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A list of can’t miss places to go when visiting Napa

The fall is a perfect time to visit the Napa Valley.  The weather is simply perfect.  The harvest is in full swing. New releases are flowing into the tasting rooms all over the valley.  Also, this time of year you won’t find as much crowding as in the busy summer months.

Here we present some lists of our favorite places that are sure to be the highlight of your visit. These recommendations are the result of many years of visiting The Valley and are all highly recommended.

Great Places To Stay

Silverado Resort and Spa
Located toward the center of The Valley on the Silverado Trail, this stunning resort provides everything you could ask for.  Great location, spa, and two championship caliber golf courses redesigned by Johnny Miller are just a few of the many amenities.


River Terrace Inn
Outstanding accommodations right in the heart of downtown along the Napa River. Great rooms and river views and a short walk to all that the newly renovated downtown has to offer.


Napa River Inn
Quaint rooms with a fireplace, river views, and a perfect location right in the heart of downtown make this a favorite of ours.  A stones throw away from great dining such as Morimoto Napa and Angele as well as the great jazz club Silos. If that’s not enough, a delicious breakfast by Sweetie Pies Bakery is brought to your door every morning.


Harvest Inn
Located in St. Helena, this is a great place to stay and hit the wineries up the northern part of the valley.  Also convenient when hitting the mountain wineries (see below). Beautiful rooms and grounds, evening wine tastings and only a short distance from great wineries such as Duckhorn and Heitz.


Great Places to Eat

Rutherford Grill – Rutherford
This is our favorite place to eat in The Valley! All of their dishes: Rotisserie Chicken, Steaks, Salmon, and Prime Rib are grilled over oak wood or roasted in their oak fired ovens.  The Prime Rib is truly life altering. Great patio and outdoor bar (they make great margaritas if you’re palate is wiped out) and always fantastic service. Prices are very reasonable and THEY CHARGE $0.00 FOR CORKAGE! Yup, bring your own bottle of wine and enjoy for free!


Boon Fly Cafe – Carneros
Located on the Carneros highway just south of Napa is the best breakfast place in the region. Boon Fly is part of the Carneros Inn and serves exceptional breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner.  Real good old-fashioned comfort food with subtle twists that make their dishes special. The Boon Fly Benedict with jalapeno infused hollandaise sauce is remarkable as are their made to order mini cinnamon doughnuts. This is always packed with locals so you know you’re getting the real deal.


Gott Roadside – Saint Helena
This looks like a bit of a dive but don’t let first impressions lead you away from this fantastic eatery. First off, the picnic setting is truly delightful in the spring, summer, and fall and the food is outstanding! They even have a very nice wine list that offers half bottles (I love the Lang & Reed Cab. Franc), by the glass, or full bottles at reasonable prices. The burgers are exceptional as are the fish tacos, and grilled chicken. Shakes are great too if you’re all wined out. Another place very popular with the locals.  A real treat!


Morimoto Napa – Downtown Napa
Exceptional fine dining for quite a bit less than you would expect. Iron Chef Morimoto is renowned for his unique interpretation and vision. The menu here is a fine example. The dishes are innovative and very tasty. Top service and a very complimentary wine menu make this a favorite. The surf & turf (New York or Wagyu Beef and Hamachi) is stunning.


Angele Restaurant and Bar – Downtown Napa
Great patio setting right next to the Napa River. The food is fresh and simply delicious. For lunch, I loved their take on the Croque Monssieur. Also try the Asperges (Carmelized Asparagus) as a tasty side. Dinner menu is also very inventive and very good.


La Toque – Downtown Napa
La Toque is quite expensive but is a true Napa gem. The menu changes with the seasons but always includes innovative, delicious, and artfully prepared meals. You can choose between the core menu and the chef’s table menu.  A great dining experience but know that it will set you back more than few dollars.


Mustards Grill – Yountville
If you took a truck stop from Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives and smashed it up with The French Laundry and a giant wine list what would you get? Mustards Grill is what you would get. This is good old comfort food with large twists of elegance and creativity. The big plus is that much of the produce is organically grown on-site. A bit on the pricey side but the meals are unforgettable.


Great Places to Taste

Between all of us here at DdV, we’ve tasted at a huge number of wineries. Our advice for the best tasting experience is to avoid the big retail places on the Silverado Trail and focus in on wineries that provide tasting by appointment only. First, if you like and buy their wines they will almost always waive the tasting fee. Second, you get to learn a great deal more about their wines and wine in general than from a bar stool at a big crowded retail place. The tasting experience is truly light years better. It’s best to call a week or so ahead but many take same day appointments. Plan on forty-five minutes to an hour for each. If you’re running late or early just ring the next winery up and tell them. Never a problem.

There are a few non appointment places we’ll recommend here as the tasting experience is much better than most on The Trail.

Head for the hills!

We love mountain wines here at DdV. These are wines sourced from “high above the fog” on Howell Mountain, Spring Mountain, Mt. Veeder, and Atlas Peak. Some of the best tasting can be found on Howell Mountain, so lets start there. All of these small mountain wineries have amazing views, great hospitality, and amazing wines. A perfect combination!

Howell Mountain Wineries (click on the names for their website)

Outpost Winery
Ladera Vineyards
White Cottage
Bravante Vineyards
O’Shaughnessy Estate

Spring Mountain Wineries

Pride Mountain Vineyards
Barnett Vineyards
Terra Valentine

Mt. Veeder Wineries

The Hess Collection
Mt. Veeder Winery

Valley Wineries 

Joseph Phelps
Heitz Cellars  (no appointment needed)
Luna Vineyards (no appointment needed)
St. Clement  (no appointment needed)
Robert Craig (a mountain winery but tasting room is in downtown Napa)

Other Places of Interest

Oxbow Public Market – Downtown Napa
A great fun place to enjoy food, wine, and shopping. Great farmers market in the summer. If you like your oysters, Hog Island is a must try. Gott’s Roadside also has a location here. Sip and try new wines at the Oxbow Wine Merchant. Great bakeries, and markets abound.


Silos Jazz Club
Great live music venue.  Wine list is very good and not too marked up. Great sound! We always have a blast at Silos!