What It’s Like: On the banks of the Napa River in a 100-year-old white-and-blue-painted (former) boathouse, this family-run bistro is loved by locals throughout the valley for its French-inspired menu and cheery ambience—think oversize bouquets of loosely bundled meadow flowers, weathered wood interiors, and a warm and welcoming staff. The elegant outdoor patio is framed by arbors, with vineyards in the distance. If you squint and ignore all signs in English, it’s not hard to imagine yourself in Provence.
What to Order: Any one of chef Aaron Meneghelli’s French classics, like assiette de charcuterie (assorted cured meats and house-made pâté) with country toast; roast chicken with mustard seed gnocchi; summer berry clafoutis.
Best Seat in the House: On the patio under the shady trellis, laced, appropriately, with grapevines, and overlooking the glassy Napa River.
Insider Tip: The Rouas family prides itself on a strong relationship with the surrounding vineyards, and as a result carries some hard-to-find boutique wines. Some, like the Sauvignon Blanc from Huge Bear (which produces only 100 cases annually), are even poured by the glass. When in Napa...
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.