If you book some on your own make sure to try and get a private “reserve” tasting and tour.
Of course everyone wants to try The French Laundry at least once in your life. So go ahead, beg your concierge or use a connection to try and get you in. We have been twice and I wouldn’t go back again. We much prefer:
The Restaurant at Meadowood. This 3 star restaurant by chef Chrisopher Kostow made us an exquisite meal. The tasting menu was $225 and I believe there is a counter menu at $500. Loved it.
La Toque: have never been, but it is another formal experience
Etoile: ditto for this restaurant
Farm at Caneros Inn: haven’t been but it is supposed to be good.
Cole’s Chop House: specializes in red meat. Bring along one of your bib red Cabs and enjoy.
Gott’s Roadside: when you are in the mood for a great burger, fries and a killer milkshake. They also make pretty good fish tacos. There are long lines at this rodeside diner.
Mustard’s Grill: This place was one of the originals. Chef Cindy Pawlcyn’s casual rest is great for lunch. The food has a high comfort level.
Cindy’s Backstreet: also by the same chef, is in St. Helena, one road parallel to the main road. The hamburgers are killer, and everything on the menu is quite good. The desserts are amazing.
Bottega: great Italian in central Yountville, next to the Vintage Inn and Villagio.
Morimoto: for Japanese. I think it is over rated.
Chalkboard: in Sonoma in the Hotel Le Mars in Healdsburg. Inspired from Chalk Hills organic garden, California cuisine
Valette: in Sonoma, Mediterranean/ French cuisine
Redd Wood: by Richard Reddington, is a casual elegant Osteria. His wood fired pizza and fresh pastas are supposed to be great. He always has an impressive wine list.
Willi’s Wine Bar: American food with small plates
Good to know: you can bring your own wines to dinner and they charge a small corkage fee. This does not apply to the French Laundry unless it is not on their menu and even then they charge you a heftier price for corkage.