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T H E B E S T R E S TA U R A N T S

9

usually charged in St. Helena. One of the inn’s best features is its attractively landscaped outdoor pool (heated year-round); in fact, the whole charming place overlooks a pastoral landscape of Napa Valley vineyards. See p. 93.

  • El Dorado Hotel (Sonoma, Sonoma Valley; & 800/289-

    • 3031)

      : Designed by the same folks who put together Napa’s exclusive Auberge du Soleil, this place on Sonoma’s historic square may look like a 19th-century Wild West relic from the outside, but inside, it’s midrange 20th-century deluxe. French windows afford lovely views of the courtyard, which features a heated lap pool. The ground floor houses one of the area’s best restaurants. See p. 140.

  • Glenelly Inn and Cottages (Glen Ellen, Sonoma Valley; & 707/996-6720): With verdant views of Sonoma’s oak-stud- ded hillsides, this former 1916 railroad inn is drenched in serenity, and it has everything you’d expect from a Wine Coun- try retreat. Bright, immaculate rooms have old-fashioned claw- foot tubs and Scandinavian down comforters; a hearty country breakfast is served beside the large cobblestone fireplace, and there’s a long veranda where you can curl up in a comfy wicker chair to admire the idyllically bucolic view. See p. 145.

6 The Best Restaurants

  • Bistro Don Giovanni (Napa, Napa Valley; & 707/224-3300): My favorite casual restaurant in the valley, this has a consistent combination of perfect thin-crust pizzas (margarita and the sea- sonal fig, prosciutto, and balsamic are spectacular), soul-satisfy- ing pastas (anything with duck ragout!), wood-oven specialties, friendly service, and an excellent bar dining and drinking scene. Perch yourself at the bar, order a glass of wine or a cocktail from fabulous bartenders Aaron or Ben, and you’re likely to strike up a jolly conversation with a local—perhaps even me! See p. 100.

  • Bouchon (Yountville, Napa Valley; & 707/944-8037): This locals’ favorite tops even my charts—after Bistro Don Gio- vanni, that is. This sleek and festive French bistro serves out- standing classics such as steak frites, a towering bibb lettuce salad, and steamed mussels in white wine broth. Beyond lunch and dinner, it’s an excellent late-night stop, when they serve a limited menu and attract restaurant staff at the bar. See p. 106.

  • The French Laundry (Yountville, Napa Valley; & 707/944-

    • 2380)

      : If you’ve got the cash, are a serious food lover, and can

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