Ten hot new spots to try right now.
Torc / MORGAN BELLINGER
Wine Country just keeps getting more delicious, with a flurry of fabulous new restaurants hitting the scene. Here are 10 treasures to explore, tempting you with inspirations from gourmet bacon consommé to the best ever-lovin’ ice cream to meet a spoon.
1. Archetype Napa
The former French Blue has been reborn under the talented Solage of Calistoga team. The Euro-luxe look
remains mostly the same, but now dishes shine with more Cal-artistic fare, such as peanut-crusted shrimp over hearts of palm, green tomato relish, and Russian dressing.
Try the Bodega Bay king salmon roasted on wine barrel staves and then plated with crispy artichokes, fennel, and sea beans. 1429 Main St., St. Helena, (707) 968-9200, archetypenapa.com.
2. The Farmer and the Fox
Edwin and Stacia Williams wanted an anchor destination for their new clothing/home accessory mercantile, deli, and tasting room estate that celebrates the couple’s Cairdean Vineyards. Welcome to their wood, leather, and marble-trimmed European gastropub under the direction of celebrity chef Joseph Humphrey.
The theme is jolly, fun British bites. Try the Scotch eggs decorated with horseradish and cress; game pie; and grilled fish with “Rumbledethumps”—a Scottish specialty of sautéed cabbage and onion capped in mashed potatoes and cheese baked golden brown. 3111 St. Helena Hwy. N. (in Cairdean Estate), St. Helena, (707) 968-5434, farmerandfox.com.
New Mixologist: Scott Beattie
The cocktail guru is now events-beverage director for the posh resort, putting modern spark into the gracious beverage presentations. Think “croquet cocktails”—light and refreshing concoctions sipped on the lawn—such as a Pimm’s cup spiked with fruit from the property’s own gardens; a Moscow mule with house-made ginger shrub; or a mojito with clarified lime juice. 900 Meadowood Ln., St. Helena, (707) 531-4788, meadowood.com.
3. Noble Folk Ice Cream and Pie Bar
Good-bye boring old chocolate: Hello Japanese purple yam (ube) and apricot-thyme wild blueberry. These are just a few flavors shining in the sumptuous, sweet creations from Ozzy Jimenez and Christian Sullberg, who also own the decadent Moustache Baked Goods just a few blocks away.
Farm-to-waffle-cone and pie-tin artistry is the draw here. Try delicacies including an Albion strawberry and corn ice-cream sandwich, or a Seascape strawberry and local ginger pie still warm from the oven. 116 Matheson St., Healdsburg, (707) 395-4426, facebook.com/thenoblefolk.
4. The Library at Chalkboard
Can a pop-up charge $95 for dinner, plus $70 for beverage pairings? Sure, if you’re in Hotel Les Mars, your chef is Shane McAnelly, and your menu spans six courses of glittery dishes, including kampachi crudo with fava bean, radish, and ponzu “bubbles”; bacon consommé studded with pork belly, 63-degree egg, maple, and nasturtium; and grilled rib eye over creamed nettles.
But plan ahead: The Library pops up in a salon off the hotel lobby on Friday and Saturday nights only, and is limited to just 16 guests. 29 North St., Healdsburg, (707) 433-4211, chalkboardhealdsburg.com.
5. Five Dot Ranch Cookhouse and Five Dot Ranch Smokehouse
Diners at top Bay Area restaurants already love Five Dot boutique beef. Now, they can get the cuts seared or smoked straight from the source, at these two new eateries offering everything from a breakfast rib sandwich on a bacon pecan waffle topped with a fried egg and Noble maple syrup, to a Santa Maria tri-tip sandwich with local heirloom tomato salsa on a baguette.
All you have to do is decide how slow or fast you want to enjoy your meal: The Cookhouse is full service with beer and wine, while The Smokehouse is a seasonal, weather-driven alfresco café on the Oxbow River Deck. 610 First St., Napa, (707) 224-5550, fivedotranch.com.
It’s a dream team: Former The French Laundry sommelier Aubrey Bailey and Colleen Fleming—whose family runs Kelly Fleming Wines—come together for this hip wine and beer bar, offering more than 150 boutique bottled wines, four wines on tap, six draft beers, and some 20 bottled beers.
For tasty pairings, the kitchen sends out charcuterie from a hand-cranked Italian slicer, international cheeses,
pinchos, and panini. 930 Franklin St., Napa, (707) 224-4400, cadetbeerandwinebar.com.
7. Eiko’s Seafood Market and Sushi Bar
Fresh and shiny new at Oxbow Public Market, this shop woos with a gorgeous array of seafood by the pound, grab-and-go Japanese deli fare, Japanese beer and sake selections, and the centerpiece: a sit-down sushi/sashimi bar with a similar menu of the sophisticated salads, bento boxes, and noodle dishes found at big sister Eiko’s Modern Japanese Cuisine in nearby Napa Town Center. 610 First St., Napa, (707) 501-4444, eikosnapa.com.
8. Bellissimo Gourmet Italian Delicatessen
Fill up through breakfast and lunch, or grab an early dinner at this spotless wood-and-steel-trimmed café anchored by a gleaming deli case stocked with meats, cheeses, and salads. Chef Glenn Haffner looks to his Sicilian heritage for Mediterranean-inspired dishes, such as house-roasted pork loin sliced thick and topped with fresh pear, frisée, and rosemary aioli on a baguette. Or try the Sonoma risotto salad bright with rice, oranges, almonds, and bell peppers in citrus mint dressing. 1000 Main St., Napa, (707) 266-1085, bellissimogourmet.com.
New Chef: Trevor Kunk
The wine-centric restaurant on Highway 29 was able to lure the former chef of New York’s acclaimed Blue Hill away from his Manhattan home, and Kunk quickly put his big-city statement on the menu.
Impressive new plates include a raw radish cocktail with cucumber sorrel crema and asparagus; tender shards of crispy pig head moistened with whole grain mustard over frisée, cherries, and pecans; and bavette béarnaise. 587 St. Helena Hwy. (Hwy. 29), St. Helena, (707) 967-0550, presssthelena.com.
9. Jax White Mule
Every town needs a good neighborhood diner, and thanks to owner J.B. Leamer, locals are now digging in to hearty breakfast dishes such as chicken-fried chicken smothered in gravy, and lunch plates including a big beef-pork burger buried in bacon, cheddar, onion strings, and barbecue sauce, with a side of Tots. 1122 First St., Ste. A, Napa, (707) 812-6853, jaxwhitemulediner.com.
It may be a chain joint, but there’s no denying that the burger shrine next to Bounty Hunter is pretty, with its industrial-mod design, and has something for everyone via all-natural beef patties, specialty hot dogs, fresh-cut french fries, desserts, and craft beer and wine. 967 First St., Napa, (707) 927-5373, burgerfi.com.