Dine About Town
Whether you are yearning for Yountville or a newbie noshing in Napa, here are four fantastic new finds on the foodie map.
Juan A. Ruiz
Gothic mystery meets Wine Country whimsy at Empire Napa, a swanky lounge in the heart of downtown, which promises to be the new go-to for late-night revelers. Enjoy cocktails and wine pairings with inspired small plates, ranging from Japanese shabu-shabu beef to short rib ravioli. Check the online calendar for weekly events such as visiting DJs, and consider booking the space for special occasions. 1400 First St., Napa, (707) 254-8888, empirenapa.com.
From the team that brought Napa Valley the comfort-fare haven Rutherford Grill comes R + D Kitchen, the lighter (and dare we say, sexier) iteration in Yountville. Menu highlights include chicken meatballs and a magnificent meat loaf. Sip cocktails by the fire pits on the outdoor terrace, or swirl wines in a booth overlooking the vineyards. 6795 Washington St., Yountville, (707) 945-0290, hillstone.com.
Ice Cream of the Crop
We all scream for classic Italian ice cream at Frati Gelato Café, tucked in a corner along downtown Napa’s riverfront. Dip your spoon into strawberry Sangiovese sorbet made with Napa wines, and let the staff scoop rich gelato flavors such as panna cotta and chai latte into your waffle cone. If you’re craving something savory, the café offers fresh panini. 670 Main St., Napa, (707) 265-0265, fratigelatocafe.com.
Napa Valley Bistro didn’t have time to finish hanging paintings on the walls before locals packed this cozy enclave just off Main Street in downtown Napa, thanks to no corkage fees and a reasonably priced menu. This sister restaurant to Market in St. Helena features American favorites such as the bistro burger and mac ’n’ cheese, with international dishes from blackened chicken empanadas to vegetarian lemon thyme risotto peppering the menu. 975 Clinton St., Napa, (707) 666-2383, napavalleybistro.net.