Want to eat at Thomas Keller’s legendary restaurant, The French Laundry? How about a tastine menu at Christopher Kostow’s Restaurant at Meadowood? Here are the tips for making reservations at each restaurant in Napa Valley that holds a Michelin star.
Napa Valley may be renowned for its wines, but along with those magical rolling hills of vineyards also come some of the country’s best dining experiences. With a vibrant culinary culture made even more delicious by California’s easy access to fresh produce (some restaurants even have their own vegetable gardens), you have plenty of tasty options to choose from for a meal in Napa Valley.
One of the ways travelers have been measuring regional restaurant quality is by checking the Michelin Guide. The French tire company’s guidebooks, originally published to encourage motorists to travel, have been awarding stars for restaurants since 1926. One star means “high-quality cooking worth a stop.” Two stars means “excellent food worth a detour.” Three stars, its highest rating, means “exceptional cuisine worth a special journey.” More recently, it has added other nonstar designations such as the Bib Gourmand (recognizing good food at moderate prices) and L’assiette, or “plate” (offering good food). Napa Valley is home to two three-starred and four one-starred restaurants, as well as 26 establishments otherwise recognized with a Bib or L’assiette (fun fact: the entire country of England only has three three-starred restaurants).
For travelers going to the Napa Valley, your options are exceptional, but getting a table can take some strategizing. Here’s how to make reservations at all six of Napa Valley’s Michelin-starred restaurants.
Photo by Rachel Weill The kaiseki menu at Kenzo showcases traditional Japanese culinary techniques.
How to Make a Reservation at Kenzo
1 Michelin star
What’s the deal? Though Kenzo is a relative newcomer, having opened in 2016, owners Kenzo and Natsuko Tsujimoto are experienced restaurateurs, with multiple restaurants and tasting rooms in their native Japan. Better yet, to open the restaurant they brought on chef Hiroyuki Kanda, whose Tokyo restaurant Kanda has been a three-starred Michelin restaurant for 12 years; Kenji Miyaishi is the current head chef. The traditional Japanese kaiseki dinner service at Kenzo highlights seasonal ingredients flown in daily from Japan and the menu changes about six times a year; guests can have sake and wine pairings, too (including pours from Napa-based Kenzo Estate wines, also owned by the Tsujimotos).
How do I make a reservation? The multicourse prix fixe dinner is served Tuesday through Sunday after 6 p.m. Reservations open up two months out; to book, call the restaurant at 707-294-2049, send an email to email@example.com, or reserve online with OpenTable.
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are the easiest days to land a table, and, in general, try to book two weeks in advance for weekday tables and four weeks in advance for weekend tables.
Anything else to consider? There are three different seating arrangement options at Kenzo, all with different vantage points. The 10-seat counter allows diners to watch the chef prepare the dishes, while the quintet of tables for two offers full table service with a bit more intimacy. For the most private option (or if you’re dining with a group), there’s a seven-seat counter in a smaller room where you’ll have your own sushi chef.
Kenzo does not have a deposit for reservations, but your credit card information is required in the event of a cancellation occurring within 24 hours of your reservation, at which point a fee of $187.50 (plus tax) per guest will be applied for parties of up to four people. If you have a party of five or more, a 72-hour notice cancellation is required.
Kenzo; 1339 Pearl St., Napa; 707-294-2049
How to Make a Reservation at La Toque
1 Michelin star
What’s the deal? La Toque, helmed by chef Ken Frank, is a French- and American-inspired fine dining establishment in the city of Napa. The restaurant is especially known for its annual January all-truffle menus and exceptional attention to wine. Guests can choose from three nightly menus: the nine-course Chef’s Table Menu; the five-course Vegetable Tasting Menu; or the Core Menu, which allows you to create your own four- or five-course menu.
How do I make a reservation? There are two ways to reserve your table at La Toque. The first is by using an online system called Tock, which requires you to build a profile to complete an online reservation. You can also call its reservationist after 2 p.m. daily at 707-257-5157. A $40 deposit per person is required when booking, which is applied toward your bill at the end of the meal. The deposit is nonrefundable if you cancel within 72 hours of your reservation time. La Toque’s website also has a robust reservations FAQ.
According to Ken Frank, executive chef and owner of La Toque, it’s always best to make reservations as soon as you know your travel plans in order to secure a table for your preferred time and date. Otherwise, a couple of weeks in advance is typically fine. Weekday…
Read full article