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Dining Out 3 minutes 27 June 2019

10 Michelin-Starred Restaurants in Wine Country

Visiting Napa Valley or Sonoma County? Here’s where to go.

Michelin star Napa Valley

Northern California’s famed Wine Country is not only home to a premium wine-growing region studded with countless top-rated vineyards, but it’s also chock-full of exceptional dining destinations.

Looking to splurge on your next visit? Head to one of these Michelin-starred restaurants:

Auberge du Soleil

Napa Valley

Designation: One Star

What It Is: Restaurateur Claud Rouas’s restaurant set within the 33-acre olive grove “Inn of the Sun” offering Mediterranean-inspired cuisine by executive chef Robert Curry.

What Our Inspectors Say: “This is one of the first restaurants to elevate the Napa Valley to greatness. For the past decade, Chef Robert Curry has been ensuring its legacy with cooking that is the very definition of Californian cuisine: global flavors expressed through local and seasonal ingredients. The kitchen’s work is as impressive as the setting, although it is during brunch or lunch when its creations truly come to life. It's when everything seems just a bit more beautiful from this extraordinary perch, overlooking the vineyards and mountains.”

The French Laundry

Napa Valley

Designation: Three Stars

What It Is: Thomas Keller’s flagship restaurant and the fine dining Napa Valley go-to.

What Our Inspectors Say: “The cuisine, staff and a state-of-the-art kitchen embedded with the chef's renowned sense of purpose and functionality continue to remain at their pinnacle. In fact this may be known as the greatest cooking space in America, as every aspect of the setting is carefully determined—from the counter height to the flowing lines in the ceiling. It's a meeting point of the past, present and future. Chef Keller continues to pair incredibly classic French techniques with wildly fresh ingredients in a setting that is a perfect storm of restaurant greatness—we should all be so lucky to score a reservation here in our lifetime.”

Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant

Sonoma County

Designation: One Star

What It Is: Nestled inside a charming inn, executive chef Steve Litke’s delicate menu uses ingredients from two fifth-generation Sonoma farmers.

What Our Inspectors Say: “Dinner guests will find themselves charmed by the dining room’s soothing colors, rustic-elegant décor, crackling fireplace, and numerous intimate nooks—including an enclosed patio. The protein-centric menu reads like an ode to California’s purveyors, and a focus on seasonality is in keeping with the area’s ethos.”

The rotunda at The Restaurant at Meadowood. Photo courtesy of The Restaurant at Meadowood, photography by Kelly Puleio.
The rotunda at The Restaurant at Meadowood. Photo courtesy of The Restaurant at Meadowood, photography by Kelly Puleio.

The Restaurant at Meadowood

Napa Valley

Designation: Three Stars

What It Is: Executive chef Christopher Kostow’s “modern American restaurant meant to speak to and positively impact the Napa Valley.”

What Our Inspectors Say:
“Everything here exudes California-style wealth and comfort, from those cottages dotting the Napa hills to the front lounge’s stone fireplace. Beyond this, the dining room is a sophisticated barn of sorts, decked with polished stone tables, wood columns and bucolic splendor. All of this makes for an elegant backdrop for romantic evenings or family celebrations, as long as everyone is willing to splurge. Servers are impeccable, professional and know how to keep their guests happy and at ease. The kitchen's magic is its ability to take just-picked produce and create dishes that are the very essence of laid-back luxury.”


SingleThread

Sonoma County

Designation: Three Stars

What It Is: Husband and wife duo Kyle and Katina Connaughton’s Californian-meets-Japanese restaurant.

What Our Inspectors Say: “'Exquisite' barely begins to describe a meal at this Healdsburg jewel, where every detail has been considered, from the moss and flowers cradling the amuse-bouche presentation to the packets of heirloom seeds that are sent home as parting gifts. Trained in Japan, chef Kyle Connaughton adheres to the philosophy of omotenashi, or anticipating a guest’s every need. The menu is acutely tuned to each micro-season in Sonoma County, thanks to the bounty provided by farmer and co-owner, Katina Connaughton.”

Bouchon

Napa Valley

Designation: One Star

What It Is: Thomas Keller’s more relaxed French bistro featuring a seasonal menu and raw bar.

What Our Inspectors Say: “Complete with lush potted plants, shimmering brass accents and enormous mirrors, this dining room is the spitting image of Parisian chic. A theatrical crowd uplifts the space with conviviality, and every lavish banquette or stool at the bustling bar is full. Always. Thanks to the house bakery next door, the bread here is ace, so grab an extra hunk of the supremely fresh and crusty pain d'epi to slather with butter. ”
Sonoma duck breast with sesame tofu and wasabi-infused gelée at Kenzo. Photo by Bob McClenahan.
Sonoma duck breast with sesame tofu and wasabi-infused gelée at Kenzo. Photo by Bob McClenahan.

Kenzo

Napa Valley

Designation: One Star

What It Is: Kenzo Estate owners Kenzo and Natsuko Tsujimoto’s elegant Japanese restaurant using ingredients flown in daily from Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market.

What Our Inspectors Say:
“Designed by Tsujimoto’s wife Natsuko, this 25-seat arena is spare and minimal, incorporating traditional woods, maple trees and river rocks to create a peaceful sanctuary. Though Kenzo offers a handful of tables, the best seats are at the lengthy counter, where diners can chat with the chefs and see their sushi made firsthand. There are two menus: sushi kaiseki presents edomae-style bites that are beautifully composed and elegantly paced (and product is sourced from Tokyo's Tsukiji market), while the kaiseki menu features cooked presentations like Wagyu tenderloin with a reduction of the estate's own Bordeaux-style blend.”

Madrona Manor

Sonoma County

Designation: One Star

What It Is: A grand estate featuring an equally impressive contemporary restaurant.

What Our Inspectors Say: “This romantic Victorian mansion is the unexpected home of a forward-looking kitchen. It’s the kind of place that makes one want to dress up—at least a little bit—to fully engage in the art of dining. [...] The showmanship here extends to the artistic, often theatrical plates that make the most of herbs and flowers to create novel and very focused flavors throughout the carte.”

La Toque

Napa Valley

Designation: One Star

What It Is: Chef Ken Frank's landmark restaurant with an award-winning wine list.

What Our Inspectors Say: “La Toque may display an oversized inflatable chef’s hat hanging above its walkway, but the interior is the soul of modern sophistication, with leather-topped tables, a fireplace and an extensive wine list—proffered on an iPad. The cadre of staff is notable, and the well-trained, knowledgeable waiters move in synchronicity within the celebratory crowd.”

Harbor House

Sonoma County

Designation: One Star

What It Is: Chef Matthew Kammerer's fine-dining eatery nestled inside a recently-restored historic property dating back to 1916.

What Our Inspectors Say: "Great care is paid to details here, from employing local woods to smoke and grill as well as fish caught right off the coast, to house-made sea salt and vinegars."

Hero image courtesy of Bob McClenahan.

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