Wine Country Blog: innsights to the wine Country


Posted by Meghan Smith on April 26, 2014

Dining in Wine CountryThe number one question our concierges receive is how far the Farmhouse Inn is from San Francisco Airport (about 1.5 to 2 hours in case you’re wondering). The second most asked question is “Where is the best restaurant?” That depends but a good place to start is by asking the Farmhouse concierge team where we go when we are hungry. Keep in mind that Wine Country is one of the best places to go if you’d like to indulge your culinary curiosity. With multiple Michelin-starred restaurants, 2 of which have 3 stars, Napa and Sonoma County are packed with dining choices for all palates and budgets. With so many choices it can be a little overwhelming so we decided to distill it down to where our concierges go most often. We’ll break it into 3 categories- best local hidden gems, best special occasion restaurants and bucket list eateries. Just be sure you check with the concierge before booking- there are some strong but varied opinions when it comes to the best restaurants.


Local favorite spots are often the hardest to find when traveling because quite frankly, the locals hesitate to share their neighborhood gems with visitors.

SCOPA Nona's Chicken

These favorite local spots are often the best, so its a good idea to ask your concierge or any local where they’d go for dinner. At the top of the list is Willi’s Wine Bar. Willi’s is located in an old roadhouse across the street from soccer and baseball fields- you’d never find it unless you knew it was there. Willi’s menu focuses on tapas (small plates)and has an international influence. Their back patio is a favorite hangout for Sonoma locals during the summer and their wine flights are excellent. Best part- they have a large bar seating section and they offer the full menu there.

Another local spot is hard to find also due to its almost hidden entrance. SCOPA is an Italian eatery in Healdsburg and the only way to find it for the first time is to look for the large Barbershop sign painted above the entrance. With very few tables, a small bar and its mass popularity with locals it is often difficult to acquire a reservation. SCOPA’s menu is packed with such delicious offerings that you’re sure to walk away wanting to come back the next night. If you booked your vacation at the last minute and SCOPA is full we recommend trying their sister restaurant Campo Fina.


Farmhouse Inn Restaurant


Special occasions are important to celebrate and many of the guests visiting Farmhouse Inn are in wine country to do just that. At the top of our list for a special evening out is our own Farmhouse Inn Restaurant. You can’t beat walking from your room to dinner- no car needed. The menu here changes almost daily with our local farmer’s seasonal offerings rotating through. While we do have a Michelin Star we’re still in Sonoma so don’t worry about bringing a jacket or tie- jeans or khakis are fine with us.


At the top of our list for restaurants in Napa is REDD in Yountville. REDD’s tasting menu is truly wonderful and the wine pairings are always stellar. REDD’s central downtown Yountville location make it within walking distance of most shops and tasting rooms within the downtown area. If you’re coming from the Farmhouse Inn than we’d recommend a car service- the drive can be anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour. During the summer months REDD opens up their patio seating so be sure to ask about which tables will be available when you come to visit. REDD and Farmhouse Inn are popular with locals and visitors alike, so advance reservations are required.


If you guessed Meadowood and the French
The French Laundry Laundry as being on our bucket list; than you’d be right. Both restaurants are located within the Napa Valley (St. Helena and Yountville) and both have 3 Michelin Stars. From the decor to the staff, no detail is overlooked. While they are within 10 minutes of one another the experience and menus are quite different. The Restaurant at Meadowood is within the Meadowood St. Helena hotel property- it overlooks the property’s golf course. They recently redesigned the interiors and we can tell you after a recent visit that it is really beautiful- a spectacular mix of wine country, fine dining and a slight rustic edge. Their incredibly friendly and well educated staff put visitors at ease despite the pomp and circumstance that  3 Michelin Stars entails. 

Ten minutes south of Meadowood is the world famous French Laundry. In a most unassuming exterior you’ll find all the decadence that you would expect from Thomas Keller’s flagship restaurant. You’re never left with an empty plate and the progression of the menu is flawless. If you’re in Yountville prior to your reservation be sure to check out the French Laundry’s impressive gardens closer to the downtown area. Neither restaurant is what we’d refer to as a “budget” option but if you have the opportunity to dine in one or both than we say go for it.

Before you arrive for your next visit to wine country be sure to call or email the concierge- we have many secrets and insights, including the lounge and bar at Meadowood. You didn’t think we were going to give away all of our secrets here did you? For more on what to do, where to eat and updates from the Farmhouse Inn be sure to check our website and follow us on Facebook. And if you were recently in the area and want to share your photos use #farmhouseinn.

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Topics: wine country, Sonoma County, Farmhouse Inn, Healdsburg, Restaurants, Napa, French Laundry, dining

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What would be better than good wine, good company, amazing s’mores, and a cozy fire?  I can’t think of anything else I would want!  Joey and I really enjoyed the nostalgia of roasting and toasting the marshmallows over the fire!  It definitely took me back to my childhood and I had no shame in having two of them!  I couldn’t help it!.continue