We stopped here for lunch on our afternoon in Saint Helena. Really nothing special. We had the Grilled chicken sandwich which was small and a little bland and the the Zuppa di Mare, mussel's, claims and calamari. It was ok but probably would not repeat.
This place is somewhere between Napa and St. Helena, probably close to Yountville and right on Highway 29. Mustards Grill has been serving excellent food in the Napa Valley for years. We had a wonderful dinner there, myself enjoying one of my old favorites... barbecued pork ribs. It was sticky but delicious! We also had the most delicious broccoli either of us had ever tasted, and I do not like broccoli!
Taylor's Refresher is an institution in St. Helena, and has been ever since 1949. It LOOKS like some run of the mill roadside hamburger drive-in, but take another look, and you'll see the long line in front of the order window at any time of day. This is the type of burger drive-in you can find only in the wine country. In addition to burgers, you can get chinese chicken salad, sweet potato fries, tacos, fish n chips, gazpacho, pattie melts, fried calamari, assorted milkshakes, wine and beer. This is VERY popular, and the food is exceptional, so no matter how long the line is, the wait is worth it.
Favorite Dish: The sweet potato fries. Hands down. They are flavored with a spicy chili-cumin powder, and who knows what else. They were so very, very good!
This place has been around since 1949, slinging burger and fries, and serving up shakes. It's still standing, like a relic from the American Graffiti days, and there's always a queue outside (indeed, they serve to all kinds: Robert Redford and Lyle Lovett have been known to get in line).
The staff are all friendly, and the ingredients extremely fresh: these days, they serve up some more contemporary fare, too, like burritos and tuna burgers.
Favorite Dish: Our favourite thing wasn't a dish, but the chocolate malts, the best we've ever had!
St. Helena main street is the infamous Hwy 29 through the Napa Vally, so...this is the slow part of the trip to the wineries for some and a fun place to stop for others.
The Wine Valley Restaurant is next to a Mexican restaurant and a motorcycle rental site (for tourists) so you get the abiance of the street. Once inside, you are in Italy.... The wait staff are attentive and very pleasant.
Favorite Dish: We started with a split of a Caesar Salad (always a good measure). It was very good. the dressing was tasteful but not overbearing. The crouton was large and when broken served the full dish.
The wine list was a mix of Napa and (not surprising) Italy. It was quite good with a very good selection in both price and taste.
the Entrees were a bit of a hard decision as all looked quite good. The Lazagna for me and the Lemon Chicken riggatoni for my wife were done to perfection and tasted wonderful. The red sauce was just wonderful.
The Greystone building on Hwy 29 just north of St. Helena was converted several years ago, at great expense given the seismic flaws found during the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, into the California Campus of the Culinary Institute of America. The institute is open to visitors, and there's the Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant which serves lunch and dinner. The menu and reservations are available on-line. The institute also produces it's own sparkling wine, apparently. The Greystone building has a considerable history before the entry of the current occupants. Originally the 117,000 sq foot facility, built with 22 inch thick stone walls in 1889, was a wine cooperative for local growers, and was the time the world's largest winery. It wasn't very profitable and ran into problems of disease, as did many of the wineries at the time, and then Prohibition kept it vacant for many years. In 1950, Christian Brothers under the direction of Brother Timothy purchased the building. Christian Brothers continued to expand for many years, producing brandy, sparkling and still wines, and was one of the largest wineries in the United States at one time. In 1989, even bigger Heublein Wine Group purchased the main winery plant south of St. Helena, near Martini Winery, and Brother Timothy retired. The culinary institute services not only novices hoping to join the restaurant industry, but also various "research" activities designed to improve the quality of airline food, for example. There's a "flavor" laboratory where winemakers and chefs can test their skills.
