What It Is: Restaurateur Claud Rouas’s restaurant set within the 33-acre olive grove “Inn of the Sun” offering Mediterranean-inspired cuisine by executive chef Robert Curry.
What The Inspectors Say: “This is one of the first restaurants to elevate the Napa Valley to greatness. For the past decade, Chef Robert Curry has been ensuring its legacy with cooking that is the very definition of California cuisine: global flavors expressed through local, seasonal, and fresh ingredients. The kitchen’s work is as impressive as the setting. Everything seems just a bit more beautiful from this extraordinary perch, overlooking the vineyards, mountains, and gardens.”
What It Is: Thomas Keller’s flagship restaurant that’s been the fine dining Napa Valley go-to for over two decades.
What The Inspectors Say: “Chef Keller continues to pair incredibly classic French techniques with wildly fresh ingredients in a setting that is a perfect storm of restaurant greatness—we should all be so lucky to score a reservation here in our lifetime. Choose from two seasonal tasting menus, including a vegetarian option. Both feature products from boutique purveyors. Dinners may highlight signature oysters paired with white sturgeon caviar in a warm sabayon studded with tapioca pearls or golden striped bass with deconstructed deviled eggs.”
What It Is: Nestled inside a charming inn, executive chef Steve Litke’s delicate menu uses ingredients from two fifth-generation Sonoma farmers.
What The Inspectors Say: “Dinner guests will find themselves charmed by the dining room’s soothing colors, rustic-elegant décor, crackling fireplace, and numerous intimate nooks—including an enclosed patio. The protein-centric menu reads like an ode to California’s purveyors, and a focus on seasonality is in keeping with the area’s ethos.”
What It Is: Executive chef Christopher Kostow’s “modern American restaurant meant to speak to and positively impact the Napa Valley.”
What The Inspectors Say: “ Everything here exudes California-style wealth and comfort, from those cottages dotting the Napa hills to the front lounge’s stone fireplace and shelves lined with Chef Kostow's debut cookbook. Beyond this, the dining room is a sophisticated barn of sorts, decked in polished stone tables, wood columns, and rural splendor. This all makes for an elegant backdrop for romantic evenings or family celebrations, as long as everyone is willing to splurge. Servers are impeccable, professional, and know how to keep their guests happy and at ease. The cooking never ceases to better itself through innovation and purity.”
What It Is: Husband and wife duo Kyle (he’s the chef) and Katina (she’s the farmer/horticulturist) Connaughton’s Californian-meets-Japanese restaurant.
What The Inspectors Say: “Each element of the experience is treated with utmost precision, from the swank rooftop garden where diners enjoy champagne and canapés to the plush rooms at the adjoining inn, where many bed down after the meal. Yet the experience is always warm: staff contribute to the décor, chat merrily with guests, and add to the overall feeling of a rich, regional celebration of place.”
What It Is: Thomas Keller’s more relaxed French bistro featuring a seasonal menu and raw bar.
What The Inspectors Say: “A theatrical crowd uplifts the space with conviviality, and every lavish banquette or stool at the bustling bar is full. Always. Thanks to the house bakery next door, the bread here is ace, so grab an extra hunk of the supremely fresh and crusty pain d'epi to slather with butter. The menu lists well-executed classics, including a rosy foie gras torchon with seasonal orange preserves and golden-brown toasted brioche. And thanks to the attentive staff, you may even get a second slice.”
What It Is: Kenzo Estate owners Kenzo and Natsuko Tsujimoto’s elegant Japanese restaurant using ingredients flown in daily from Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market.
What The Inspectors Say: “Though Kenzo offers a handful of tables, the best seats are at the lengthy counter, where diners can chat with the chefs and see their sushi made firsthand. Two menus are offered under the guidance of acclaimed chef Eiji Onoyama: one exclusively spotlights elegant kaiseki dishes like sea urchin chawanmushi and poached blue shrimp with asparagus, while the other also integrates a dozen pieces of nigiri, sourced directly from Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji Fish Market.”
Hero image courtesy of Bob McClenahan.
This article originally appeared on the MICHELIN Guide USA website. View the original article here.