We all know famed Napa Valley restaurants French Laundry and Meadowood, and boy do we love them. But our local pockets (as much as we would like to) can’t handle a 5-course meal every day. So where do we go? And more importantly, what do we eat when they go there? There are endless options for exciting and innovative fare, so to sum up here is a wine country insider short list:
Farmstead restaurant is located in a former nursery barn with a gorgeous open central kitchen. “Farm” actually meaning coming from their farms in this case, their ingredients are often forged just a couple steps outside of the restaurant. Farmstead is a local favorite; everything on their menu is fresh comfort food. But their Gnocchi is boss. The juxtaposing of flavor is unreal: Mushrooms, squash, red onion, broccoli with crispy fried squash and pomegranates on top. They don’t actually list this on the menu but ask for it, you won’t regret it. Side note: Try the mini ham sandwiches as an appetizer. The title is down play, what you receive is warm house-made cheddar biscuits with prosciutto and pepper-jelly inside.
Goose & Gander restaurants has a downstairs bar where their mixologists whip up inventive cocktails and serve tasty bar bites such as duck fat fries. You heard me. DUCK. FAT. I am not sure if you would constitute this as a full on “dish”, however when paired with a huckleberry gin cocktail. I’m sure you won’t be left wanting.
Solbar, the restaurant attached to the Solage Resort in Calistoga offers the best brunch/lunch in town. Sit out on their sunny patio overlooking their enticing pool surrounded by palm trees and order their fish tacos. These crispy delights come with sweet and sour cabbage, cilantro and spicy aioli on warm tortillas. For dinner, the lucky pig is the go-to dish. This pig is meant to share and comes in a big pot with with toppings for you to create your own perfect bite. Peanut sauce, vermicelli-and-carrot salad, roasted peanuts, lightly pickled pineapple slices, jalapenos, basil, cilantro, mint and finally, a black sesame-studded pancakes or a leaf of lettuce to wrap all that goodness in.
Norman Rose Tavern is situated right in the heart of Downtown Napa and offers a modern pub atmosphere. Take a seat at the bar and order the burger with everything on it. This dish is definitely for those up to a challenge as once everything is on it the eating part proves a tad difficult. “Everything” consists of: cheese of your choice, lettuce, tomato, avocado relish, grilled onions, sautéed mushrooms, smoked bacon and a fried egg. We believe in you.
Mustards Grill, a longtime staple in Napa Valley has been around for over 30 years. This was a one of a kind back in the day, they were farm-to-table before it was a thing. “Heaping, honest, American fare” is how they describe their cuisine; and their famous Mongolian Pork Chop is exactly that. You simply cannot go to Mustards without ordering this massive chop.
Location: Mustards Grill, 7399 St. Helena Highway Napa
Monday through Thursday, 11:30 AM – 9:00 PM
Friday, 11:30 AM – 10:00 PM
Saturday, 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Sunday, 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM