The Best Restaurants In Yountville

Our favorite places for soft serve affogato, fried chicken, Mongolian pork chop, and more.
The Best Restaurants In Yountville image

photo credit: Deborah Jones

In the Napa Valley, all food-related roads lead to Yountville, a town with restaurants from world-renowned chefs on almost every corner and synonymous with one of the country’s most famous restaurants. And while this is the home of The French Laundry, where securing a reservation is almost as difficult as getting an audience with the pope, Yountville isn’t just about fine dining and expensive tasting menus. Alongside the Thomas Keller empire and white tablecloths, you’ll also find casual spots for tacos, pizza, and one of the best hot dogs in Napa Valley. 

The town itself is very walkable, so start at one end, stroll through the main street, and you’re sure to find whatever you’re in the mood to eat or drink, plus art installations lining the sidewalks, high-end shops, galleries, and parks. These 16 restaurants are our favorites. 


photo credit: David Escalante



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Bouchon is a very worthy, more casual spot from the same chef as The French Laundry, featuring the best steak frites in the valley. It’s every bit the buzzing, loud, tightly-seated French bistro you’d expect, which is another one of the reasons we love it here. It’s also where we come for “late night” (that’s after 9pm in Wine Country) snacks, oysters, and classic cocktails. The expertly crisp truffle fries, onion soup, and escargots sitting on top of Bouchon Bakery’s puffed pastry are all absolute perfection, as you’d expect.

From the moment Bouchon Bakery opened 20 years ago, there have been round-the-clock lines out the door, with tourists and locals waiting for a whiff and bite of the namesake “bouchons” (a cork-shaped, dark chocolate chewy-crisp brownie), bread, pastries, and thick hot chocolate. And we’re here to tell you, Bouchon Bakery is absolutely worth the wait. If you're going to brave the line, order as much as humanly possible—we like the ham and cheese baguette, cheese roll, passion fruit and caramel macarons, lemon tart, and the OhOh, a decadent take on a ho-ho. Even if you order ahead you’ll be standing around for a bit, but the payoff is some of the best baked goods in all of Napa Valley.

photo credit: Jakob Layman



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Landing a reservation at The French Laundry is like trying to score 50-yard-line tickets at the Super Bowl—it demands persistence, a lot of luck, and there’s absolutely a black market. We hate to break it to you, but once you’ve got a table (and come to terms with the fact that a meal here starts at almost $400 per person), it's likely that this restaurant experience will underwhelm you. The meal starts strong with “Oysters and Pearls,” a sabayon of pearl tapioca, oysters, and caviar that’s one of the finest bites you might ever have. But from there, you'll be inundated with gloppy hollandaise and other rich haute cuisine hacks that should have been fazed out with the phrase haute cuisine. Unless you're coming on the corporate card or perhaps to celebrate a divorce, you're better off sticking with other places on this list.

Welcome to Napa’s most important elevated diner, and a spot that would easily be selected for The Infatuation Hall of Fame if such a thing existed. If you’re someone who lives for meat dishes, Mustard’s is an absolute can’t-miss meal that always delivers. The order here is simple: get the Mongolian Pork Chop with a side of fried onions, plus a seafood tostada as a nice palate cleanser. While we appreciate pork chops can be hard to get excited about, Mustard’s version is one of a kind. It’s juicy and tender like a filet mignon, and the mixture of the dijon mustard sauce it comes drenched in with sweet and sour cabbage is the kind of bite dreams are made of. Sprinkle some of those thinly sliced fried onions on top, and you have yourself an extremely good time. Everything on the menu is solid, but nothing else creates that lasting impression quite like the chop.

Picture that Sunday night dinner when the family decides to go all out and put together a menu of all their favorite dishes. Well, that’s what’s happening every day at Ad Hoc, but Thomas Keller runs the kitchen. No offense to your brother, mother, or grandfather, but that’s likely to be a reasonable upgrade. The place oozes hospitable happiness and that special juju that makes a restaurant legendary, and always gets us excited to eat here. Every day, there’s only one thing on offer: a set menu of family-style share plates that could be centered around crispy duck confit, baby back ribs, gnudi or (if you’re lucky) fried chicken. There’s always a vegetarian option, you can add on some additional bonus elements (which we suggest you do), and dessert is mandatory. Go hard. Go home. Take a nap.

The buttermilk fried chicken dinner at Ad Hoc became such a runaway hit that they eventually opened a takeout operation and garden behind the original restaurant to give the people what they want. And really, the fact that you can just roll up and grab a bucket of truly incredible fried chicken in between Yountville wine tastings is a privilege. They also serve sandwiches of the fried chicken and pulled pork variety, plus a chocolate chip cookie you shouldn’t miss. Addendum is only open from 11am-2pm on Fridays and Saturdays from May to November, so plan accordingly.

