Wake Up Call
Where to enjoy the best breakfasts in Wine Country.
by Jill Silverman Hough
There’s nothing like waking up in Wine Country, with the promise of a perfect day ahead. So, why not indulge in an amazing breakfast? Whether you like to ease into the day with coffee and a fresh-baked scone, or you’re up for a three-course brunch, here are the spots to start your day off right.
Alexis Baking Company and Café
The venue: Sweet neighborhood café and bakery on the edge of downtown Napa.
The food: The menu is small, but every dish is a winner. On a summer visit, lemon ricotta pancakes came garnished with peaches so amazing we knew they were from the farmers market (in fact, it’s not unusual to see Alexis making café purchases there). The popular breakfast sandwich includes fluffy eggs, ham, and cheese piled onto a house-made potato bun.
The prices (entrées): $6.95–$12.95.
The details: Breakfast Mon.–Fri. 7 a.m.–3 p.m., Sat. 7:30 a.m.–3 p.m., Sun. 8 a.m.–2 p.m. 1517 Third St., Napa, (707) 258-1827, alexisbaking
Auberge du Soleil
The venue: One of the most elegant dining spots in Wine Country, with a stunning view of the valley.
The food: Exquisite but not overly fussy. Breakfast includes brioche French toast and smoked salmon breakfast pizza. If you really want to indulge, go for weekend brunch: The three-course prix fixe is incredible, with both breakfast and lunch options, including a Maine lobster omelet.
The prices (entrées): $16–$28 ($58 prix fixe for brunch).
The details: Breakfast Mon.–Sun. 7 a.m.–
11 p.m., brunch Sat. and Sun. 11:30 a.m.–
2:30 p.m. 180 Rutherford Hill Rd., Rutherford, (707) 963-1211, aubergedusoleil.com.
The venue: French boulangerie, where every item is perfect.
The food: Even if you’re eating elsewhere, stop here for a postbreakfast or prebrunch treat. Choose from croissants, muffins, brioche, and other amazing breakfast pastries, or just go straight for dessert and have a macaron or two. Or three.
The prices (pastries): $2.50–$4.50.
The details: Mon.–Sun. 7 a.m.–7 p.m. 6528 Washington St., Yountville, (707) 944-2253, bouchonbakery.com.
The venue: Comfortable neighborhood diner/café right on the main drag.
The food: Familiar, enjoyable vittles served up quickly by friendly people. All your breakfast favorites, plus create-your-own omelets and scrambles, with fillings that include grilled salmon, sun-dried tomatoes, and Vella jalapeño jack cheese.
The prices (entrées): $6.50–$12.50.
The details: Breakfast Mon.–Sun. 7 a.m.–2:30 p.m. 1413 Lincoln Ave., Calistoga, (707) 942-0555, cafesarafornia.com.
The venue: A hotel restaurant, but the hotel feels like a bit of Tuscany.
The food: The two-course prix fixe breakfast starts with fresh-squeezed orange juice, coffee, a small pastry, and yogurt with fruit and house-made granola. Then, it moves to your choice of three egg dishes. Go for the side of artisan-smoked bacon, and linger over every bite.
The prices: $18 (30 percent off for locals).
The details: Breakfast Mon.–Sun. 7:30–10 a.m. 6774 Washington St., Yountville, (707) 299-5015, cantinettapiero.com.
The venue: Michelin star–rated hotel restaurant, with a hip yet casual vibe.
The food: The on-premise garden influences the menu, and everything is expertly prepared. Lemon ricotta pancakes are crisp around the edges but light inside, thanks to whipped egg whites. Beef for the hash is house corned. Juices aren’t just fresh squeezed, they’re squeezed to order. And coffee comes in a personal French press.
The prices (entrées): $11–$17.
The details: Breakfast Mon.–Sun. 7–11 a.m., brunch Sun. 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. 755 Silverado Trail, Calistoga, (707) 226-0800, solbarnv.com.
The venue: Authentic greasy spoon that’s far from fancy—but totally worth the trip.
