Known as Southern California’s Wine Country, Temecula Valley offers world-class wines produced from classic wine grapes like cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay, as well as Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Rhône varieties which thrive in the Mediterranean-like climate. It also beguiles with rolling hills reminiscent of parts of Tuscany, and a warm, welcoming vibe synonymous with California living.
While generally known for wine, Temecula Valley is emerging as an exciting culinary destination, with many restaurants tucked among the vines at the wineries themselves. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorites, from casual to upscale, for the foodie and wine enthusiast alike.
Wine Country views don’t get much better than at this Spanish-inspired spot, brand new to Temecula Valley. With breathtaking architecture, modern yet timeless design elements, indoor dining as well as an outdoor patio overlooking the vineyards, Gaspar’s is the perfect place for Wine Country dining. Enjoy small, tapas-style bites, Spanish favorites, and elevated California fare alongside regular live music and Altisima’s lineup of wines made from a range of Spanish, Italian, and classic international grapes.
Insider Tip: If you love a good burger, Gaspar’s is among the best we’ve ever had. Made with a blend of ribeye and brisket, and topped with all of the fixings, including caramelized onions, bacon, and house-made sauce, it will have you licking your wrists and wishing they would serve these at late-night drive throughs after a day of wine tasting.37440 De Portola Road, Temecula, CA 92592, (951) 422-2525
This upscale restaurant with numerous accolades – including being named Best Winery Restaurant by USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards – features a creative fusion of classic French cooking techniques with fresh, unmistakably Californian flair. Open Friday through Sunday for lunch and early dinner, the Restaurant at Leoness can also create exceptional chef-curated private dinners, featuring thoughtful pairings with the winery’s portfolio of estate and vineyard-designate wines made by the ultra-talented winemaker and native Southern Californian Tim Kramer.
Insider Tip: For an out-of-body experience in deliciousness, order up a round of Leoness’ hand-cut, duck-fat fries. They come dressed in a range of flavor options, including bacon-parm, cajun, truffle, gorgonzola, and au natural, and are accompanied by a selection of house-made sauces.38311 De Portola Road, Temecula, CA 92592, (951) 302-7601
Close your eyes and you are in Barcelona at this Spanish-themed winery restaurant. Bolero offers true Spanish-style tapas like patatas bravas, pan de cristal, and boquerones, various types of jamón, as well as heartier dishes like paella, and creative plates like the “Organized Caesar” – perfectly-dressed Caesar salad wrapped in paper-thin jicama and served with parmesan and sea salt croutons.
Insider Tip: Bolero Restaurante offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week, not to mention a lavish prix fixe weekend brunch with pastries, cheese and charcuterie, shellfish, and a pancake and Spanish toast station among other culinary delights.41150 Via Europa, Temecula, CA 92591, (951) 414-3802
Sip expertly crafted wines made from wunderkind winemaker Oliva Bue and dig into brick oven pizzas, sandwiches, salads, antipasto plates, and more at this casual yet dreamy terrace restaurant. With a full belly, head to the bocce court to work off your lunch over some healthy competition.
Insider Tip: Owner Robert Renzoni originally hails from Buffalo so be sure to kick off your meal with an order of the Buffalo wings, which he swears are just like the real thing.37350 De Portola Road, Temecula, CA 92592, (951) 302-8466
The outdoor dining patio at Avensole Winery is an enchanting spot to take in spectacular Southern California weather while sipping and savoring wines made from the winery’s 16 acres of estate vineyards, including cabernet sauvignon, muscat canelli, old vine and heritage zinfandel, and gewurztraminer. It’s also the perfect Wine Country lunch spot. Nosh on classic yet elevated California cuisine while looking out onto the winery’s sparkling pond and lush vineyards.
Insider Tip: Wine not your thing? Avensole also offers a selection of craft beer and cocktails to sip while you dine.34567 Rancho California Road, Temecula, CA 92592, (951) 252-2003
We love the happening vibe at this well-known Temecula Valley hotspot, tucked among the vines along Rancho California Road. With a seasonally changing menu designed to pair with Wilson Creek’s selection of still and sparkling wines made in the hands of expert winemaker Gus Vizgirda, Creekside Grille is the perfect spot to enjoy a meal seven days a week, including dinner on weekends. Reservations are strongly encouraged.
Insider Tip: Can’t snag a table at the restaurant? Hit up the more casual Courtyard Bar and Grill, which is first come, first served for a glass of wine and a smaller menu of Wilson Creek’s most popular bites.5960 Rancho California Road, Temecula, CA 92591, (951) 699-9463
For casual dining in one of Temecula Valley’s most dramatic settings, head to Baba Joon’s at the Persian-inspired Fazeli Cellars, featuring an exciting menu of Mediterranean-Persian fusion dishes, each with a suggested wine pairing. Relax in the dazzling tasting room or out on the welcoming patio while you nosh on tasty creations like rice and herb-stuffed dolma, mezze platters, award-winning Persian tacos, and tasty sandwiches.
Insider Tip: The unusual but mouth-watering Walnut Panar – a decadent walnut and cream cheese spread with pomegranate reduction – is one of owner BJ Fazeli’s signature creations and is an absolute must-try, especially alongside a glass of Boland Rooz, the winery’s bright and citrusy sauvignon blanc.37320 De Portola Road, Temecula, CA 92592, (951) 303-3366
Nestled in a lush garden courtyard setting, the Restaurant at Ponte Winery offers al fresco Wine Country dining at its finest. Sip Ponte’s selection of small-lot, single-varietal wines and blends alongside a seasonal menu that features locally-sourced produce, hormone-free meats, and wild-caught or sustainably-farmed fish. Dishes range from bright salads, to eye-and-palate-catching cheese and charcuterie spreads, to hearty mains and wood-fired pizzas.
Insider Tip: Keep an eye out for Ponte’s special, seasonal holiday menus, which are generally accompanied by a fun schedule of musical performances for a lively Southern California Wine Country dining experience.35053 Rancho California Road, Temecula, CA 92591, (951) 252-1770
Enter the dramatic Tuscan-inspired dining room featuring a cozy wine bar and outdoor terrace and you are instantly transported to the classic Temecula Valley Wine Country dining experience. Enjoy contemporary California cuisine for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and “intermezzo,” created by Executive Chef José Esparza and his talented culinary team, using fresh, local ingredients. Exciting wine pairings abound thanks to South Coast Winery’s award-winning portfolio of wine selections, most of which you will not find elsewhere.
Insider Tip: Winemakers Jon McPherson and Javier Flores are among the hardest working in Temecula Valley and are almost always on the property overseeing the winery’s robust production. If you’re lucky, one of them will happily stop by your table to chat about what you are sipping and offer a taste of something new while you dine.34843 Rancho California Road, Temecula, CA 92591, (951) 566-4622