I’m back after a hiatus that was largely driven by my pre-summer health kick, an extremely busy period at work and the launch of a second personal blog. However, you can always find me on Twitter!
A topic that excites me just as much as wine is breakfast. I could easily dine on “first meal” fare all day. It’s well-known that Napa Valley is home to incredible restaurants, but some of my personal favorites are those I visit before hitting the tasting rooms. While we usually choose to stay at hotels that provide breakfast (on purpose), we do sometimes venture out to these spots for a change of scenery and cuisine. Check out these Napa breakfast restaurants during your next visit.
Auberge du Soleil (Rutherford)
If you’re in Napa for a special occasion, an al fresco brunch at Auberge du Soleil is a must-do. A short drive up Rutherford Road, you will reach
the picturesque resort and immediately experience their world-class hospitality. They have a beautiful dining room, but I strongly suggest the outdoor deck because it offers stunning valley views. When we visited, they presented a three-course brunch menu. I took my usual sweets-inspired route and selected a decadent French toast. My husband opted for a savory egg dish and breakfast sausage. This meal could out-price many others you’ll have, but one benefit is that you will likely be able to bypass lunch for the day. I can promise your meal will be a memorable one. Reservations are required.
Bouchon Bakery (Yountville)
If you prefer to grab and go, Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery will still give you an iconic Napa Valley experience. Situated next to Bouchon restaurant in the heart of Yountville, you can peruse their pastry display for traditional cinnamon rolls, bagels, croissants and other delights that meet your fancy, like quiche. I usually snag a little treat for later, as well. (Are you beginning to get a sense of why I needed a pre-summer break? I have a massive sweet tooth!)
Gilwoods Café (St. Helena)
One of two great diners I’ve visited, Gilwoods is a cozy spot in “downtown” St. Helena with big windows that overlook the street and shops. They have a healthy amount of tables and seem to get people in and out fairly quickly, so wait times are reasonable. They have an expansive menu with a variety of classic breakfast selections that they serve all day: omelets, scrambles, waffles and pancakes to name a few. They also bake all of their own pastries. Prices are very affordable.
Café Sarafornia (Calistoga)
This was a new find on my last visit which turned out to be the perfect halfway point along Lincoln Avenue between the hotels of our party. Known as the “last old fashioned diner in Calistoga,” they also serve breakfast all day – eggs, scramblers, pancakes and quite a selection of sausages. They have a small dining area with few tables, so you might experience a short wait, unless you are willing to take a seat at the bar. (This is what we did.) The wall is a sight to see in and of itself, displaying hundreds of photos of loyal customers showcasing their Café Sarafornia bumper stickers around the globe. Service was excellent, dishes were affordably priced and we enjoyed our meals.
Calistoga Kitchen (Calistoga)
Calistoga Kitchen, also located on Lincoln Avenue, was recommended to us by a local friend and cited as one of the newest popular restaurants among those who live nearby. (In fact, we did see at least one of our favorite Calistoga winemakers enjoying brunch there.) They are proudly ingredient driven, featuring local growers, purveyors, wines, winemakers and an organic juice bar. Seating is available both indoors and out. Everyone I dined with selected the Huevos Rancheros, which was spectacular. Their menu is small, but they offer options that will likely appeal to most tastes. We were able to walk right in and get a table.
It goes without saying that I will eat at Solbar at least once during every Napa Valley trip. After all, it is my favorite restaurant. Only recently did I get to sample their soul food-inspired breakfast and, just like dinner, I was left stuffed and satisfied. Solbar is part of the Solage Calistoga resort. You can eat inside their modern, stylish dining room or out on the beautiful patio that overlooks a fireplace, palm trees and pool. Breakfast is served during the weekdays and a larger brunch menu is offered on Sundays. I ordered the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes (two days in a row) and my husband had the Sol-Pe. I also had a great latte. I would suggest making a reservation.
Have you visited any of these Napa breakfast restaurants? Where else have you discovered?