When in wine country, you first wine and then you dine! So many options and so little time. Just as there is no shortage of places to sample Pinots and Chardonnays, in both Sonoma County and Napa Valley there are a myriad of choices and spectacular little spots to taste all that wine country has to offer restaurant wise.
We want to give you a glimpse into a couple of our favorite places to eat while visiting us!
Café La Haye
140 East Napa Street, Sonoma, CA 95476
You are charmed from the moment you walk into the café like restaurant. Right off of the Sonoma Square, Café La Haye has an intimate dining room with a vibe that will make you feel like a regular the moment you sit down. The tiny, open kitchen is where Chef creates Cal-American gems that are straightforward and seasonally inspired. All though the menu is small, you won’t be disappointed with the options, giving you the best of what Sonoma County has to offer.
The risotto is a can’t miss and changes daily. Expect a delicious pork tenderloin with Dijon-dried tomato glaze and meat lovers won’t be disappointed by the marinated filet mignon with a white bean roasted garlic puree. Butterscotch pudding is a homey signature dessert. The wine list is robust and fresh with a great selection from all over wine country and a sampling of French wines. Reservations are a must at this popular dining spot.
El Dorado Kitchen
405 First St. W., Sonoma CA
Looking for something a bit trendier although still very down to Earth in a Sonoma way? El Dorado Kitchen is right on the square in downtown Sonoma. California-Mediterranean style cuisine dominates in the contemporary main dining room but the adjacent lounge relaxes to more Wine Country casual, with bistro tables and metal cafe chairs clustered in front of a five-seat bar. Located in the popular El Dorado Hotel, in a building built by General Vallejo’s brother in the 1850s. El Dorado Kitchen serves lunch, dinner and a Sunday brunch.
Nothing is run of the mill here, beginning at the charcuterie board where you might see ham hock rillettes or duck pastrami. Familiar items take on unfamiliar twists — such as fettuccine with a poached egg, butternut squash with pomegranates or a beet salad with a cheese mousse. Entrees might include chicken with a brioche stuffing or king salmon with brussel sprout leaves and sherry jus. Don’t hesitate to order the Treuse or Dare, Chartreuse, elderflower, mint, lime, rhubarb bitters, Prosecco as a before dinner cocktail. The wine list showcases a good collection of sustainably produced, biodynamic or organic wines from Sonoma and Napa vintners.
The Girl & The Fig
100 West Spain St., Sonoma, CA 95476
No piece on restaurants in Sonoma would be complete with talking about The Girl & The Fig, a true Sonoma institution. Owners Sondra Bernstein and John Toulze opened the restaurant in 1997 and it’s reputation stretches far beyond Sonoma Wine Country.
Food wise it’s hard to know where to start! You can cozy up at the bar and have some of the ever changing “Plats du Jour” or in the summer snag a table in the courtyard for Sunday Brunch!
Love Cheese? Then this is probably the best restaurant cheese list you’ll find, bar none! And what better than to pair it with a great glass of wine from the wine list that’s uniquely “Rhone Only”
Carpe Diem Wine Bar
1001 2nd St., at Brown St. Napa, CA 94559
The concept for Carpe Diem (seize the day) came from three individuals who came together to create their dream. Together they created one of the most popular spots downtown Napa. Whether you feel like a small bite and a glass of wine at the bar or go all out, Carpe Diem has something for everyone. Regardless of its wine bar name, the menu is nothing short of ambitious and a carefully edited wine list gives you a choice from anywhere in wine country. There are the cheese and charcuterie platters you might expect at a wine bar, and more exotic options like an ostrich burger and venison pate. As well as the Harissa-spiced fries are not to be missed.
A table can be tricky to get on the fly so make sure you grab a reservation. This place is popular with both locals and tourists alike. There is a lot to sample off the wine list from small production to some of the most expensive wines the Valley has to offer. In the former Alexandria Hotel, right in downtown it is a can’t miss.
The Bounty Hunter
975 1st St., Napa, CA 94559
In addition to The Bounty Hunter being a “Smokin’ BBQ” it also offers over 400, often hard to find, wines for the discerning wine lover. The name originates from owners Mark Popes passion for hunting down rare and hard to find wines and this passion has turned The Bounty Hunter into one of the “must visit” restaurants for anyone visiting the Napa Valley.
Indulge in their selection of BBQ classics like Beer Can Chicken, Smokin St. Louis Cut Ribs or the American Kobe Beef Sliders. If you can’t make your mind up you can always have the Smokin’ BBQ Platter, which is what the folks at Bounty Hunter call “The royal flush of BBQ”. You’ll be treated to coleslaw, pulled pork, apple wood smoked brisket…all piled high with BBQ ribs.
Wine wise you don’t have to pick just one to pair with your food as you can do one of their great “wine flights” where you’ll get smaller pours of 3 wines. This is a great to way to get to decide which wine you’d like a regular pour of to go with your mouth-watering BBQ!
755 Silverado Trail N, Calistoga, CA 94515
At Solage, everyone is treated as if they are staying in one of the lux cottages on the property. The quality of the food and wine matches the high end ambiance that Solage Calistoga (part of the Auberge properties) has made their main stay. Solbar, a pretty, unpretentious restaurant where the outdoor dining terrace has as many seats as the interior. Once described as “Napa barn meets San Francisco loft.” Large windows frame the mountain, and an impressive modern gas fireplace warms the dining room. More windows overlook the patio and pool and slide back to bring the outside action indoors.
The menu is divided into “healthy, light fare” and “hearty cuisine.” Regardless of which you choose, the combinations are eclectic and the flavors bold. Chef Brandon Sharp has spared no expense while keeping the fare accessible. Oyster stew or crispy mackerel satisfy the “healthy fare” while house made ricotta and herb agnolotti and pork shoulder with Anson mills cheddar grits round out the “heavier cuisine.” A full bar and an extensive wine list, paired with the laid back upper valley, Calistoga atmosphere make this a must do on your next visit.
We also offer a VIP limo service to escort you to any of these restaurants (or one of your choosing). With our luxury service you experience a sunset drive, complimentary champagne service and a comfortable ride home after your meal. Ask our reservationists for more details!