Napa Valley, CA: 15 Local Go-Tos

Ever wonder where locals go out to eat in a valley that sparkles with Michelin-star restaurants and five-star ratings? We asked and got 15 delicious answers.

Published: 6/28/2017

CALISTOGA

1. Named in honor of California’s first millionaire, Samuel Brannan, Sam’s Social Club serves imaginative rustic fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

“Weather permitting, we head straight for the patio and order a wood-fired pizza topped with the most delicious, imaginative things.”

2. In business for more than 30 years, Bosko’s Trattoria is all about freshness. Everything is made from scratch on the premises from exceptional ingredients such as hand-ground semolina flour.

“We really are neighbors, but we’ve noticed that they treat everyone that way. Don’t be surprised if they remember you when you come back for more.”

3. Just last year, Johnny’s Restaurant & Bar reopened. The original Johnny’s opened in 1933, after the repeal of Prohibition. Dinner is served until 11 p.m., but it’s the daily gourmet brunch menu and Happy Hour oysters that have locals raving.

“The brioche has just the right amount of sweet with a crispy crust. I’m hooked on the Brioche French Toast with a side of Nuremberg sausage.”

ST. HELENA

4. Pizzeria Tra Vigne is locally loved for more than pizza with inventive salads and tasty pasta with house-made sauces.

“It has great Italian food that’s affordable and a great patio for dining outside.”

5. Housed in a 120-year-old building with a stunning nineteenth-century bar from San Francisco’s Palace Hotel, Market Restaurant focuses on classic American fare sourced from local organic farms.

“My wife and I go here often. Ernesto, the owner, is fantastic and the quality of food and level of service is exceptional; we always run into friends.”

6. Cook Tavern, the offshoot of Cook St. Helena located right next door, has a tavern-like atmosphere with delicious small plates and large screen TVs. Locals go there for garlic fries and a beer while they watch a game. Cook St. Helena is a favorite for date night.

“It’s a very small place, but the food is awesome. The owner, Jude, is a tremendous host and greets everyone by their first name. If you don’t have a reservation, you can eat at the bar.”

YOUNTVILLE

7. Founded 11 years ago by famed French Laundry Chef Thomas Keller, Ad Hoc + Addendum is all about American comfort food. Ad Hoc’s four-course family-style menu changes daily, but locals count on the golden buttermilk fried chicken. The restaurant added Addendum for carryout orders on Thursdays through Saturdays.

“We carry our order as far as the nearest picnic table and enjoy every morsel in the park-like setting.”

8. Pacific Blues Café is popular for breakfast, a burger, steak, fish, and pasta.

“They have a great neighborhood bar and are kid and dog friendly. Plus the prices won’t break the bank!”

9. Capturing the ambience of a homey neighborhood restaurant, Bistro Jeanty is another favorite.

“I love it for its great food and service and the best tomato soup known to mankind.”

NAPA

10. A friendly atmosphere and seasonally inspired fare have made Fumé Bistro & Bar a go-to for locals. Many admit to dining there more than once in a week.

“The two things that amaze me most is how the menu has something for everyone’s taste and how, across the board, the food is consistently good.”

11. Il Posto Trattoria delivers an authentic Italian experience with attentive service and excellent house-made meats and pastas.

“It’s a small family-owned Italian joint with good Italian and local wines and awesome food. Small enough that we locals keep it alive and hopping.”

12. Affectionately nicknamed The Oxbow, Oxbow Public Market is a gathering place for locals who put two Oxbow eateries high on their lists. Oyster and chowder enthusiasts recommend Hog Island Oyster Company.

“Tuesday is locals’ night at the Oxbow with chef’s choice half-priced oysters on the half shell, and specials on beer and wine.”

13. Also in the Oxbow, Kitchen Door serves delicious, affordable food that guests will want to return to week after week.

“They have tried many times to remove their mushroom soup from the menu only to be met with fierce opposition!”

14. Enticing globally inspired fare in the form of sandwiches, salads, wraps, and bowls is delivered fastfine style at Heritage Eats.

“The owners and staff are friendly, and the food and beverages are tasty.”

15. Open for lunch and dinner, Bistro Don Giovanni’s loyal following is well deserved. The traditional focaccia, ciabatta, and pastas are made fresh each morning, as are meatballs, chicken diavolo, and ever-changing specials.

“On chilly evenings, the indoor fireplace welcomes us and on warmer nights, there’s a lovely terrace with a fountain for dining al fresco.”


As seen in the issue Summer/Fall 2017 of Touring & Tasting Magazine.