It’s no surprise, especially in wine country, that the old adage of eating with your eyes first rings true like nowhere else. From produce grown steps away from where it’s served, to locally sourced meats and poultry, the valley offers a cornucopia of foodie delights for everyone. But what if you’re looking for something more? Maybe with a little more ambiance? Check out the list below for our picks of restaurants sure to wow visitors, even before the meal gets to the table.
587 St. Helena Highway
St. Helena, CA
4.5 Stars, 562 Reviews
While the valley is home to some of the most beautiful farm grown produce around, Press has something special for those with a more carnivorous appetite. Few things pair better with wine than fine, dry-aged Prime beef; and at Press that’s their specialty. Along with only serving Regional wines, they take locavore living seriously. Their warm vineyard setting includes indoor and outdoor seating, large fireplaces and a handcrafted walnut bar framed by twin wine towers showing their extensive Napa Valley-only wine collection. Patrons can sit back in their warm, inviting dining room and enjoy vegetables grown from their two on site gardens along with Prime beef, from legendary Bay Area butcher Brian Flannery, free-range poultry, and lamb from the Sonoma Coast. All cooked to perfection on a custom-built, wood-fired grill and rotisserie.
The patio at Press is open year round and boasts top notch heaters to keep you toasty even when the temps begin to drop.
Harvest Table St. Helena
1 Main Street
St. Helena, CA
4 Stars, 140 Reviews
Dining at Harvest Table is like attending a very lovely dinner party at a friend’s house. It’s comfortable, beautifully designed and each guest is welcomed as if they were family. The only difference is, that this party happens to be orchestrated by Michelin starred Chef, Charlie Palmer. Offering a welcoming atmosphere to strangers and regulars alike, Harvest Table’s dining room boasts smooth wood finishes and a classic oversized brick fireplace. Natural light floods the dining area during the day, while the soft glow of crackling wood bathes guests at night. Their patio is the perfect place to indulge in lunch between wine tastings. Well shaded, comfortable seating, surrounded by lush landscaping. Using a mix of organic and industrial materials, Harvest Table beautifully blends the best of indoor and outdoor space to create an unmatched dining experience.
In the mood for something truly indulgent? Order their whole truffled chicken for two; a house specialty that requires an hour to prep, but deliciously proves good things take time.
Lucy Restaurant and Bar
6528 Yount Street
4.5 Stars, 400 Reviews
There’s no place better than the valley to find true farm to table fare; and at Lucy’s the magic starts in the garden. As part of the Bardessono Hotel
property, Lucy Restaurant and Bar offers patrons fresh, tasty cuisine with a laid back, eco-conscious, California vibe. Many of the ingredients on the menu are grown on site or sourced from local Napa growers – a boon for locavores. But their sustainable ideas aren’t limited to just food, they also offer an extensive wine list showcasing small producers and many organic, sustainable and biodynamic vintners. From their farm fresh salads to the garden–inspired cocktails, every day means a morning trip out to the garden to see what’s ripe.
For guests traveling with furry friends, check out Lucy’s pet friendly patio. Four legged visitors can dine on homemade dog treats while their humans enjoy the best “field-to-fork” experience in the neighborhood.
The Restaurant at Meadowood
900 Meadowood Lane
St Helena, CA
4 Stars, 388 Reviews
If Michelin stars are on your mind, look no further than the Restaurant at the Meadowood – they have three. Romantic? We think so. The dining room is small but intimate with dark wood, dim lighting and beautiful decor. If you arrive early, grab a glass of wine or a cocktail and cozy up next to the fire while you wait for your table. Be sure to book your reservation early because their 10-course tasting menu is exceptionally popular. Whether you’re looking to celebrate a special event, or just want to treat yourself, prepare to be enrobed in a true luxury experience.
If after a full day of wine tasting you’re not feeling up to a multi-course tasting meal, the Bar at the Meadowood offers an equally lovely three course tasting menu as well as an excellent selection of pairing options.
755 Silverado Trail
4.5 Stars, 945 Reviews
When hunger strikes, there’s nothing worse than ordering a dish only to find it’s half the size you expected. Good thing Solbar has solved the issue. With a selection that’s designed around light or hearty fares, and clear notations on the menu, they don’t leave anything to chance. No more leaving the restaurant hangry. And if the food wasn’t enough to satisfy – blueberry ricotta pancakes we’re looking at you – the decor and vibe are exceptional. Loft-inspired with an eclectic twist, Solbar embraces the rustic roots of wine country with a touch of cosmopolitan luxury. So whether you’re looking for a light start to the day or something substantial for an afternoon meal, Solbar has the power to satiate any appetite.
When making reservations, ask for a seat outside. While Solbar’s newly renovated dining room is exceptionally beautiful, it can’t compare to the canopy of trees, bubbling fountains and view of the pool their patio offers.
Nicole McLaughlin is a food and lifestyle writer from California. When she’s not in the kitchen testing her latest recipes, you can find her out exploring the wonders of fermentation in San Diego’s vibrant craft beer scene.