I’ve been wanting to go to SolBar Restaurant for years, but unfortunately never made it there. My excuse was it was too far a drive while I was staying in Napa. This year we got smart and hired a driver. This way we could drink, relax and have someone else navigate the dark roads back to our hotel in Napa, around a 30-minute drive. I’m glad we finally made the trip. SolBar is the restaurant in Solage, a beautiful resort in a town centered around its bubbling natural springs. It is part of the Auberge Resorts Collection. It is a great destination for wine lovers, foodies. and wellness seekers. It has always had a reputation for its restaurant, Sol Bar at 755 Silverado Trail.
The restaurant has a beautiful setting, particularly outdoors, under the olive trees, the palms, lavender, oleander and twinkle lights, complete with a gorgeous 20-foot wide fire pit. If you get there early enough you will have views of the Palisades Mountains. It is a casual yet sophisticated atmosphere and the kitchen goes to great lengths to serve local produce, farm-fresh veggies from their garden, and artfully presents it in an inventive and flavourful way. The seasons dictate the menu, which offers decadent as well as lighter, healthier dishes – due to its location in a spa resort. Because we were a table of ten, we had to have a special fixed menu, but we felt they offered great selections within that menu.
Our amuse was a fabulous tart of sweet tomatoes on a bed of cheese that was a perfect start to our evening. They offered us a three course meal, with 4 choices in each course. I had a wonderful chilled yellow tomato soup, that used sun gold tomatoes, crispy breadcrumbs, garden basil and parmesan mousse. The salad of yellow peaches and burrata cheese with San Danielle prosciutto and arugula in a honey lavender vinaigrette was also a perfect summer dish. My main of pan roasted diver scallops with pacific oyster Manila clam stew, bacon and potatoes was dreamy. One of our dining companions raved about the grilled yellowfin tuna, and my husband really enjoyed his Snake River Farms New York strip steak, cooked to perfection, accompanied by a crispy potato rosti, cream of baby spinach, grilled local matsutake mushrooms in a black truffle fondue. The confit of Niman Ranch lamb shoulder was cooked sous vide and served with broccoli rabe, pearl onions, pomme purée and panko gremolata. The meat was moist and fork tender. It was nice to see main courses served with side vegetables for a change. Usually you are staring at a blank plate with a slab of meat on top. The desserts were all good, but the standout was a butterscotch pudding with fleur de sel, caramelia toffee and amaretti crumbs. I would LOVE that recipe.
They offered a stellar wine list with many half bottle selections, as well as some interesting craft cocktails. The one thing that needs some improvement was the service, which was slow at times. They also made several mistakes and brought incorrect drinks to some of the guests. But that aside, I would still recommend the restaurant for a quiet, romantic, attractive restaurant with a wonderful dining experience that was ripe with the flavours of summer.