Oakville Grocery: 7856 St. Helena Hightway (Route 29) - (707) 944-8802.
The valley's original high-end sandwich and cheese shop. Also features a good selection of other prepared foods and local wines. Can get very busy on weekends and holidays. Hours: daily, exprresso bar opens 7am, everything else, 9am-5:30pm.
Auberge Du Soleil: 180 Rutherfort Hill Road - (707) 963 -
There are two restaurants at the famous Auberge du Soleil. Both sport the best views of any restaurant in Napa Valley. But for a quick, casual bite - or just an afternoon apéritif - Auberge's terrace and bar can't beat. Great beer list too. No reservations are required here, although they are recommended for the more formal restaurant next door. Hours: daily, 1130am-dinner.
There is far more to this restaurant than a great view. (And it is, definitely, the best restaurant view in the valley.) The French- and Mediterranean-influenced menu is expertly executed in the kitchen, which also turns out a fine country-style spread for breakfast. For luch or dinner, the wine list features some 1,500 selections, with hard-to-find gems that will please even the most demanding enophiles, Hours: breakfast, 7-11am, daily; lunch 11:30am-2:30am daily; dinner Sun.-Thurs, 6-9:30pm; Frid. and Sat. 5:30-9:30pm. Entrée: prix fixe $79, a la carte $30-38. Wine list: 1,500 international wines. Corkage: $30, waived with additional purchase from wine list.
Dean & Deluca: 607 South St. Helena Hightway (Route 29) -
The nationally known gourmet shop is located just south of town. Its cheese selection is renowned, but it also offers a fine selection of prepared food, salads and sandwiches - just right for picnic. Hours: daiily, 9am-7pm.
Angèle Restaurant and Bar: 540 Main Street - (707)
In the best French country tradition, this snappy little restaurant in the old section of town sits at the edge of the Napa River. Angèle serves up straightforward, fresh flavors couched in easy elegance. Owned by the family that built Auberge du Soleil. Hours: 11:30am-10pm. Entrée: $11-24. Corkcage: $15, waived with additional purchase from the wine list.
Don Giovanni: 4410 St. Helena Hightway (Route 29) - (707)
Set at the northern edge of Napa town, this vineyard-side locate is also known as the power-brokers' favorite luch haunt. Here's where you'll see a collection of the Valley's cognosceti making deals as they chow down on some really good Italian comfort food. Pizzas and pastas are, of cource, excellent. But so are the many more fine-tuned entrées that strike a Tuscan chord at the gateway to wine country. Hours: daily, 11:30am-10pm. Entrées: $16-24. Wine list: 300 wines. Napa Valley focused, with Italian twist. Corkage: $15, waived with additional purchase from wine list.
Julia Kitchen At Copia: 500 First Street - (707) 265-7500.
Named for Julia Child and set in the impressive Copia Center for Food, Wine and the Arts, this restaurant features many dishes with ingredients culled from the Center's organic gardens. The cuisine is French, in large part, with a nod to New American and Asian traditions. Renowned Los Ageles-based Chef Joachim Splichal has been instrumental in setting the tone, with the participation of his Patina Group. Hours: luch, 11:30am-3:30pm, Wed.-Mon; diner, Thus._Sun, 5:30-9:30pm. Entrée: $18-27. Wine list: 150 wines; international. Corkage: $29, waived with additional purchase from wine list.
Bistro Jeanty: 6510 Washington Street - (707) 944-0103.
Talented French Chef Philipe Jeanty opened this quaint dining spot some years back after his 20-years run at Domaine Chandon's restaurant. The atmosphere is oh-so French, and the cuisine is redolent of the sights and smells one associates with Paris and the northern parts of Frances. Lots of richly textured, buttery dishes that are perfect when washed down with any of the fine local or French wines on the list. Hours: daily, 11:30ap-10:30pm. Entrée" $12-26. Winle list: 150 wines, heavy on California and France. Corkage: $15 per bottle.
Bouchon: 6534 Washington Street - (707)
Another French-inspired restaurant, but this one is owned by American chef Thomas Keller of French Laundry fame. It's his more relaxed endeavor, with an emphasis on fresh seafood and solid bistro cooking. Hours:daily, 11:30am-12:30am. Entrée:$15-27. Wine list: 130 wines; international. Corkage: $15.
Brix: 7377 St. Helena Hightway (Route 29) - (707)
Named after the measurement used to determine sugar content in ripening grapes. Brix offers a seasonal California cusine to match its grape-oriented identity. Not surprisingly, the wine list is very California-centric. Hours: daily, 11:30am-9:30pm; Sun, brunch 10:am-2pm; dinner 4-9pm. Entrée: $17-31. Wine list 620 wines, California focused. Corkage: $15 per bottle.
The French Laundry: 6640 Washington Street (at Creek
Street) - (707)
944-2380. (Reservation must be made two months in advance.)
Is it really that good? In a word, yes. Chef/owner Thomas Keller hasn't remained at the top of America's culinary pyramid for the last decade by default. He and his partner, Laura Cunningham, have created one of the New World's most extraordinary temples of fine dining. The Napa Valley setting couldn't be more appropriate, as the restaurant offers a seamless food and wine experience. Don't expect to eat and run, however. Your meal will be exquisitely time consuming. And seriuosly folks, if you're on a budget, consider dining elsewhere. This kind of culinary quality doesn't come cheap. Even corkage tops the charts at $50. But the wine list is recomnsurate with the menu. You'll drink as well as you eat.
The Restaurant at Domaine Chandon: One California Drive
(The veterans Home exit off Route 29) - (707)
After 26 years, this lovely restaurant, couched in an idyllic setting at Domaine Chandon winery, continues to serve up some of the valley's best and most sophisticated fare. Chef Ron Boyd is in charge of the kitchen, and has a culinary flair uncommon to someone only 30 years old. He deftly borrows from many traditions to create an intriguing style all his own. Domaine Chandon may be best known for its bubbly, but the restaurant wine cellar holds an electic selection of some 5,000 still wines, most from California. Hours: Thurs.-Mon. 11:30am-2pm; 6-9pm. Closed Tues. and Wed. Entrée: $22-34. Corkage: $20.