The Napa Valley town of Yountville is like a carefully thought out, well-crafted bottle of wine, and the longer you spend in its atmosphere, the better it gets. The tiny enclave of around 3,300 lucky souls flawlessly pairs iconic Michelin Star restaurants, boutique vintners, stylish hotels, and home decor, all in a bucolic backdrop surrounded by fields of grapes.

Even the most jaded travelers become captivated by its carefree, unrushed vibe, unmistakable charisma, and sheer beauty intertwined among vineyards. Despite its entanglement with pleasure-seeking hedonistic epicurean and oenophile escapes, this is the laid-back Napa Valley, charming and down to earth. It’s difficult to fathom that the gourmet capital of Napa Valley was once a mere speck of a stagecoach stop nine miles north of the county capital of Napa proper that has six Michelin-rated restaurants.


Where else can you drive into town and park your car for 48-72 hours or longer if you’re so blessed and do not have transportation care? Who needs a car when almost everything is within walking distance? You can lazily meander from your romantic cottage or boutique hotel up and down Washington Street, feeling tipsy, with 14 tasting rooms all within walking distance. Or, if you’re so inclined, hop on a bike from your stylish hotel to world-renowned vintners, all the while surrounded by a preoccupation with sensual feasts that Julia Child once gave her seal of approval.

Rest assured that Alice Waters’ farm-to-table movement looms large in the gourmand outlet as just about everything is locally farmed or harvested. Behind the scenes, somewhere out there, a world-renowned chef is making salumi from heirloom pigs. Nearly everything on your plate has not to travel very far. The concept is valid; heavenly meals begin with local farmers, butchers, or from the sustainable catch in nearby California waters.

Early Days

The town’s namesake, George Calvert Yount, was the first settler of European descent to reside in the Napa Valley. In 1836, the Mexican government granted Yount two Mexican land grants. In 1838, Yount planted the first Vitis vinifera grapevines, grapes sourced primarily in the Mediterranean and Central Europe.

Yountville’s claim to fame is having the most Michelin Guide-rated restaurants per capita than anywhere in North America. If Yountville were founded today, the wine haven might be appropriately named “Kellerville,” as Chef Thomas Keller’s otherworldly high temple of French-American astonishing meals turned Yountville into gastronomy heaven.

Fine Dining in Yountville

Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry is likely the first answer you’ll hear when you ask someone to name a three-star Michelin restaurant. The spiritual temple raises the bar on otherworldly French-American fine dining and remains one of America’s most sought-upscale dining destinations. The French-Californian tasting menu paired to perfection with outstanding local wines is a long-lasting meal after you’ve departed.

French Laundry
French Laundry

Keller’s second-staple and Michelin-rated French eatery, Bouchon Bistro, might be the most “Parisian-like” experience outside the Left Bank. Less fancy than the lofty French Laundry yet equally as coveted and well-placed on the food traveler’s Michelin gourmand radar. The two elegant Keller dining experiences have combined to take center stage and have elevated the once-sleepy Napa Valley town to the forefront of creative, sustainable, in-season, expressive cuisine.

Bouchon Bistro
Bouchon Bistro

Late award-winning celebrity chef Michael Chiarello’s legacy continues on showcasing culinary displayed at Ottimo and Bottega Napa Valley, sharing his Italian upbringing with family recipes, adding a Napa Valley flair. And French Chef Philippe Jeanty has been serving Gallic masterpieces since 1998. Bistro Jeanty permeates an alluring, delightful spell. A taste of the French countryside, the cassoulet consisting of duck confit, baked beans, Toulouse sausage, and apple-smoked bacon melts with flavor and might be an out-of-body experience.

