by Mar Yvette - 482 Reviews - 150 List
Located just an hour north of San Francisco in the heart of Napa Valley, the quaint town of Yountville is both a serene getaway and gourmand's dream. Laying claim to some of nature's most scenic beauty as well as the finest dining destinations in the world (umm ... hello, French Laundry), this idyllic hamlet has quickly become a must for oenophiles, foodies and nature lovers alike.
Updated: April 20, 2009
*EDITOR PICK* Go for the food, stay for the drinks. Food Network star and Napa Valley's other famous restaurateur Michael Chiarello gets in touch with his culinary roots at this long-awaited farm-to-table Italian eatery with a lively bar and outdoor lounge.
*EDITOR PICK* Sure, this Yountville restaurant is owned by French Laundry chef Thomas Keller, but it's nothing like that famed temple of gastronomic nirvana. This fun, unpretentious French brasserie is where you can always find something yummy going on in the kitchen and at the bar. (And snagging a reservation is a whole lot easier than getting your name on the waiting list for that other fancier place.) Think of it as FL's younger, sassier sister.
The restaurant that put Yountville on the world dining map, this fabled eatery offers two unique nine-course menus every day. No single ingredient is ever repeated throughout the dinner and there's just enough of each dish so diners are pining for one more spoonful. But remember, this place has no concept of the word "recession," so make sure your budget can handle the steep prices.
*EDITOR PICK* Making good on its promise to provide "temporary relief of hunger," this home-spun American eatery knows a thing or two about the element of surprise. Serving up one four-course prix-fixe meal that changes every day, this place is perfect if you like a little spontaneous consumption. (Seriously. The menu isn't available until day-of, so you can either call in or sign up for a daily email to find out what's cooking. Or just show up and enjoy the spontaneity of it all.)
*EDITOR PICK* Sprawled across 23 gorgeous acres on the Vintage Estate, this Mediterranean-style retreat of beautifully landscaped gardens, cobblestone courtyards, trickling fountains and blossoming trees might be centered in the middle of Yountville, but you'll swear you've just escaped to a secret hideaway in Tuscany.
*EDITOR PICK* One of the most highly anticipated hotel openings to hit Napa Valley in years, Yountville's first all-green resort--water-conserving fixtures, energy-saving appliances and fresh, local Northern Cali cuisine--is proving that it's easy being green.
With just five rooms total, this country-style inn is petite indeed. Although welcoming to visitors with children of all ages, the house is so cozy and hidden, it feels as though it were designed for couples in search of a romantic, luxurious getaway.
*EDITOR PICK* Whether it's gourmet foods, olive oil tastings and handcrafted housewares at Michael Chiarello's popular Napa Style boutique, hot air balloon rides at Adventures Aloft, or wine tastings at V Wine Cellar, it's no wonder this place has become one of Napa Valley's favorite destinations for shopping, entertainment and fun family dining.
*EDITOR PICK* Part of the Vintage Estate, this glorious spa is one of Napa Valley's largest. Taking relaxation to a whole new level, the spa features 16 treatment rooms including five sumptuous spa suites, outdoor terraces, fireplaces and a mix of hi-tech and indigenous wellness treatments. (Zero Gravity pedicure, anyone?)
*EDITOR PICK* For more than 20 years, this tiny shop has been providing big adventures for those who want to see (and taste) Wine Country on two wheels. The half-day and full-day wine tasting tours cater more to tourists than hardcore cyclists, but don't think for a second that means you won't break a sweat.