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Yountville, California: An Ideal Starting Point for Seeing Napa

Locations in this article:  San Francisco, CA


Yountville is the home of the Michelin 3-Star French Laundry, Chef Thomas Keller’s restaurant considered by many to be the best restaurant in the country. While we’ve tried several times to get reservations in anticipation of our visits, we’ve never managed to get through. (They have very specific calling rules to follow that require calling them two months in advance).

But we’ve not cared very much because there are so many other choices that are much more affordable. One of our favorites is Redd. The unpretentious restaurant specializes in California cuisine using fresh local ingredients. It has an inviting atmosphere, nothing stuffy about it, and is a good place to bring a family. They also have a great wine list focusing on small, local Napa wineries that are literally in their backyard.

Next door is a unique restaurant called Ad Hoc. It’s one of three of Thomas Keller’s restaurants along Yountville’s main street (the third is Bouchon and its Bouchon Bakery). Each day they offer a single four-course dinner served family style. This format started out as a temporary idea to fill the restaurant while it was being designed, but became so popular that the idea has remained. There’s no menu and you need to take what’s offered for the day (although they do ask if you have any food allergies when they take your reservation.) Monday’s menus are more predictable; it’s the day when they offer their wonderful fried chicken.

For more casual dining, the Bouchon Bakery offers fresh baked bread and take-out sandwiches. A block away is Bistro Jeanty, an authentic French Bistro that offers lunch and dinner at reasonable prices. More >>