Don’t let the sleek decor fool you. Lucy Restaurant & Bar, located in the Bardessono Hotel, is blissfully joining harmoniously into the contemporary aesthetic spirit that the Bardessono offers. Executive Chef Rick Edge’s thrilling dishes are derived from the on-site garden next to the kitchen, where the talented cook prepares palate-pleasing seasonal offerings, including fresh farm salads. The star chef infuses unusual ingredients like carrot marmalade into dazzling dishes of osso buco, carrot ginger cream, sesame ahi tuna, and a creamy chestnut sauce to a light butternut squash autumn risotto. The unrivaled innovative signature cocktail list combines spices and spirits from local distilleries.


Comfort Dining in a Laid-Back Town

An amusement park for cultivated grownups or an undemanding Shangri-La Napa Valley with knowledgeable servers and hotel staff dressed to the nines greeting you as if you’re old friends, as unpretentious chefs sometimes check in on you at your table There’s a sense of community that trickles down to casual, high-quality gastro-pub style comfort food that is accessible to all.

Shangri la
Shangri-La Napa Valley

The Thomas Keller Restaurant Group runs the gamut on hedonistic pleasures and dazzles with the impromptu ad hoc. Dishes of braised short ribs and ricotta tortellini are straight out of a visit to Florence. The restaurant is also attached to the impromptu Addendum, a backyard lunch takeout spot celebrated for its fried chicken. The perfectly crunchy buttermilk and rosemary-flavored fried chicken make for the quintessential Napa Valley picnic.

Ad hoc
ad hoc

Ciccio, a long-standing diner in the heart of Yountville, has reopened under lauded chef Christopher Kostow. A favorite among locals, the restaurant features Italian classics with a Napa Valley flair. Casual dining includes meatball stuffed peppers, wood-fired pizzas, salads, and freshly made pasta dishes. It’s worth waiting in line for. 


Located within the confines of the North Block Hotel, The Restaurant at North Block is the old venue of eclectic chef Richard Reddington’s Redd Wood and yet another local’s favorite dining spot.  The restaurant at North Block boasts a terroir to-table, fished, and locally foraged menu in a cozy ambiance. Specialties include wild king salmon, fire-roasted chicken, and a variety of stone-baked flatbreads.

the restaurant at north block yountville
The Restaurant at North Block

Where to Stay in Yountville

As one would expect in a town oozing with class and sophistication, a stay in Yountville is the most intimate of experiences. The options of undeniably lush meet luxe, contemporary style, and seductive vino-cultured sanctuaries are bountifully created to intermingle with your wine country visit. Bespoke indulging lodging comes with an understated elegance. Napa Valley favorites include Hotel Villagio at The Estate Yountville, Bardessono Hotel & Spa, and Hotel Yountville.

Hotel villagio
Hotel Villagio

The bespoke, sustainable, 62-modern-room, solar-powered Bardessono with its spa-like bathrooms is in the heart of Yountville. The eco-friendly property thrives on environmental responsibility, being one of only three Platinum LEED Certified hotels in the United States. The hotel offers complimentary bikes to stroll wine country, a gym, a 24-hour shuttle service, a heated pool, and a spa with four treatment rooms. It’s also the home of one of the valley’s finest dining experiences at the aforementioned Lucy Restaurant & Bar. 


Another elevated stay surrounded by pampering is the hotel that takes the epicurean town’s name, the 80-room Hotel Yountville. Guest quarters feature a gas fireplace, jetted tubs, wrought iron four-post beds, Bellora Italian linens, and in-room spa treatments are the norm. Flawlessly landscaped with wandering paths lead to a large swimming pool. Complimentary wine tastings occur in the open beam lobby. 

hotel yountville
Hotel Yountville

Sometimes, you don’t need to overdo fancy boutique-style hotels. The 20 rooms at the Tuscan-Mediterranean-like stucco-stone North Block Hotel are laid back and sophisticated with a homelike feel. Attention to detail is the norm at the North Block. The second-floor rooms boast a unique view of the bookend rolling hills on either side of the Napa Valley. The award-winning Francis & Alexander spa includes a wine country-themed treatment. The 90-minute un-corked treatment encompasses the use of corks in the message. 

north block
North Block Hotel

The recently remodeled, intimate Vintage House at The Estate Yountville begins its sparkling, warm lobby open floor plan aptly named the Main House. The 80 lavish room property and suite guestrooms are elegant and shabby-chic, with white and white brick fireplaces. The second-floor rooms have impressive vaulted ceilings. The efficient and ultra-friendly team is only knowledgeable. It goes out of its way to provide a stellar guest experience—a high level of sustainability and environmental responsibility combined with hand-picked art and well-thought-out decor. The centrally located abode has a spa with multiple treatment rooms, two tennis courts, a pool, and a jacuzzi. 