When it comes to French bistros in Yountville, there’s pretty stiff competition, but Bistro Jeanty is easily one of the top three. It’s located in the heart of the action and is a great all-purpose spot that works for pretty much anything from a group lunch, to a date, business meeting, or walk in between wine tastings. Look forward to one of the best tomato soups in a bread bowl you’ve ever had, along with delicious, garlicky mussels, and perfect bistro french fries that’ll make you want to grab a beret and settle in for the night.

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The wraparound patio at Bottega feels like a permanent vacation where lounging with craft cocktails, like the Bear Flag Revolt with a pomegranate bear-shaped ice cube, is the most pressing thing you have to do. The pasta and meat dishes are what it’s all about here, with standouts including rigatoni al coniglio with balsamic marinated rabbit, tagliarini bolognese with Zinfandel-brushed pecorino, and braised short rib. No meal should end without the tiramisu that’s covered in a cocoa-dusted chocolate shell, paired with another one of those rock star cocktails.

The charred pizzas and craft cocktails are the stars at this casual spot inside the North Block Hotel. Whether you post up at the bar for drinks, or lounge on the patio around the fireplace, with new wave tunes playing and bird murals and Edison bulbs flying overhead, this is a nice alternative to the fancier restaurants Yountville is known for. We love the margarita and the potato pizza with Point Reyes toma cheese and bacon, and we usually add in a chicory salad and a few of the excellent ribs, which you can order by the piece.

La Calenda is another more casual lunch and dinner spot, where you’ll find al pastor turning on the spit in the open kitchen and colorful flags hanging from the ceiling in the bar (where you can also catch a game). The outdoor patio is a great spot to relax and watch throngs of people roaming from restaurant to restaurant over chips with a smoky guajillo pepper salsa. The mole enchiladas keep us coming back, along with the carnitas and pastor tacos. Whatever you do, don’t leave without trying the tres leches cake.

When we feel like delicious tapas and day drinking on the patio, this is our go-to place in Yountville. The cocktails, like Isabella’s Colada with mezcal, coconut cream, and lemongrass, are all excellent, and you’ll also find a nice selection of Spanish wines. Start with one of the cured meat plates, the gambas negras, and the bocadilla on house-made brioche. If you’re looking for more than just snacks, the lubina de mar sea bass with black olive mojo should not be missed. Pair it with a glass of the housemade sangria and call it a day.

It’s impossible to miss this classic spot en route to Yountville, with an endless line that starts at breakfast for favorites like the boysenberry danish and the Rutherford sandwich with applewood bacon, eggs, and cheddar, and doesn’t let up until closing time. If you’re here for lunch, try something from as many of the counters as possible—we like to get the Thai crunch salad, the toasted chicken gruyere sandwich, and a chewy, crispy spicy sausage pizza. While all food is packed to go, the true Oakville experience is to eat on the patio overlooking some of the most famous Cabernet vines in Napa Valley. While you’re there, make sure to check out the wine museum next door, filled with artifacts, vineyard maps, and a dizzying display of Baccarat chandeliers.

Only in Yountville can you stop to gas up and find a boutique wine and gift shop, coffee bar, and magazine stand to pass the time while you pump. In addition to an excellent selection of wines by the bottle (start with the staff picks), the reason we return here regularly is the soft serve affogato, and the juicy hot dog served on a doughy poppy seed bun. There are only two small tables inside, so this is definitely a grab-and-go kind of place.

R+D is a crowd-pleaser for just about everyone, with a wide-spanning menu that offers everything from sushi and salads to comfort food classics, like the wild mushroom meatloaf and popular Honor Burger topped with a mound of slaw. If you’re familiar with other R+D outposts, there are no surprises here, other than the number of conversations that revolve around how many wine tastings people have powered through and how wild it is to have found a restaurant in Yountville that offers free corkage. End your meal with the truly excellent carrot cake and chocolate peanut butter pie, and if you’re done with all the power-eating Yountville demands, R+D is a nice choice for takeout pizzas and a night off. 

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Brix is another place that’s really all about the setting, with a garden that’s perfect for lunch or a sunset drink overlooking vineyards, and lots of corners for postcard-worthy pictures. The menu is solid, with options like caramelized sea scallops in a black truffle vinaigrette, steak frites, and kohlrabi fritters, but like we said, you’re here more for the surroundings than anything else. Come when it’s light out and for live music in the garden (typically Wednesdays to Fridays at 5pm).

Yes, RH is owned by Restoration Hardware, but the skylit space is one of the best options in Yountville for a date. Whether you dine indoors or outside on one of the many patios spread across the five-building property, the scenery really steals the show with babbling fountains and trees and chandeliers draped over every table. Stick with standouts like the truffle fries, lobster rolls with drawn butter, and delicious chocolate chip cookies with sea salt. It’s beer and wine only, so select a bottle from the impressive list, settle in, and enjoy the scene.

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