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A Modern Guide to Calistoga: The Coolest Stays, Most Delicious Eats, Spots to Shop + More

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The natural volcanic hot springs in Calistoga were originally discovered by the Wappo tribe more than 500 years ago; their rumored healing powers remain a draw today, along with venerable wineries, classy eateries, quirky shops and luxury resorts. Knowing this, we have just two words to describe this gem of a town: Napa, who?

Where to Eat and Drink in Calistoga

Calistoga Inn Restaurant & Brewery

Enjoy a pint on the patio at the Calistoga Inn, the first brewery to produce beer commercially in Napa County after Prohibition, and the only local brewery you'll find north of Napa. They even sneak their brews onto the dining menu, featured in dishes like the Smoked Baby Back Pork Ribs (steamed with Calistoga Red Ale and wood fire grilled with Texas-style barbecue sauce) or brunch's Best Hash & Eggs (with Calistoga Red Ale braised corned beef, griddled with pepper, onions, and potatoes, plus poached eggs). If you're feeling nostalgic for college dorm life, you can snag one of 17 minimalist rooms upstairs, complete with common restroom and shower facilities. —JL // 1250 Lincoln Ave (Calistoga), calistogainn.com

Sam's Social Club

Sam's weekend brunch is a must, with healthy yummies including seeded avocado toast and smoked salmon with all the fixings, and views of the hillside where you might spot Bambie chowing down on her own meal of leafy greens. —CH // 1712 Lincoln Ave. (Calistoga), samssocialclub.com

Solbar

Sufficiently relaxed and glowing, head to dinner at Solbar, Solage's Michelin-starred restaurant where chef Brandon Sharp, a French Laundry alum, specializes in healthy indulgence. That being said, if you see the butterscotch rum pudding on the dessert menu, order it and savor every last velvety bite. It will never leave your memory. — LL // 755 Silverado Trail N (Calistoga), solage.aubergeresorts.com

Evangeline

From Michelin-starred toque Brandon Sharp (VP of culinary ops at Solage and a pleasant chap who's always game for a chat) comes Evangeline, a quaint patio bistro in le style français but with "a creole soul." Here, elegant luncheons include chichi classics like a tour de fruits de mer, but there's also a killer croque, gumbo, and on our visit, a very memorable fried quail. The wine service was a bit snooty (très français, non?), but the food was delish and the scenery charmant. —CHH // 1226 Washington St. (Calistoga), evangelinenapa.com

Buster's Original Southern BBQ

Follow the sweet, smoky smells of authentic Louisiana barbecue to the top of Calistoga's main drag, where Buster's Original Southern BBQ is firing up their grills. Buster's is a carnivores dream; have your choice of tri-tip, ribs, chicken, pork loin, pulled pork, hot links, and dogs, slathered in their original sauces (which are all family recipes). Then select from plenty of sides to the likes of beans, potato salad, and macaroni salad. On Sunday's, Buster's has live music on their revamped patio from jazz band Rob Watson & Friends, so it's a great last stop on your way out of town. —JL // 1207 Foothill Blvd. (Calistoga), busterssouthernbbq.com

Cafe Sarafornia

They had us at three words: breakfast all day. This unassuming diner and Calistoga staple has been around Napa Valley for 120 years, serving up both classic plates, like chicken fried steak and biscuits and gravy, and their own locally-themed dishes. The Wildcat Scrambler (italian sausage, mushrooms, spinach, and chicken-apple sausage) is named after the local high school mascot, while the Brannan Benedict (two poached eggs, guacamole, bacon, and Sarafornia red-eye sauce), got its namesake from Calistoga pioneer Sam Brannon. The menu also covers all the drink bases—milkshakes, beer, wine, and cocktails. We didn't try the Muddy Mary, but it's obviously named for the town's trademark mud baths. —JL // 1413 Lincoln Ave. (Calistoga), cafesarafornia.com

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