St. Helena Restaurants
1915 Main Street, St. Helena
Chef Chris Cosentino has earned a reputation as one of the culinary world's top talents (he's held his own in the TV sphere as the winner of Top Chef Masters). At Acacia House, his penchant for classic American dishes is evident on the menu. For the vegetarians among us, the whole roasted eggplant is exceptional, finished with capers, pistachios, and blistered tomatoes. If you're looking for a heartier protein, go for the Striped Bass. And if you happen to find yourself tiring of wine, there's an inventive cocktail list from which to choose, which includes a traditional Mexico City margarita.
Two Birds/One Stone
3020 St. Helena Highway N., St. Helena
We love a good yakitori dish, so naturally we were curious to try this restaurant when it opened last summer. It delivers, to say the least, and offers a refreshing (and much-needed) Asian twist to Napa's culinary scene. The duo behind it has serious chops (Douglas Keane and Sang Yoon, from the now-closed Michelin-starred Cyrus and LA's Father's Office, respectively), proving their talent by using local woods to infuse the grill with flavor unique to the area. We especially like the laid-back vibe of the staff that welcomes walk-ins with the same ease as anyone with a reservation (an anomaly, at times, in Napa). Check out their happy hour event Monday and Friday.
The Charter Oak
1050 Charter Oak Ave., St. Helena
New-ish kid on the block, The Charter Oak, is the highly anticipated follow-up from Christopher Kostow and Nathaniel Dorn, who previously earned three Michelin stars for the Restaurant at Meadowood. Located in the former Tra Vigne, lovingly run by Michael Chiarello for some 30-plus years, the space has undergone a soup-to-nuts renovation (the iconic lion statues outside still remain) and the result is a warm brick-and-wood interior, a substantial patio, and a more casual family-style menu. Chef Katianna Hong takes the helm of this restaurant that elevates the art of simple American food. (And we mean simple: Most of the dishes feature minimal ingredients and are meant to be shared.) This means, hearth roasted figs with local honey for starters, coal roasted cabbage, and cauliflower with a mushroom au jus. It's gaining in popularity, so be sure to snag reservations ahead of time.
Cook St. Helena
1310 Main St., St. Helena
Snag a spot at the long, low, white marble bar at this local favorite where you can look right into the open kitchen. The rustic California-style menu offers up dishes like a whole fish and gorgeous heirloom tomatoes that don't need to be served with anything but olive oil. We can get behind that.
Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen
1327 Railroad Ave., St. Helena
Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen (named for Chef Cindy Pawlcyn who, with a James Beard award under her belt, is a big name on Napa's food scene) is housed in a cool little 1920's building that used to be a bordello. The menu is a nice mix, with items that feel elevated, but not too fancy to keep it from being a neighborhood joint. Pawlcyn makes great use of the restaurant's wood-fired oven with duck meatballs and braised pork shoulder, or try classics like the avocado and papaya salad or the lobster cobbler.
738 Main St., St. Helena
With a large, open dining room and casual vibe, Farmstead is our pick for big groups or for when you're traveling with kiddos—the fried chicken Tuesdays are a family favorite.
La Condesa (Closed)
1320 Main St., St. Helena
When you can't stomach another glass of red wine, stop by La Condesa for expertly mixed margaritas and California-style Mexican. The fresh seafood (we love the ceviche and fish tacos) makes the menu a standout, and it's right downtown in St. Helena, meaning it's an easy dinner spot where you can mingle with other tourists and locals alike. Hang out in their bar on the weekends for live music from local bands.
576 St. Helena Hwy, St. Helena
This contemporary-feeling steakhouse is right off the St. Helena Highway, but it's way more than a roadside joint. The interior is really sleek, meaning it feels a little more New York than Napa, and your fellow diners will be dressed accordingly. It's the kind of place where you'll want to indulge in the really high quality meat—we go straight for a bone-in ribeye.
The Restaurant at Meadowood
900 Meadowood Ln., St. Helena
Meadowood is one of the most luxurious spots in the region, so it's only fitting that its restaurant is decadent and opulent enough to live up to the hotel. Christopher Kostow's program, which is a traditional nine-course tasting menu, has been Michelin-starred for several years in a row. And while it might seem trite to discuss décor in a place where the food is the focus, the subtle, elegant design of this spot is a perfect fit for the cuisine.
1345 Railroad Ave., St. Helena
Restaurant Terra has garnered countless Michelin stars since 2007, but we're partial to its more casual little sister, Bar Terra, the exposed brick walls and leather banquettes here make for a comfortable, intimate setting. It's a small but creative menu with a subtle Asian influence, offering signature ramen and broiled, sake-marinated black cod. They also have a great selection of small plates for sharing.
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