When it comes to French style dining in Wine Country there is no shortage of French restaurants. As in the French Countryside, wine and food take center stage as it does here. When we travel through france on buying trips, our most favorite thing to do in the afternoon is to sip on a glass of rose and explore new restaurants in whatever village we are in. Some of our favorite dining experiences have been in L’isle Sur La Sorgue, but we will save that for another day. Today we are focusing on the French culinary scene here in the Sonoma and Napa Valley. Some of our favorites that we think would be worth visiting for Valentines Day are Cafe La Haye, The Girl and the Fig and Bouchon.
CAFE LA HAYE
Cafe La Haye, in the town of Sonoma, has always been one of my favorites. I have known Saul Gropman from way back when he had a restaurant in San Francisco. He is not only an incredible host at his dining establishment, but an accomplished classical guitar player. He is always there to greet his guests with a smile and makes you feel like you are the only person in the room. He has created an ambiance in his place that gives you a warm and cozy feeling, as if you were in someone’s living room! He always has a revolving show of interesting art on the walls by local artists that makes it ever more visually pleasing. There is an open kitchen and chef Jeff Lloyd is a very particular and discerning chef who uses local ingredients and creates innovative combinations that never disappoint. Their menu changes seasonally and we have had the good fortune of providing them with many fruits and vegetables that we grow here on the farm. They are truly farm to table!
THE GIRL AND THE FIG
The Girl and the Fig is another French style restaurant in the town of Sonoma that is a favorite among tourists and locals alike. Sondra Berstein is a restauranteur force in this town and has quite a few other eating establishments, but this one really showcases her love of France — the Rhone region in particular. When you enter, there is a beautiful old bar that immediately exports you to the past. The bartender makes an unforgettable French 75 and their extensive selection of wine is solely from the Rhone Valley. Some of our favorites on the menu are the duck liver mousse, pastis-scented steamed mussels and frites, and the duck confit is to die for. C'est très bonne!
Last, but not least is Bouchon Bistro in Yountville. There is an enclave of French restaurants in Yountville including the famous French Laundry, Bisto Jeanty and Jean Charles’ Atelier Fine foods to name a few. They are all amazing, but when we are in the mood for a bistro style meal, we head right to Bouchon. The restaurant could not be more visually appealing, featuring a French zinc bar, a vibrant mosaic floor, antique light fixtures, and an expansive mural hand painted by French artist Paulin Paris. The food never disappoints and that is not surprising because Thomas Keller is the chef/proprietor of this jewel of a restaurant. The menu is seasonal and they have the best raw bar around. The oysters taste as if they had been plucked from the sea! If you are looking for an incredible meal and a romantic place to dine this Valentine’s Day, look no further and check out this menu.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all and we wish you a day surrounded by love and loved ones!
All photos via Google Images