Everything Seems to Taste Better
This time of year is the perfect reason to throw open the doors and gather outside to enjoy great food and wine.
With Napa Valley’s vast canvas of outdoor dining options, there are a myriad of opportunities to enjoy exceptional culinary experiences that incorporate stunning views or the ability just to people watch surrounded by nature and great weather. Let’s face it. There’s something about eating outside that somehow lifts the spirits and makes the food taste better. While outdoor seating is at a premium in spring and summer months, luckily, the moderate weather in Napa Valley makes it easy for restaurants that have outdoor space to offer patrons the option to dine al fresco pretty much year-round. Some even architect the focus of their restaurant around it. It would be impossible to list all of the restaurants in wine country that have outdoor seating, so we’ve pared down a shortlist to cover the gambit by location, venue, and outdoor vibe, all which are worth checking out, no matter what the mood or craving.
Oxbow Public Market
610 and 644 First Street, Napa // www.oxbowpublicmarket.com
Oxbow Public Market, located in the Oxbow District of Napa, has become the local gathering place for great food and wine in downtown Napa and throughout the Napa Valley. The 40,000 square-foot marketplace features a diverse tenant mixture of local food vendors, artisan cafes, and an organic produce outlet for local farms. The Market is wrapped on all four sides with outdoor seating options: East Side (C Casa and Live Fire) Front Deck (Kara’s and Fieldwork Brewery) West Side/Annex (Gotts, Model Bakery, Fatted Calf and Cru at Oxbow) and the popular River Deck overlooking the Napa River which offers open seating for the Kitchen Door and Hog Island. This Spring, the Market is anxious to complete an upgrade to the River Deck, which will include a shade structure.
Sky & Vine
1260 First Street, Napa at Archer Hotel Napa // www.skyandvine.com
Sky & Vine® Rooftop Bar, Napa’s premier wine country-inspired retreat located atop Archer Hotel Napa, is one of Napa Valley’s most spectacular outdoor gathering spots. The restaurant offers a season- ally inspired menu from acclaimed chef Charlie Palmer, as well as a variety of programming and weekly promotions. Opened in 2018, the 7,000 square-foot bar and lounge offers guests comfortable seating amid chic décor, ambient festoon lighting and breathtaking, panoramic views of the valley, making for a most memorable bar bite, craft cocktail or glass of wine overlooking downtown Napa and beyond.
True to its name, Sky & Vine’s stunning valley views, the only vistas of its kind, given the hotel’s unique vantage point and height as the only rooftop venue in Napa, are complemented by natural design elements of reclaimed wood, metal, and stone. Eating and drinking spaces sit beneath airy wooden trellises, hanging string lights, and the open expanse of Napa Valley skies.
Other downtown dining establishments with outdoor seating worth checking out:
The Grill at Silverado Resort // www.silveradoresort.com
Celadon // www.celadonnapa.com
Napa General Store // www.napageneralstore.com
Morimoto // www.morimotonapa.com
Gotts Roadside // www.gotts.com
Angele // www.angelenapa.com
Yountville is a prime location for diners in search of outdoor seating. Almost every res- taurant has a patio, so there are too many to list, but each has its own special charm, whether it be something more intimate or a more lively experience dining among many.
6525 Washington St., Yountville // www.coquetanv.com
Chef Michael Chiarello’s Coqueta is a Spanish- Inspired restaurant which spe- cializes in tapas, both small and large plates, and paella made to order. The expansive outdoor patio actually serves as the main dining area and is popular for its communal dining vibe and Spanish themed cocktails, which make it a perfect happy hour rendezvous for visitors and locals.
6795 Washington St., Yountville // www.r-dkitchen.com
R+D Kitchen is Hillstone Group’s sister restaurant to the Napa mainstay, The Rutherford Grill. The patio scene at Yountville’s busy corner lot is twofold. It has an area adjoining the restaurant with an outdoor bar and lunch menu that attracts both two-legged and four-legged guests for lively afternoon gatherings and an expanded fire-pit area, where patrons may buy a bottle of wine and unwind after a long day.
