My three (very different) favorite restaurants in Napa

Morimoto Tiffany Carey restaurants in Napa

Tiffany and I dug into delicious food in Napa.

With delicious wine comes sumptuous food, and Northern California wine country certainly doesn’t disappoint. The best part of the food offerings: the wide array of choices. My favorite eateries range from casual pull-up-a-chair joints to a five-star hot spot by a world-famous chef. At the risk of boring my more loyal readers who have heard this before, Oxbow Market is my absolute favorite hangout in the area. I can’t think of a single trip to the wineries in Napa that didn’t kick off with a stop at Oxbow’s Hog Island Oysters. Who can blame me? Gorgeous oysters and a heavy pour of local Domaine Carneros champage — it’s perfect!

 

 

Oxbow Public Market

Tiffany had never met an oyster she liked — until Hog Island. I was shocked when she blurted out that she wanted to try one. She loved it so much, she ordered half a dozen more!Hog Island Ice

 

Inside the market, Hog Island serves as a social center, due to the snack-y offerings and yummy champagne. Across the way? The cheese shop, another one of my faves.

Hog Island Champagne

 

But Hog Island isn’t the only countertop offering locally sourced tasty treats. Ca’ Momi Enoteca pours red wines to die for. We also ordered a focaccia that was so good I took the leftovers home for breakfast, plus a charcuterie plate and pizza topped with the freshest ingredients.

Ca Momi Wine

Ca’ Momi Enoteca pours delicious Italian wines.

Ca Momi restaurants in Napa

Wood-fired flatbread with Sicilian sea salt and rosemary, a charcuterie plate, and wine: ingredients for a cozy afternoon.

Ca Momi Pizza restaurants in Napa

Pizza Napoletana with organic mozzarella and tomato sauce, arugula and parmagiano reggiano.

 

Morimoto

For the high-end portion of our Napa dining adventure, Tiffany and I chose Morimoto, by Chef Masaharu Morimoto, of Iron Chef fame. His restaurant in the now bustling town of Napa is the hot spot in town. Morimoto is known for his inventive dishes, starting with his artistic version of toro tartare, which comes with a paddle to load on toppings.

Morimoto tartare

 

Every dish was simple and fresh, with colors that jumped off the plate.

Morimoto soup NapaMorimoto Napa

My favorite: this gorgeous braised octopus salad in chili oil.

Morimoto Napa Octopus

Each course came with a sake pairing, and let me tell you: There were some beauties. Alas, I don’t know enough about sake to include any of the information here!

Morimoto Sake

Each course was served with a sake pairing; some of the bottles were being opened in the United States for the first time!

 

We thought that there was nothing else left to surprise us, and we even tried to politely decline dessert. The Morimoto staff just chuckled and waved us off. Boy were we glad we didn’t persist! The dessert was unlike anything either of us had ever seen. An elaborate tree branch-style “candy vine” draped in cotton candy “moss” was set up directly on the table with chocolate sesame “dirt” and a candy sampler.

Morimoto dessert

 

Tarla

We finished our gluttonous tour through Napa at Tarla, a bustling Mediterranean grill right next to the hotel Andaz Napa, where we were staying. (I want to stay there again and again.) After so many wine tours, including Robert Mondavi, Benziger, and Trinchero, it was nice to kick back with an ice-cold Efes beer. Looking at these photos brings back some lovely memories of my trip to Istanbul, which was my gift to myself for moving back to the US after a year in Costa Rica.

Tarla Napa Efes

Sometimes an ice-cold beer is just what you crave after a long weekend of wine-tasting.

 

Tarla restaurants in Napa

Tarla, on First Street, offers highlights of Mediterranean, Greek, and Turkish cuisine.

 

We couldn’t resist the flaming saganaki, a traditional Cyprus Island flaming halloumi cheese, made with local grape reduction and fresh lemon.

Tarla restaurants in Napa

 

Everything on the menu at Tarla was delicious. Dig in!

Tarla food

Contact information:

Oxbow Market: Oxbow Public Market, 610 and 644 First Street

Morimoto: Morimoto Napa, 610 Main Street, 707-252-1600

Tarla: Tarla Grill, 1480 First St. (next to Andaz Napa), 707-255-5599

Linked to Travel Photo Mondays.

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I'm a life-long travel junkie journalist who works hard to find adventure in everyday life after two years of travel and expat living.

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Comments

  1. Can’t believe I haven’t been to Oxbow yet. Tarla and Morimoto are two new names to me — they look fab, so adding them to the must-do in Napa list. The variety of wonderful restaurants is wonderful.

  2. Morimoto is also opening in Vegas next year. You HAVE to go to Oxbow! And Tarla was so fresh and yummy.

  3. Oxbow!!!!!! Oh what a fun time we had there!

  4. Napa is my favorite city for food in the region. The restaurants are so good, and there is so much variety. I also love Oxbow (that cheese shop!) and Ca’Momi, which has my favorite authentic Italian food. I haven’t eaten at Morimoto, though I have walked through a few times, but the food looks amazing, especially that dessert.

  5. Thanks for sharing Napa and it’s food delights Abby 🙂 – I have never been to the area but surely will like to add it to my bucket list !! love Mediterranean, Greek and Turkish cuisines and certainly would be great to visit one day…

  6. Fantastic selections – pick an event, occasion, excuse and one of these is sure to fit the bill!

  7. yummmmm. They look incredible. When I was there, half of the restaurants that are there now, weren’t. I soo desperately need to return there and to Cali on a whole.

  8. It all looks SO good. I don’t have time for Napa on my upcoming trip home, so I need to stop reading your posts because they’re making me want to go!

  9. Yum! These meals could not sound more diverse, creative or delicious! Absolutely beautifully documented!

  10. I love Oxbow! I also tried the fantastic oysters there. And I loved the tacos at C Casa. That tree dessert looks so fab too! Would love to try Morimoto.

  11. I don’t spend enough time up in Napa, eating at ANY of these places! :p

  12. I love it there! The outdoors, the fresh food… Part of me wants to move there!

  13. In my mind, you are already the Queen of Napa 🙂 Time to start planning a visit…

  14. HA! And I hope you come visit!!

  15. wow, those are winners haven’t been to them yet, but I look forward to trying them out next time I get back to the Bay Area.

  16. Yummy!

  17. It was a bad idea to check out your blog right before breakfast–now my mouth is watering! Your Morimoto photos are especially gorgeous. What a treat!

  18. Great selections, Abby. Your list will be invaluable when I visit Napa next year.

    Also, I’d like to invite you to join my FoodieTuesday linkup on my blog. Here’s the link to this week’s – http://insidejourneys.com/foodie-tuesday-passion-fruit/
    Hope to see you there!

  19. Thank you! And I’d love to!!

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