As you prepare your visit to the top of the Napa Valley in Calistoga, you will, no doubt, plan to visit wineries, tasting rooms and spas. In between imbibing and detoxifying, the practicality of nourishment is necessary. But, in the form of a foodie experience, replenishing your energy level can be a lot of fun, especially with the plentiful dining options in downtown Calistoga. Below is a guide with suggestions on where and what to eat in Calistoga so you can plan out your perfect foodie itinerary.
Day 1: Start at the Top
Lunch or dinner inside or at the outdoor patio of Solbar at Solage, an Auberge Resort, is where your palate will acclimate to the seasons of Northern California. Executive Chef Massimo Falsini creates inventive, yet classic Napa Valley dishes utilizing farm-fresh, seasonal ingredients to serve unique, flavorful dishes, and a few recipes in a nod to his Italian roots.
As you stroll along Lincoln Avenue for shopping and tastings, you might begin to experience a craving for some chocolate, especially if you explore the Train Depot, where earth & sky chocolates produces an extraordinary selection of artisan confections.
Noteworthy: Book a Calistoga Balloons hot-air balloon ride package that includes brunch aprés-balloon ride at Solbar.
Breakfast like a local at Café Sarafornia, where the story of Calistoga and how it was named is explained in the form of artwork on the wall. When you’re ready for dinner, farm-to-table dining is at its most charming best at Lovina (formerly Calistoga Kitchen). This intimate restaurant seats guests inside or outside in the garden patio and serves seasonable dishes crafted by chef owners Jenna & Shaun, according to what is available and delicious that week. For brunch/lunch, the duck confit spinach salad is sure to set the stage for a five-star experience.
Day 2: A Melting Pot of Choices
How Low-Country Can You Go? In a blend of low-country, creole and French cooking, Evangeline is the place for a weekend brunch or any night’s dinner. Chef Gustavo Rios is a chef with culinary chops for serving dishes that exceed expectations. From June 21 through August 16, Chef Gustavo is better known for his fried chicken boxes pre-ordered for take-out to enjoy Concerts in the Park. Outside of the Thursday concerts, throughout the year are special fried chicken nights.
Noteworthy: Search Eventbrite to sign up for alerts to Evangeline Fried Chicken nights and select from two seating times.
The French viticulture term to describe a grape’s energy running from its roots to the grape, ultimately turning the grape red, is veraison. Veraison is also the name of a French-inspired restaurant on Lincoln Avenue, inside the Mount View Hotel & Spa where the highlight is a seat at the raw bar to slurp oysters on the half shell. Veraison also offers house-made charcuterie and artisan cheeses to enjoy pre- or post-dinner of coq au vin.
Noteworthy: Visit the Veraison website for upcoming events that include Bubbly Mondays, Brown Bag Club, Throwback Thursdays, and Winemaker Dinners.
Day 3: Keeping it Light
Following two days of indulgence in wine and food, you may want to cut back a bit and opt out of a full dinner. Dinner plans are easily transitioned to an early Happy Hour of drinks and fried pickles, fish tacos, flatbread and more at Johnny’s Restaurant & Bar, or pizza and craft beer at Sam’s Social Club at Indian Springs Resort & Spa.
Small bites are the theme of the entire menu at Brannan’s Social Dining. You’ll have plenty of options from crispy coconut shrimp to soup and grilled cheese dishes to share. Stop in on Friday and Saturday evenings, when live piano music entertains.
Noteworthy: Grab takeout from Buster’s BBQ, Cal-Mart Deli, Sushi Mambo or Palisades Deli and head to Old Faithful Geyser for a picnic, some bocce ball and to say hello to the Tennessee Fainting Goats on property. If you’re in Calistoga on Saturday morning, be sure to stop at the farmers market, open 9am – 1pm year round.