Vinatge House
Vintage House

Akin to a chalet in southern France, located in the heart of downtown Yountville, is the curated bed and breakfast, Maison Fleurie, A Four Sisters Inn. The structure consists of three brick and stone buildings dating back to the 19th century. The country-chic rooms have a French feel with elegant furnishings, rustic brick walls, and plush linens. 

Maison fleurie
Maison Fleurie, A Four Sisters Inn

With the feel of a Tuscan farmhouse, the lush-manicured grounds of Napa Valley Lodge are an indulging solace to wine pairings at fancy restaurants.   The property boasts 55 neutral-palette guest rooms and suites. All rooms include private balconies; most come with views of the gardens, while six rooms overlook vineyards. A pool, hot tub, and bocce court are in the center of the hotel. 

napa valley lodge
Napa Valley Lodge

Meanwhile, the Napa Valley Railway Inn provides the perfect Napa Valley getaway in one and two-bedroom suites in seven permanently converted 100-year-old steam-era railcars within walking distance to all Yountville has to offer.

Napa valley railway inn
Napa Valley Railway Inn

Spa & Wellness

Yountville spas are well-coordinated, all-sensory, rejuvenating experiences that leave you floating in a cloud. Professionally trained massage therapists and aestheticians ensure that pampering encounter alleviates a meditative calming effect. At the Bardessono, every resort guest room suite has been designed to transform into a personal spa to enjoy treatments in complete comfort, privacy, and serenity. The North Block Hotel spa offers a comprehensive range of services for guests to luxuriate in a zen-like setting. Massages can be infused with CBD oil to relieve pain, calm inflammation, and soothe sore muscles and joints.

Wine Tasting Around Town

The showpiece Napa Valley crown jewel gravitates between Michelin star-rated cultivated dining and top-notch tasting rooms. The tasting rooms in Yountville are like visiting your wealthy friend’s comfy private home.

Hestan yountville

Hestan Vineyards is a picturesque estate located on Napa Valley’s remote eastern slopes. The vineyard is named for owners Helen and Stanley Cheng, whose passion for fine wines and love for Napa Valley’s beauty and charm led them to purchase the property – a former cattle ranch – in 1996. In 2013, they built a tasting salon in the heart of Yountville to share wines with the many visitors of Napa Valley. The modern salon has become a wine and architecture destination and showcases Hestan’s wines, Hestan cookware, and Ruffoni copper cookware from Italy.

Stewart yountville

The family-run Stewart Cellars is a gathering for wine lovers pouring tasty cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, and Sauvignon Blanc in an inviting, cozy home feel. It’s more like a well-thought-out compound. Three separate structures on the property to spend a part of your day include a tasting room, a library, and a cafe.

priest ranch winery yountville
Priest Ranch

The sophisticated Priest Ranch Tasting Room is straight out of Architectural Digest. It’s a combined tasting room and gallery. The thoughtful staff goes out of their way to provide cultivated wine country experiences, offering private, semi-private, and communal wine-tasting encounters. For a limited time, they are offering a wine and caviar experience.

V yountville

Created from humble beginnings, the 4,000 square feet at V Wine Cellar is a meeting place where local vintners and wine enthusiasts relax and mingle. There is a spacious lounge, a tasting area, a private dining room, an outdoor cigar patio, and a wine shop featuring almost every vintage imaginable of the most celebrated wines of both Napa Valley and neighboring Sonoma County.

