Tasting pair with fine art at Acumen Wine Gallery.

Modern Guide to Downtown Napa: The Small Town Is Having a Stylish Renaissance

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Downtown Napa is in the middle of a Wine Country renaissance, with new restaurants, shops, bars, hotels, and tasting rooms (of course) popping up on every corner. The additions mean there's plenty to do for teetotalers, or for those suffering from palate burnout after a long day at the wineries.


Eat: Quick Bites, All the Japanese You Can Eat + One Tasty Tour

Angele in downtown Napa.

(Ana Kamin)

Casual Bites

Grace's Table is a cheerful Napa bistro that serves dishes inspired by Italy, France, and the Americas. Grace's is a bustling spot from morning until late night (10pm), so prepare for a bit of a wait, but a changing seasonal menu with a focus on comfort food will make it all worth it. Try the iron-skillet cornbread with lavender honey butter for a breakfast of champions.1400 2nd St. (Napa), gracestable.com. // Oxbow Public Market is an easy destination for snacks, drinks, takeout and more. Live Fire Pizza and a Fieldwork Brewing taproom join the other shops and eateries—Hog Island Oyster Company, Ritual Coffee, C Casa, and Kitchen Table—that make Oxbow Market a must-stroll and must-eat spot.610 & 644 1st Streets (Napa), oxbowpublicmarket.com. // Grilled waffle sandwiches with a side of creamy tomato soup? Yes, please. Melted is a small eatery with big flavors serving 14 different sandwich combinations on savory waffle bread. Grab your favorite (we recommend the hearty Don Caballero, with mozzarella, parmesan, italian sausage, salami, mushrooms, olives, tomato, and basil) and enjoy it at one of their outdoor tables on cute Pearl Street. 966 Pearl St. (Napa), meltednapavalley.com. // Pull over at Gott's Roadside for a classic burger, fries and a shake. For non-burger fans (mythical creatures) try the ahi poke crispy tacos. 644 1st St. (Napa), gotts.com. // Since 1908, Model Bakery has been an institution in the Napa Valley, kneading all sorts of bread and pastries each morning. Best known for their "English muffin"—a cross between a brioche and a donut, which Oprah calls her "greatest extravagance"—you can't go wrong with anything off their menu. 644 1st St. (Napa), themodelbakery.com. // If you like barbecue, Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin' BBQ can't be passed over. Their signature Tecate beer can chicken is as delicious as it is fun to look at. If you're with a group, split the Smokin' BBQ platter, featuring a little bit of everything (cole slaw, pulled pork, smoked brisket, and BBQ ribs). In true Napa style, Bounty Hunter has an 18-page wine list, and also sells 40 American whiskeys by the glass. 975 1st St. (Napa), bountyhunterwinebar.com.


Make Reservations

The famed Morimoto features local wines alongside innovative Japanese dishes created by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. If you're looking for artfully presented dishes and cocktails with exciting flavors—we love the oysters foie gras and kakuni (10-hour pork belly, rice congee and soy-scallion jus)— this is the place to go. 610 Main St. (Napa), morimotonapa.com. // A dramatic, hand-carved door invites curious passersby into Minimashi, a classy interpretation of an izakaya. Serving authentic Japanese cuisine, the menu includes the usual noodles and rice dishes, and a lot of small plates, including 16 variations on yakitori (chicken skewers), some more adventurous than others (chicken tail). Save room for the soft-serve ice cream in classic Japanese flavors for dessert—think graham cracker or Meyer lemon, with sauce options like whiskey bourbon and miso caramel, and lots of toppings—which you can order straight from their to-go window. 821 Coombs St. (Napa), miminashi.com. // Japanese is a thing here. At Eiko's, sample tapas like Hamachi Bon-Bons (Hamachi wrapped snow crab, topped with scallions and sesame soy tobiko) and creative sushi rolls (the Heirloom tomato roll with goat cheese is where it's at when in season) in a sleek space with an indoor fire pit and couch seating. You can also check out their sushi bar at the Oxbow Public Market and the family's newest fast-casual restaurant, Napa Noodles on First St. 1385 Napa Town Center (Napa), eikosnapa.com. // What was once a ship chandlery is now a riverside restaurant with an outdoor patio for a relaxed lunch under yellow-and-white striped umbrellas. Angèle brings a taste of the French country to Napa. Try the Moules Frites, steam mussels in white wine sauce with spices and French fries, or the housemade pappardelle with a variety of tasty veggies. 540 Main St. (Napa), angelerestaurant.com. // Ca' Momi Osteria serves "obsessively authentic Italian," which means you won't find your run-of-the-mill ravioli or lasagna on its menu. Instead, they keep things strictly traditional, with "heart crafted" dishes such as tagliolini neri con ricci di mar, a squid ink seafood pasta. Osteria also has live music on every Friday and Saturday night. 1141 1st St., (Napa), camomiosteria.com,


Try a Tour

We don't know what took so long, but Napa finally has its first foodie walking tour, Gourmet Walks. For $85, balance out some of the calories you'll consume on this three-hour guided walking tour of downtown Napa, gorging on everything from artisan cheeses to wine-infused chocolates at seven culinary stops, like the Oxbow Public Market, Tarla Mediterranean Grill, and Anette's Chocolates; gourmetwalks.com.

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