Answers from Our Experts (1)
Napa has what it takes to be one of the most romantic getaways in the U.S.: breathtaking views of hills and valleys, seemingly endless wine lists and spectacular fine dining. In fact, many eateries have all three. In St. Helena, there’s The Restaurant at Meadowood and Terra; Auberge Du Soleil in Rutherford; and The French Laundry in Yountville.
1. Remaining true to Meadowood’s natural, serene setting, The Restaurant at Meadowood, concentrates on the purity of regional flavors, using several ingredients from the resort’s onsite garden. The result is a menu replete with fresh, delectable choices. From the extensive list of 1,100 wines, the sommelier assists in pairing varietals to fully complement the essence of each dish. A modern dining room with stone fireplaces, white wainscoting and rows of windows revealing the beautiful grounds adds to the magical experience.
2. Chef and owner Hiro Sone has been wowing diners at Terra, his cozy, intimate Napa Valley restaurant, since 1988. Set one block off the main drag on Railroad Avenue in St. Helena, Terra is located in a charming, old stone building, rustically finished with vintage red-tiled floors, exposed stone walls and wood-beamed ceilings. The food is spectacular — a successful blend of flavors from Italy, France and Asia. With gracious hospitality and warmth, the staff at Terra makes you feel like you’re dining at home.
3. French-born San Francisco restaurateur Claude Rouas set out to create a Provence-like destination restaurant in northern California when he opened Auberge du Soleil in 1981. Diners liked it so much they demanded overnight accommodations — and received them four years later. The seasonal French-California menu features artisanal ingredients and products from local farms. If you’re touring the valley by car, consider a lunch stop where you can enjoy the views from the terrace.
4. At this former French steam laundry, chef Thomas Keller has raised the standard for fine dining in America with his restaurant, The French Laundry. While the country locale — a circa-1900 rock and timber cottage — makes you feel at home, tables topped with Limoges china, crystal stemware and floor-length linens, set the tone for the nine-course French or vegetarian tasting menus that change daily but always rely on seasonal produce and organic meats. Reservations are taken two months in advance, so be prepared if you’re hoping to snag a table at this perennially outstanding American classic.