The food: Everything you’d expect from a great diner—including enormous portions—plus lots of choices with Mexican flair. Most popular: huevos rancheros, the breakfast burrito, and biscuits and gravy. The special changes every day, and it’s a deal.
The prices (entrées): $6.25–$9.50.
The details: Breakfast Mon.–Sat. 6 a.m.–2 p.m., Sun. 7 a.m.–1:30 p.m. 632 Soscol Ave., Napa, (707) 258-8707.
Cape Fear Café
The venue: Charming, almost-seaside café.
The food: Omelets, scrambles, pancakes, and waffles made a bit more special with add-ins like Brie, roasted vegetable caponata, and orange essence. On weekends, the menu adds the Hangtown fry, with pan-seared cornmeal oysters and seven Benedicts, including one served over crab cakes.
The prices (entrées): $6.50–$14.95.
The details: Breakfast Mon.–Fri. 10 a.m.–2:30 p.m., Sat. and Sun. 9 a.m.–2:30 p.m. 25191 Main St., Duncans Mills, (707) 865-9246.
Della Fattoria Downtown Café
The venue: Beloved European-style café.
The food: An homage to all things local, artisanal, and farm fresh. The daily menu features excellent breads and pastries, along with a few light entrées such as a French toast sandwich or poached eggs on toast. Weekends add a handful of more substantial options that change with the season, such as a breakfast piadina and blueberry buttermilk pancakes.
The prices (entrées): $6–$13.
The details: Breakfast Tues.–Fri . 7–11 a.m., Sat. 7 a.m.–12 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m.–12 p.m. 141 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma, (707) 763-0161, dellafattoria.com.
The venue: Elegant Sonoma farmhouse turned restaurant.
The food: Estate and its sister restaurants, The Girl & the Fig and The Fig Café, are all great for brunch. What tips the scale toward Estate is the Prosecco bar, with eight bubbly cocktails that, at $3 or $4 apiece, are an easy indulgence. The menu is sparse yet special, with an Italian slant. Go for the brunch pizza, fried eggs and polenta, or eggs Florentine.
The prices (entrées): $10–$13.
The details: Brunch Sun. 10 a.m.–3 p.m. 400 W. Spain St., Sonoma, (707) 933-3663, estate-sonoma.com.
The Fremont Diner
The venue: Retro-cool roadside café.
The food: Wine Country foodies are abuzz about this place and its countrified classics, like eggs and grits, black pepper brisket hash, and buttermilk waffles. Can’t decide? Order the kitchen sink—a biscuit, house-made sausage gravy, ham, a fried egg, and fried chicken.
The prices (entrées): $7.25–$12.
The details: Breakfast Mon.–Fri., 8–11 a.m., Sat. and Sun. 7 a.m.–1 p.m. 2698 Fremont Dr., Sonoma, (707) 938-7370.
Garden Court Café & Bakery
The venue: Comfortable neighborhood café, neither too precious nor too funky.
The food: The usual breakfast favorites but with lots of nice touches, including house-made sausages, jams, and jellies, as well as hollandaise on any of the seven Benedicts.
The prices (entrées): $6.75–$13.95.
The details: Mon.–Fri. 8:30 a.m.–2 p.m., Sat. and Sun. 7:30 a.m.–2 p.m. 13647 Arnold Dr., Glen Ellen, (707) 935-1565, gardencourtcafe.com.
Mateo Granados Catering
The venue: Farmers market food stand serving Yucatán-influenced dishes.
The food: This is soulful fresh food that tastes even better because you’re eating it amid the bounty of Sonoma. Rotating specials include hash and breakfast quesadillas.
The prices (entrées): $12–$15.
The details: Healdsburg farmers market (through November), Sat. 9 a.m.–12 p.m.; Sebastopol farmers market (through December), Sun. 9 a.m.–2 p.m.; Santa Rosa farmers market (year-round), Sat. 8:30 a.m.–12 p.m. (707) 433-2338; mateogranados.com.