Yountville is becoming a real food Mecca with the fame of Thomas Keller and the French Laundry. The restaurant is consistently in the top restaurants in the world and is a Michelin three star rated restaurant in its San Francisco Guide. Reservations are tough to come by, so book early! It celebrated 25 years in the summer of 2019. It is located at 6640 Washington St.
The restaurant’s Culinary Garden is open to the public for a stroll and visit across the street.
Keller has several other restaurants in Yountville. Bouchon at 6534 Washington St., with an emphasis on French bistro food, a great choice which I always enjoy.
His Bouchon Bakery is directly across from Bouchon, at 6528 Washington St. It started as a bakery just for the restaurants but is now open to the public. It has since expanded to NYC and Las Vegas. I recently visited the newest location at Hudson Yards in New York.
On my last trip I enjoyed his most recent addition to his Yountville Empire, ad Hoc. It is located at 6476 Washington St. They offer a three-course family style brunch and a four-course family style dinner menu. The menu changes daily and the server said they never serve the same menu twice. I thought the food was great and so fresh. My brunch of heirloom tomato salad was right out of the gardens of French Laundry! It started as a temporary restaurant but was soon opened permanently in January 2007. For take out box lunches, addendum is a small take out restaurant in the back where you can get box lunches to go from Thursdays to Sundays including fried chicken, a pulled pork sandwich and barbecue pork ribs and two sides.
On a recent CBS This Morning Saturday segement on Thomas Keller’s Yountville restaurants, I found that since my last trip that they also now have La Calenda for Mexican cuisine. Chef Kalen Ulrich, from Oaxaca, has created a menu of traditional Mexican cuisine from several regions, using many items imported from Mexico and new ones grown in the French Laundry Culinary Garden. I am excited to try it on my next visit. 6518 Washington St.
In Yountville, at 6510 Washington St., is the casual Bistro Jeanty which I also recommend. It has been a popular destination for over 20 years.
Behind Pacific Blues Cafe is the V Marketplace which has galleries and shops. If you have not eaten enough, stop by Kollar Chocolates also at 6525 Washington for its award winning chocolates and truffles.
St. Helena has some great restaurants also. My favorites include:
Brix Restaurant-Gardens-Wine Shop: I have had some great meals in this restaurant pairing contemporary French inspired California cuisine with a comprehensive collection of the valley’s finest wines.
Mustards Grill: 7399 St. Helena Highway. One of the first wine country restaurants that is still wonderful today!
Press: Another special St. Helena restaurant at 587 St. Helena Highway. It has a great design with outdoor seating. The menu is great and everything fresh. What can’t be sourced from their two private gardens, is purchased from local farmers, markets and neighboring purveyors.
Model Bakery: At 1357 Main St., in downtown St. Helena, this is a great bakery with wonderful cookies, pastries and breads. You can also eat breakfast and lunch.
Goose & Gander: This is a gastro-pub offering American fare in a warm, pub-like setting. There is a bar downstairs and a lovely patio for outdoor dining as well. 1245 Spring St.
Gott’s Roadside: This is a drive-in restaurant known for its burgers and shakes. They also serve local wines and beers. 933 Main St.
Buehler Vineyards: One of my favorite wines is the Buehler zinfandel. You can set up a tour or a tasting by appointment from Monday through Friday. 820 Greenfield Rd. St. Helena.
Market, An American Restaurant, is also recommended in the Michelin Guide at 1347 Main St. in St. Helena.
On one of my first trips to the area, I enjoyed Pizzeria Tra Vigne. It is still a great spot for Northern Italian specialties, pastas and woof fired pizza. 1016 Main St.
In Oakville, don’t miss the Oakville Grocery. Stop in for a picnic-to-go or a great sandwich. It is located at 7856 St. Helena Highway.
The restaurant at Meadowood has a Michelin 3 Star rating and is always wonderful. Chef Christopher Kostow also won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: West in 2013. It is at 900 Meadowood Lane in St. Helena. I just read the sad news that on September 29, 2020, the restaurant was destroyed in a wildfire. I am sure it will be rebuilt and reopened in the future.
Make sure to try The Charter Oak in St. Helena. Chef Katianna Hong was named one of Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs 2018.