Local Wally's TOP 10 BEST Napa Restaurants | Napa Tourist Guide
Trust Local Wally to show you the TOP 10 BEST restaurants and dining spots in Napa Valley, locals favorites.
Napa Locals Pick Best places to eat in napa Valley: Top 10 Best Restaurants
Looking for Napa's Best Restaurants?
With so many good places to eat in Napa Valley it's actually harder to find a bad meal. But that doesn't help when you only have typically a couple of nights in town and don't want to waste your appetite on something not up to par.
So here are the rules for picking the Napa Valley Top 10 Restaurants. First, it must be local - no chains unless noted. Second, it must be somehow unique to Napa. And third, the food must qualify as your best meal you have ever eaten, the type of dining experience that makes you take your phone out to take photos.
This is Good Eats Napa, the Wine Country restaurant cheat sheet that gives you the inside scoop to the best places to eat in Napa Valley, the ultimate Top 10 Restaurant list!
#1 The French Laundry
Summary: A 9+ course dinner that takes over 3 and a half hours and will easily set you back $1,000 a couple, Thomas Keller creates a restaurant that is ranked as one of the best in the world.
Wally Says: If you are wondering if you can afford it then you can't. Of course, you can always go "budget Keller" at Ad Hoc or Bouchon down the street, his other two restaurants.
What to Order: You don't order, you sit back and let them bring it out to you.
Wally Tip: Books 2 months in advance. Call in exactly 2 months ahead of the date you want exactly when they open. There are only 17 tables and they fill up fast.
#2 Mustards Grill
Summary: An upscale "truck stop" diner that serves modern interpretations of foods that you love. Bistro setting, lively, fun, a mix of locals and tourists.
Wally Says: If I had to pick one restaurant to dine at for my one time trip to Napa then Mustards Grill would be it. It's quintessential Napa.
What to Order: I love steak and Mustards Grill does a Hanger Steak with red wine onion jam and a watercress dipping sauce that is knock out. They are also famous for their Mongolian Pork Chop, a bit like fancy Char-Sui.
Wally Tip: If you're staying in the St. Helena area then skip the drive and go to Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen, her other restaurant.
#3 Rutherford Grill
Summary: Yes, it's part of the Hillstone restaurant chain and yes, you will see similar items on the menu at their other locations but there's something about Rutherford Grill that makes it rise above it's related cousins.
Wally Says: It might seem like a tourist restaurant but locals love this place and for good reason - the food and ambiance can't be beat.
What to Order: The grilled artichoke is a serious contender for best 'choke ever and the Wagu steak with enchilada is my favorite entree.
Wally Tip: No corkage, bring in that bottle you thought you wanted to save for a special occasion and open it up.
#4 Bistro Jeanty
Summary: Michelin star French bistro that serves up French standards like steak and frites in a casual yet romantic setting.
Wally Says: You can't go wrong with Bistro Jeanty. Don't be intimidated if you don't often to go French restaurants. Bistro Jeanty is friendly and the food highly accessible and delicious.
What to Order: The pastry topped tomato soup is an insane starter, a must for every meal, and the Sole Meunière would make Julia Child swoon.
Wally Tip: The back room has a fireplace that's romantic and cozy for a chilly night and there's a communal table in front for those without reservations - first come, first served.
#5 The Bounty Hunter
Summary: Ultra casual wine bar set in a hunting lodge motif that has some serious BBQ cooking out back. Fantastic happy hour, a local favorite.
Wally Says: As a serious home BBQ'r myself I will say that The Bounty Hunter nails their smoke. This is serious BBQ to go with their extensive wine list, a winner in downtown Napa.
What to Order: Beer Can Chicken is the main draw here, served still perched on a can and served whole. The BBQ sampler plate during happy hour can't be beat.
Wally Tip: When it's packed in the front remember that there's a smaller bar in the back of the restaurant.
# 6 Redd Wood
Summary: Redd restaurant in Yountville is upscale dining but Redd Wood, their spin off, features pizzas, pastas and steaks in a more casual setting.
Wally Says: It's my new favorite restaurant, the setting is contemporary urban and the food surpasses its moderate pricing.
What to Order: Follow my instructions - start with Frito Misto for expertly prepared lightly fried shrimp, calamari and veggies, then move to the Rib Eye Steak which easily beats Ruth's Chris quality for a half the price.
Wally Tip: Order family style and share, the portions are huge.
# 7 Bouchon Bistro
Summary: Thomas Keller of ultra expensive French Laundry fame recreates his favorite French bistro experience in Yountville, complete with bustling crowds, packed dining room and a lively vibe.
Wally Says: A more affordable way to taste the Thomas Keller magic, I like Bouchon better than Ad Hoc, his other restaurant in town.
What to Order: It sounds crazy but Keller takes his French Fries seriously. For those on a budget the Croque Madame, basically a fancy sandwich, is less than $20.
Wally Tip: If you forgot to make reservations you can sit at the bar.
# 8 Gott's Roadside
Summary: Take an old run down drive in and revamp it with gourmet burgers, add wine and beer and let people picnic on the lawn in back and you have Gott's Roadside in St. Helena.
Wally Says: Always worth a stop, proves you don't need to spend a fortune to get great food in Napa.
What to Order: While the burgers are outstanding the ahi burger, sushi grade ahi served rare, in mind blowing. Don't forget the fries and rings!
Wally Tip: The original St. Helena location is the one you want for an epic picnic out back though the downtown Napa location in Oxbow Market certainly is convenient.
# 9 Michael Chiarello's Bottega Napa Valley
Summary: Celebrity chef and Napa local Michael Chiarello moves away from the cameras and goes back into the kitchen to make rustic Italian cuisine in this vacation perfect restaurant.
Wally Says: Even if you don't eat dinner here make it to their outside patio where the roaring fireplace and truffle fries make for a delightful happy hour.
What to Order: Fettuccine with soft shelled crab to start then the smoked and braised short ribs for entree will make you very happy.
Wally Tip: Outside the restaurant is the Napa Style store, give yourself enough time to browse the shops at V Marketplace.
#10 Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America
Summary: Every foodie knows about the CIA, the cooking school that has turned out countless top chefs. Come taste what they're teaching at this upscale yet comfortable restaurant that's housed within their magnificent facility in St. Helena.
Wally Says: Student chefs cook lunch menu during their final semester but do not think for a moment that the food is not held to the same standards.
What to Order: Menu rotates based on season so ask the waiter for recommendations.
Wally Tip: Sit at the bar if you want to watch the chefs and students in action.