6488 Washington St., Yountville // www.proteayountville.com
Protea is one of Yountville’s hidden gems, specializing in Caribbean-style street food to eat in or carry out. The menu changes daily based on what fresh ingredients are available in the Napa Valley. Protea has a rooftop patio that offers diners a secret getaway with a birds-eye view of Yountville’s busy Washington Street.
7377 St. Helena Highway, Oakville // www.brix.com
Brix Restaurant has been a Napa locals favorite since it opened in 1996. Its newly renovated outdoor patio boasts one of Napa Valley’s most spectacular views of their vineyard and garden, which is harvested for their farm-fresh menu and craft cocktails. The patio is especially renowned for their Sunday Buffet Brunch, but plan ahead. It is often booked out weeks in advance.
Auberge du Soleil
180 Rutherford Hill Road, Rutherford // www.aubergeresorts.com
With 13 consecutive Michelin Star awards, The Restaurant at Auberge du Soleil consistently provides a memorable feast for the eyes and the senses. Whether taking in the awe-inspiring vista views on the outdoor terrace or enjoying the comfort of the intimate dining room, the delectable Mediterranean-inspired cuisine is perfectly complemented by the atmosphere. The resort also invites people to dine throughout the day in a more casual setting at the Bistro & Bar, which offers a selection of wines-by-the-glass and bar bites, such as house-made charcuterie and local artisanal cheeses, delicious burgers, or oysters and caviar. A sunset cocktail or glass of champagne on the Bistro terrace is a must for locals and visitors alike.
Pizzeria Tra Vigne
1016 Main St., St. Helena // www.pizzariatravigne.com
Tra Vigne Pizzeria and Restaurant, a locals favorite, is a wood-fired pizzeria in the heart of St. Helena wine country. Thin- crust, sourdough pizzas star on the menu, which also includes an incredible array of delicious salads, fun, tasty, Italian small plates. Dine on the beautiful and secluded outdoor patio nestled among the wisteria and watch the Wine Train go by or get the gang together and play a game of Bocce on the recreational court. The patio is especially popular for Happy Hour, with $1.00 oysters on the half-shell and daily food and drink specials.
Calistoga Inn & Brewery
1250 Lincoln Ave., Calistoga // www.calistogainn.com
The Calistoga Inn, Restaurant & Brewery has something for everyone. Located on the main drag of downtown Calistoga, the charming historic inn and English-style pub with its own boutique, craft brewery, and lively indoor-outdoor restaurant create an all-encompassing wine country destination that attracts visitors and locals alike. The restaurant menu is overseen by Chef Santiago Garcia and focuses on contemporary, upscale American menu items such as steaks, seafood, pasta, and salads. The large outdoor patio has bustling tables and conversation areas with fire pits and comes complete with a 100 seat beer garden. The newest attraction is an indoor- outdoor bar built at the entrance to the patio on Lincoln Avenue. Its 360-degree access serves as the hub of activity for both patrons and staff, making it a popular hangout through- out the day. The outdoor patio has live music nightly May-October.
755 Silverado Trail, N, Calistoga // www.aubergeresorts.com
Adored by locals and guests for its vibrant and convivial setting, Solbar at Solage is a Napa Valley staple, featuring playful, season- ally driven and soul filling Napa Valley cuisine under the purview of Executive Chef Gustavo Rios. Solbar’s inviting outdoor patio has been a Valley favorite and is in the process of being extended to double its current size. The renovation incorporates a mix of alfresco dining and lounge seating for more communal dining experience. Solbar’s expanded outdoor terrace invites guests outdoors to dine or relax by fire pits while taking in the views of the nearby mountains and vineyards.
Other Up Valley dining establish- ments with outdoor seating worth checking out:
Rutherford Grill // www.rutherfordgrill.com
Farmstead // www.longmeadowranch.com
Archetype // www.archetypenapa.com
Goose & Gander // www.goosegander.com
Charter Oak // www.thecharteroak.com
Gotts // www.gottsnapa.com
The Grill at Meadowood // www.meadowood.com
Acacia House // www.marriott.com
Article By: Laura Larson