Bistro Don Giovanni
4110 Howard Ln., Napa
This place is right off Highway 29, and if you're not looking carefully you could drive right by it. Bistro Don Giovanni is known for classic Italian fare, with excellent homemade pasta—the fettuccine Bolognese with duck ragu is a must-order. Ask to sit outside in the charming garden space.
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.
Oxbow Public Market, 644 First St., Napa
A requirement every time we're in Napa, Gott's Roadside is basically a fancy diner with unbelievable food. In other words, it's perfect for kids and a Napa-quality meal without the white tablecloths. There are also several other locations in Northern California including St. Helena and San Francisco.
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.
1339 Pearl St, Napa,
To dine here it so indulge in authenticity and flavor, as well as minimalism.
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.
7399 St. Helena Hwy, Napa
Cindy Pawlcyn was a big part of the first generation of chefs who established Napa as a culinary destination, and her casual grill has been equally loved by tourists and locals for the 30 years since. Order the Mongolian pork chop and onion rings, and take advantage of their wine list, which is surprisingly comprehensive for such a laid-back spot.
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.
6480 Washington St., Napa
Richard Reddington has had stints at a dizzying array of good restaurants: he worked for Daniel Boulud at Daniel, for Wolfgang Puck at Spago (he was the Sous Chef that helped open the restaurant), and was the Executive Chef at Auberge du Soleil for several years before striking out on his own with two great Napa restaurants. The space here is wide and airy with an industrial warehouse feel, and the food is excellent. Do as the locals do and order your meal from the bar.
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