Eating out in the Bay Area with Michael Bauer, Food Critic of the SF Chronicle, is not that different from stepping out with a famous politician, rock star, or actor… It involves the same level of fanfare, pinky-ring kissing, and an obscene amount of food delivered. Napa Valley is one of America’s great culinary destinations and Michael Bauer’s opinion always matters.



In the thick of Yountville, is Bardessono Hotel, Spa and Restaurant: the only Platinum LEED certified hotel in California, thoughtfully adorned with the latest 21st century gadgetry (my personal favorite are the super-fancy TOTO toilets by the bar).  If that doesn’t grab you, the hotel graciously accepts pets, offers in-room spa service, a new restaurant called LUCY, a rocking bar with a great cocktail menu, roof-top pool + bikes are always at-the-ready.  What is there not to LOVE?

I particularly like that it is 2 minutes walking distance from all the best coffee shops + restaurants– and that comes in handy late at night.

Read the blog post here.

6526 Yount Street
Yountville, CA 94599


On the way to Napa (at mid point, on hwy 121) is the most delicious + old-fashioned little diner called the Fremont Diner, serving some of the best food in Northern California.

You can’t help but admire chef Chad Harris’ audacious vision…  Vision that starts from the moment you walk through those clanky, old screen doors, and into his theater/kitchen. Chad and his fist full of life-altering recipes transformed the old BABE’s diner, from a seedy looking greasy spoon, into a Mecca for lovers/ students/ connoisseurs of nostalgic Americana food. Decadent things like pulled pork sandwiches; shrimp and grits; fried oyster + shrimp po-boys; ham baked in brown sugar and basted in Coca Cola, served with buttermilk biscuits smothered in butter and honey… Just for starters.

Read the blog post here.

Fremont Diner
2698 Fremont Drive
Sonoma, CA 95476


The Oxbow in downtown Napa is a true foodie emporium. Today, it is packed on the weekends with locals + thrill-seekers looking to taste, try, and swoon. And much like the Ferry Building in San Francisco, it is becoming the hub of the emerging Napa community and a must-visit destination for the gastronomically inclined + out-of- town visitors.   Next door to the Oxbow is the new Gott’s Roadside– one of the great local addictions.  And behind it is the Model Bakery and the Fatted Calf.  The possibilities are endlessly delicious.

Read the blog post here.

Oxbow Public Market
610 & 644 First Street
Napa, CA 94559


Established in 1962, this enchanting discovery beguiles anyone looking for the REAL DEAL. The Particelli family runs this old-fashioned Italian market out of a little, white washed barn off the beaten path in St. Helena. Gourmands flock to stock up on their NAPA VALLEY OLIVE OIL bottles in every imaginable size– the perfect Napa trophy/ souvenir.

Read the blog post here.

Napa Valley Olive Oil Company
835 Charter Oak Ave
Saint Helena, CA 94574


Jim Ayers is the cheese monger at Sunshine Foods Market and, in my opinion, runs the best cheese program in Napa Valley.  He/ they carry the most perfect and edited assortments of cheeses, olives, crackers, grissini, wafers, jellies, spreads and is a dreamy resource.

Read the blog post here.

Sunshine Market
1115 Main Street
St Helena, CA 94574


Calling all bacon-lovers…  The Bar at Press offers the most delicious + irresistible culinary extravaganza ever.  Their bacon tasting illuminates the best purveyors of bacon in the land, such as the local Hobbs’ Applewood, Double Cut Nueske from Wisconsin, Benton’s Country Bacon from Tennessee, Black Pig Bacon from Sonoma, Durham Ranch Wild Boar Bacon from Wyoming, D’Artagnan Duck Bacon, Hobbs Candied Bacon, Mangalitsa.  Every single bite is a sensory explosion of aroma/ taste/ texture/ chew/ smoke/ salt/ sweet/ heat.   A truly memorable experience that is breakfast, dinner + dessert at the same time.

587 St Helena Highway
St Helena, CA 94574


Swanson Vineyards
1271 Manly Lane
Rutherford, CA 94573


REDD Restaurant is a foodie destination that is hip + urban, in a way that is wholly singular in the valley. Chef Richard Reddington’s food is as inventive (Redd lobster club), luxurious (duck confit with foie gras meatballs) and impressive (steamed pork buns), attracting a clientele I don’t see driving around the valley or tasting at any of the wineries, during the day.  His guests come to be dazzled and leave delighted.


6480 Washington St
Yountville, CA 94559


XO Transportation

photo credits: welcome to oxbow via, all other nicole mcintosh bruce

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2 Responses to Napa Itineraries: The Foodie

  1. carolynn jacoby says:

    Have a funny story about the great old olive oil place in St. Helena. We were lugging home a big ol bottle of the stuff and I place it on my couch inside the door and went to get some other treasures out of the car. Well when I returned the bottle had tipped over and my couch was saturated with olive oil. Not a pretty moment in the Jacoby household! However there is no place I’d rather be on a hot summer day than in their cave- like store.

  2. Anne Marie says:

    Wonderful little guide! We are headed there again this weekend for a wedding but we want to make sure we can hit all the right stops. But I do think wine tasting and tours are the absolute best part.

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