Napa Valley, California
Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen, St. Helena: Part supperclub, part speakeasy, entirely charming; Cindy’s was once a bordello back in the late 1800s, but now her exposed brick patio provides the perfect ambiance for alfresco dining...
- More about your oliver guide: Heather Hartle
- Trip type: Adult
- Activity level: easy
- Ideal length of trip: To really take in the full environment and get a tiny taste of the Napa Valley lifestyle, a long weekend at the very least is definitely recommended. If you can swing longer, well played!
to & from
- Whether flying into SFO/OAK or simply indulging in a day or weekend escape from your busy city life, the most direct transportation option is to rent a car.
- If you know you’ll be imbibing and would prefer to splurge on a chauffeured ride with Titan Urban, hire an Uber or Lyft. Safety is obviously the most important concern once the wine starts flowing!
Where to Stay
- Harvest Inn By Charlie Palmer, St. Helena: Idyllic, quaint and cozy, with a noted emphasis on the “vineyard way of life.” Be sure to swing by the bar at Harvest Table, their on-site dining experience, and ask the bartender for A Pisco My Heart to get the evening started.
- Auberge du Soleil, Rutherford: 50 rooms, suites and private maisons are terraced down the hillside at Auberge, creating a warm, inviting and above all else, elegant lodging experience.
- Villagio Inn & Spa, Yountville: Seamlessly blending Old World charm with the luxurious undertones of Wine Country’s very essence, Villagio’s Tuscan-inspired architecture is surrounded by beautifully landscaped, abundant gardens and charming acres of olive trees.
- The Westin Verasa, Napa: Conveniently located right in the heart of downtown Napa, The Westin provides a true resort feel without having to leave an urban setting. You are literally walking distance from some of the most divine restaurants, wine tasting rooms and art galleries in the area.
Where to Eat and Drink
Your wine, dine and relaxation options are endless in the Napa Valley, which is comprised of smaller towns: Napa, Yountville, Oakville Rutherford, St. Helena, and Calistoga.
- Morimoto, Napa: Smack dab in the middle of downtown and containing Napa’s only Sake and Japanese Whiskey Bar, Morimoto is certainly the restaurant to visit if you’re looking for that “wow” factor. Special occasion or simply feeling adventurous? Treat yourself to the multi-course tasting menu, giving Morimoto free reign to design a dinner that best represents their essence.
- The Charter Oak, St. Helena: Brilliantly balancing simplicity with meticulous craftsmanship, Chef Katianna Hong is redefining the celebratory nature of family-style dining by showcasing seasonal ingredients and local products (including farm fresh vegetables and grilled meats), which in turn are quickly propelling this spot to the forefront of Napa Valley must visits.
- Terra & Bar Terra, St. Helena: Previously appointed “Best California Chef” by the James Beard Foundation, Chef Hiro Sone and his wife, former Wolfgang Puck pastry chef, Lissa Doumani, decided to blend his Japanese heritage and traditional French training, with her Lebanese ancestry and Napa Valley roots via prix fix focused Terra, or more casual, small plate centered Bar Terra.
- Gott’s, St. Helena & Napa: A tried-and-true roadside staple with multiple locations, Gott’s is grilling up 100% Niman Ranch, vegetarian fed beef burgers, beer-battered onion rings, and Ahi Poke tacos (among other mouthwatering menu items), all of which are to die for.
- Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch, St. Helena: Raising the bar in regards to farm-to-table cuisine and grass-fed beef and lamb, Farmstead is a beautiful reminder - be it cocktail or carefully thought out plate - how important food rooted in family tradition truly is.
- Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen, St. Helena: Part supperclub, part speakeasy, entirely charming; Cindy’s was once a bordello back in the late 1800s, but now her exposed brick patio provides the perfect ambiance for alfresco dining, while her cozy banquettes and walls steeped in history entire patrons to pick one of many seductive cocktails to begin imbibing with.
- Ciccio, Yountville : Your go-to spot to satisfy all of your Italian, carb and wood-fire pizza cravings, Ciccio is located in the northern end of Yountville in a remodeled grocery store dating all the way back to 1916.
- Ad Hoc, Yountville: A member of the Thomas Keller family, Ad Hoc offers a four-course, family style dining menu five days a week, and a Sunday brunch that will have you licking your lips and experiencing powerful food flashbacks well into the next week.
What to Do
- Aerena Galleries & Gardens: Six perfectly situated contemporary art galleries paired with captivating outdoor sculpture gardens in Napa and Sonoma. These masterfully curated collections of paintings, sculpture, design objets, and found furnishings - from the 18th century to the present - offer the sophisticated client and curious explorer the opportunity to search and find what inspires.
- Bothe-Napa Valley State Park: The weather in the valley has a tendency to be quite idyllic, so if the outdoors tend to call your name, be sure and scope out this breathtaking state park.
- Spa Solage, Calistoga: Isn’t an important ingredient in a proper getaway relaxation? Channel tranquility, increase your wellness and reach a well-deserved restorative level with one of the many treatments offered, including a soak in a geo-thermal pool, mud baths, massages or facials.
- Experience an elevated level of Bespoke with downtown Napa’s latest addition to the world of wine tasting, fine art, antiquities, and objet by ÆRENA Galleries & Gardens, by way of RiverHouse. Treat yourself to a one-of-a-kind experience via the Blackbird Vineyards portfolio tasting, paired with a pre-curated bento box courtesy of Morimoto Napa. The bento box includes Chef's selections of sushi, tempura, and teriyaki beef (adjustable for any dietary restrictions), and is offered seven days a week at noon and 1pm (with a 24-hour notice). Priced at $95 a head, RiverHouse can accommodate a maximum party size of 10 guests, ensuring that this tasting is one for the record books.
- If you’re looking for an immediate way to cool off, apart from a chilled glass of rosé, The Meritage Resort & Spa in Napa offers day pool and spa passes for adults 21 and up starting at $30 per person via ResortPass.
- Basalt in Downtown Napa is turning the basic cocktail menu on its head with some of the most delectable adult beverage concoctions north of The City. Well-stocked, overflowing with talent, and eager to please, the bar staff can whip up anything your heart desires, and even a few concoctions you never knew you needed.