Favorite Dish: I actually haven't eaten here, but I've heard mixed reviews by the locals. Consistency, especially in the face of the constantly changing menu offered by the restaurant, can be difficult for such a school and 700 seat restaurant to maintain given the professional competition widely available among more intimate restaurants in the valley. More details are provided through the link below. The restaurant is closed on Mondays, Thanksgiving Weekends, and Christmas Eve/Day.
This upscale restaurant is located in a 100 year old stone house one block off of the main street running through Saint Helena. It is self-described as a "New American" restaurant, which I found to be fusions of American, Italian, French and Asian cuisine. The ambiance is intimate and the food is delicious. The wine list is outstanding and extensive with many old and new world wines. Not open for lunch.
Favorite Dish: The menu had very few vegetarian dishes, but the mark of an excellent restaurant, in my opinion, is one that can create an excellent vegetarian dish not on the menu. (I am one of those people who constantly is ordering "off" the menu.) The chef created a wonderful plate for me that was a collection of 6 side dishes. (See picture.) Everything was fabulous!
I ended my meal with a blackberry pie with buttermilk ice cream. Not too sweet....just perfect! I highly recommend this restaurant!
Like I say, ONLY in Napa. This dive burger drive-in, has a wine-by-the-glass list that looks like the wine list from a 5 star restaurant. Even the beer list looks out of place with its choice of microbrews. Take your meal out to the back of the drive-in and enjoy the Napa Valley sunshine on one of the picnic tables.
When we visit the wine country, we have usually packed our own picnic lunch. No more. I'm stopping here for the picnic lunch when I come back!
Market is a fairly new restaurant with many personnel who've graduated from Gary Danko's, one of San Francisco's best-known eateries. Danko's is French-influenced, but Market, as it's sub-title An American Restaurant implies, looks closer to home. The dishes, however, are quite what you might expect: the traditional dishes are given a contemporary spin, and the ingredients are of the highest quality.
They have a very attractive dining area, with brick walls, and a gorgeous bar, over a century old. It's becoming a very popular spot with locals and visitors alike: they've just started to take reservations, where before you could walk in and be virtually guaranteed a table. As you might expect, they have an excellent, and good value, wine list.
Favorite Dish: We loved the soups and pasta dishes. The chilled early girl tomato soup, topped with a few drops of basil oil, and a white corn soup with chives, both started things off very well.
We followed up with two excellent pasta dishes - one an old familiar, macaroni and cheese, but a 'very adult' version of the dish, with tangy cheese that really spices things up. The other dish, pasta bows with a collection of fresh cherry tomatoes, corn and peas, was equally delicious. We had more than enough to take away a little with us for a wonderful lunch the next day: their takeout boxes are about as elegant as these things get!
Tra Vigne is a real experience restaurant, one of the top names in the entire valley, and a reservation is a very good idea (we were very lucky to walk in when they had just had a cancellation!).
The dining room is a large open area with high ceilings (we wondered if it had been designed as a restaurant: the full-length windows made us think of an old railway station) and there's plenty of opportunity for people-watching. This is often where people treat themselves on a visit to the Napa Valley, and the wine list allows you plenty of room for indulgence: they have a top-notch array of local winemakers' products.
The service was fantastic: although we were probably spending a little less than other customers, we were made to feel exceptionally welcome by our waiter, who treated us as though we were the equals of the free-spending regulars at the table next to us.
Favorite Dish: We started out with an order of fritti - deep-fried vegetables and rock cod - perfectly-sized for two, and followed up with agnolotti and a risotto, both of them fabulously fresh and with delicious accompaniments.
We were unable to resist the desserts - a chocolate delight and a crisp cherry tart, both well worth the extra padding!
Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant
This is a chance to sample California's finest. I recommend you come here with a hearty appetite to make it through all of the courses. You really should start with 'Today's Temptatations' while sampling a flight of wine. Then the first course, second course, and finish with a sinful dessert.
To avoid feeling like Mr. Creosote (re: Monty Python's 'The Meaning of Life'), take your time and enjoy the experience.
Favorite Dish: Nantucket Bay Scallops