RH yountville

Housed in a former 1904 brick residence, RH Yountville Wine Vault offers an intimate lifestyle encounter combining an art gallery and wine room—a relaxing pause between a light lunch and a gourmand dinner. Surrounded by a sculptured garden, visitors can choose between indoor and outdoor surroundings for tastings.

Morning Fill Up

Mini Model Bakery

If Oprah raves about it, you know it must be good. For almost 100 years, Mini Model Bakery has satisfied locals and visitors alike. Famous for their larger-than-life English Muffins, they are an Oprah favorite. The decedent delight is cooked in butter and later doused with cornmeal. The bakery also features a pancetta and bacon bread batard.

Kitchen at priest yountville
The Kitchen at Priest Ranch

The newest dining option in town, The Kitchen at Priest Ranch offers hearty breakfast favorites for the early riser, including breakfast burritos and sandwiches, BLTs, latkes, breakfast gnocchi, and more. And any trip to Yountville would be incomplete without a visit to Thomas Keller’s patisserie nirvana, Bouchon Bakery. Instagram moments before satisfying your sweet tooth, Bouchon Bakery is worth the wait in line. Scrumptious pastel-covered macaroons are the next best thing to a trip to Maison Laduree on the banks of the Seine.

Bouchon bakery yountville
Bouchon Bakery

Cultural Immersion

Continue your food culture infusion by visiting the Napa Valley Museum Yountville. Throughout the year, the museum features exhibitions, collections, educational programs, and creative activities that promote knowledge and understanding of art, nature, and history. Grab a map at the visitor’s bureau and stroll the main drag of Washington Street on the ArtWalk tour where you view curious artist sculptures provided by regional and Napa Valley artists scattered throughout town.

Napa Museum

What are you doing at 6:30 a.m.? A once-in-a-lifetime encounter from Napa Valley Aloft Hot Air Balloon Rides allows you the vantage point of looking down at rows of fields of grapes in Napa and Pope Valley. Napa Valley Aloft provides an exhilarating vantage point on a sky-high experience above the valley’s lush, verdant interior. The journey departs next to Vintage House in V Marketplace, where you can watch the inflating balloons get ready to fly you away. 

Napa Hot Air Balloons

Connoisseurs and everyday chocolate lovers rave that Georgia transplant Chris Kollar’s delicious creations at his artisan chocolate shop, Kollar Chocolates at V Marketplace, are an out-of-body experience. Kollar is noted as one of the Top 10 Chocolatiers of North America by Dessert Professional Magazine. Truffles infused with flavors of passion fruit, coconut, raspberry, lavender, coffee, Kahlua, and Earl Grey Tea are scrumptious. 

While you might decide to chill by your hotel pool, other options include hitting the links for a round of golf at Vintner’s Golf Club. Get your retail fix at Hillstone Home, which is shopping in Yountville at its best. This California Coastal collection of curated home goods is certain to provide plenty of inspiration.  From stunning coffee table books, candles, kitchen items, and leather goods, their collection has something for everyone. 

hillstone home napa

Riding a bike through miles of grapevines on Vine Trail Napa Valley will create memories that will last a lifetime. Casually biking the more than 70 wineries within the region, 40 of which are within a five-mile radius of Yountville. Many resorts offer complimentary bikes, and rentals are available through Napa Valley Bike Tours.

Napa bike tours

Yountville is a meticulously curated landing spot to binge on luxe living. You’re far enough away from the hustle and bustle of city life separated 60 miles from San Francisco; you’ve come to relax and soak in the whimsical enthrallment of this culinary epicenter. A complete immersion into food, wine, art walks, chocolate tasting, boutique shopping, lifestyle hotels, galleries, museums, biking around vineyards, and high-in-the-sky hot air balloon rides is the recipe for a fantastic escape. Equally as mesmerizing realms as Bordeaux, Burgundy, Provence, or Tuscany, Yountville has a gravitational attraction.