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L.A. Chowers Looking for Napa Lunch Recommendations

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Greetings, Bay Rea Chowhounds! My wife and I are going up to Napa Valley from L.A. for the day for our anniversary next month. She's a private chef and cooking instructor who's going to be taking some courses at C.I.A. in the fall, and we're going up there to look at the place.

Since we're not going to French Laundry (too expensive), do any Chowers have any recommendations for lunch in Napa or the surroundings (we'll just be up there for the day)? What have your experiences been like?


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  1. We've eated several times at Angele in Napa - it's located in the same complex as Celadon and Sweetie Pie's (two more stops to make) at 540 Main St. Great desserts...the dining room looks like an old barn in Provence and there's a nice terrace available also.

    1. Mustard's has always been good for lunch, IMHO. I go there twice a month or so (last Friday being the most recent time). Auberge du Soleil is also wonderful, even if only for drinks/snacks/dessert. The patio there is glorious this time of year!

      1. If you really want to do a Thomas Keller restaurant you can go for Bouchon just down the street from French Laundry. Tables are too close together- but the food is fine. I like Bistro Jeanty just a bit farther down the road from there (all in Yountville). I took a critical food writing class at CIA at Greystone the first year they opened-- it is a beautiful setting-- your wife will definitely enjoy it!

        1. I'd suggest Pilar in downtown Napa for a very personal cooking style. The lunch menu has many interesting things to choose from, unlike other places that save their best for the dinner hour. Here's a link to my lunch post from last month -


          Ms. Sanchez was the executive chef at Greystone @ the CIA before opening her own place. Her husband and cooking partner was executive chef at Meadowood.


          It's on the same block as Zuzu and less than two blocks away from Celadon and Angele. So it would be easy to park once, then stroll around to take a look at each of the restaurants and their menus before deciding where to eat.

          I like Bistro Jeanty a lot, but it's classic bistro food. And, while done well, why not take advantage of the unique things that you can find in this area.

          1. Thanks so much for the recommendations. We flew up to SF yesterday for the day (LAX was really efficient and quick considering what had happened in England the day before), rented a car, drove to Napa and saw the C.I.A. (amazing) and decided to have lunch at Pilar.

            And are we glad we did! Don't know if they're more crowded at night, but the place was virtually empty at noon - just us and one other couple. My wife chose the sandabs - very tender and moist, while I had the grilled hangar steak with chimmichuri sauce and fries - absolutely wonderful, tender and cooked perfectly. Great salad with golden balsamic vinaigarette as well.

            Thanks for the recs - we're going back in a month or so, and will try some of your other recommendations. Thanks again from an L.A. Chow-er.

            1. I am glad you had such a great time!

              If you are going back, please do check out Redd for lunch - it's expensive... but one of the best dining experiences I have EVER had. Located in Yountville - a little hard to find - not very well marked!

              I also recommend Press for dinner. Man, that place rocks my world. Right next to Dean and Deluca in St. Helena.

              I usually use opentable.com everytime I go to Napa - really helpful for making reservations. I'm going again in both September AND October!

              I hope you have a great time!!!