We recently visited Napa, California and we are still reveling in the experience! Between the gorgeous scenery, abundance of wines, wineries and restaurants, we were in true and utter heaven. I have been to Napa numerous times but I have never actually stayed there. It was only day trips from San Franscisco, one of the luxuries of living out west. This trip was all about Napa and what an experience it was! From waking up to the fog covered mountain ranges to seeing the sun set on the vineyards, Napa quickly jumped up to one of my most favorite places in the world.
This is for all you Napa lovers out there – The Anti Mom Blog’s Napa Valley Top 5’s:
1. Best Hotel in Napa – Andaz Napa
Luxury meets modern-rustic! This hotel is the spot to stay if you are looking for a great location, fantastic rooms, amenities and a wonderful staff. We could not recommend this hotel more! Walking distance to pretty much everything in downtown Napa and about a 5 minute drive to the beginning of the wineries. Our room was so spacious with a sitting area, couch, 2 T.V.’s, minibar, large closet and a killer bathroom. AND that was the smaller rooms! They had a delicious breakfast restaurant, rooftop bar/lounge area and great lobby bar. The mixologists will create one of a kind drinks for you to sip or choose from their extensive wine list of local favorites. We are already planning our next trip back and Andaz is where we are headed!
2. Best Winery in Napa – The Chimney Rock Winery
We found Chimney Rock Winery through our concierge at the Andaz and it was the best suggestion EVER! Our second day in Napa we wanted to check out the boutique wineries that are off the beaten path. The ones you wouldn’t typically drive in to, so as soon as we pulled up, we all fell in love with it!
A part of the Terlato family (if you are a Top Chef lover, you know what I’m talking about!) Chimney Rock reminded me of the Alamo with it’s statuesque white stucco building, brown accents, gorgeous flowers and acres of grape vines surrounding it. The tasting area outside was a perfect place to enjoy a flight of delicious wines and gorgeous scenery! Not to mention, the employees who work there go above and beyond to make your experience that much more special.
3. Best Wine Tour in Napa – Del Dotto Winery & Caves
Hands down, one of the best wine tours I have ever been on. Del Dotto Winery has two wineries in Napa Valley, but the one to check out is their ancient caves tour. With tastings directly from the barrel, you are guided through the cool, dark caves and learn the in’s and out’s of what goes into making some of the greatest wines of Napa.
As you end your tour, you finish with some delicious meats, cheeses and of course, chocolate! If you get to Del Dotto, be sure to ask for Randy as your tour guide. He is one of the most educated, funny and well-rounded wine guides we encountered and will make your tour unforgettable!
4. Best Restaurant in Napa (Lunch) – Bouchon Bistro
With all the wine you will be drinking, lunch is important! This was a hard one for me to choose, as there are tons of great lunch spots in and around the wineries. If you are looking for a great place with light options for lunch, Buschon is the spot. One of Thomas Keller’s restaurants in the Napa area, adjacent to Bouchon Bakery in Yountville, you will experience some of the finest eats at this French bistro.
Massive seafood platters, delicate salads, pom frittes fried to perfection and bread you will literally want to hid in your bag for later (I almost did, but my bag was too small!). They had tons of other items, like a French classic dishes like Croque Monsieuer and escargot. There is a little something for everyone at Bouchon!
5. Best Restaurant in Napa (Dinner) – Morimoto Napa
If you are looking for a restaurant to really treat yourself, Morimoto is the place. Situated right on the water, Morimoto specializes in fresh seafood and sushi. This is definitely not your typical sushi joint, so don’t think you will be getting a California Roll here!
Iron Chef Morimoto created a magnificent menu that touches on some of the worlds most delicate and delectable fish. Be sure not to miss the Toro Tartare (pictured), Sticky Spare Ribs, Whitefish Carpaccio and Tempura Rock fish appetizers. Those will send you to foodie heaven and every plate is literally a work of art.
If you have never been, I highly suggest going in the Fall or beginning of spring. In the Fall (September-November) is harvest so you may get to see some of that action. In February-March, the vines will be bare, but you will get a lot of one on one time at the wineries and tours. Both times are absolutely gorgeous times of year to go to California, I mean, the weather is unbeatable! You won’t be disappointed with any of these 5 places, I promise! I think I’d move there if I could afford it….one can dream. (FYI it’s about 200K an acre in the Napa Valley – Crazy!)