-to-table vegetables to check out the offerings from the nearby ocean. If you have time, head over to Point Reyes National Seashore and stop at their oyster farm for a taste of the bounty fresh out of the ocean.
1314 McKinstry St., Napa
Chef Ken Frank's formal bistro in the Westin Verasa Hotel is the embodiment of the traditional, old-school Napa dining experience. In addition to the nine-course tasting menu, we recommend springing for the wine pairing here—it's totally worth it and a great opportunity to see how the region's best wines hold up in a dining setting.
610 Main St., Napa
Masaharu Morimoto is best known as the original Iron Chef, though his restaurants are actually even better than the TV hype. The vibe here is more urban than you'd find at other restaurants in the valley since it's right downtown in Napa. Meanwhile, the Asian food is also a nice way to break up the local California cuisine.
1425 First St., Napa
Although the interior at this spot is a little Napa-quirky (think green leather and lime and orange-striped banquettes), they serve up unshakably good Italian right in the center of downtown. The pasta recipes are creative and original, and the pizza crusts are the perfect, slightly chewy Neapolitan consistency.
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