There’s nothing quite like a leisurely alfresco meal overlooking the tranquil beauty of Napa Valley Wine Country. With breathtaking scenery and mild weather year-round, Napa Valley has always been an ideal destination to enjoy a meal outside.
Many Napa Valley restaurants expanded outdoor dining spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic, which means there are more options now than ever before – perfect for enjoying that glass of wine with a snack, lunch, or dinner. Here’s a fresh look at some of the outdoor dining options in the valley, along with some of the best spots to please your palate while relaxing on a picture-perfect patio.
Fast-Casual Patio Digs
When you’re on-the-go between wine tastings and in need of a quick and delicious lunch, fast-casual eateries make for a perfect stop (and they’re wallet-friendly too). And while all patios are casual, some are more casual than others. In and around Napa Valley, the most prevalent type of alfresco dining is considered “fast-casual.” This means you order at a counter, take a number (or a pager), and chill at a table outside until your food is ready. At many of these places, servers bring your food while other places call your number and have you come pick it up yourself.
Without question, the most popular fast-casual patios in the valley are the ones at Gott’s Roadside in Napa and Gott’s original location in St. Helena. Here guests munch on burgers, tacos, and Gotts’ signature garlic fries. Salads are an underappreciated favorite, as well – especially the one with falafel. Vegetarians can embrace the Impossible™ cheeseburger while kids can enjoy milkshakes, hot dogs, and soft serve treats. And for the kid at heart, order a Frosé, a frozen blend of rosé, strawberry, and citrus – basically, an adult slushie.
Here are some other fast-casual outdoor dining options worth checking out:
Heritage Eats in Napa
Healthy eating never felt so indulgent. At Heritage Eats, a globally inspired menu offers rice bowls, salads, wraps like chicken tikka masala, Thai Bao sandwiches, braised pork tacos, & more, with a focus on fresh ingredients and elevated 'daily life' food from the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and beyond. Perfect for both kids and adults.
The Station in St. Helena
While it might look like a vintage gas station on the outside (it was once!), The Station St. Helena serves up local coffee, house-made pastries, sandwiches, salads, drinks, and other curated goodies located right on St Helena’s charming Main Street. Perfect for grab-and-go breakfasts as well as an easy sit-down lunch.
Soda Canyon General Store in Napa
This casual deli off Silverado Trail in Napa serves up breakfast staples like toast and pastries, with heartier fare like breakfast burritos. Lunchtime offers up numerous sandwiches, salads, and soups, with a small seating area outside.
Buster’s BBQ in Calistoga
A local favorite, Buster’s is located on Foothill Blvd., right at the entrance to Calistoga. The rustic outdoor seating, with ribs on the wood-fired grill close by, will put you in the mood for this classic, sweet Southern-style barbecue. No wine or beer served, but the meat is so good you may forget about that. Buster’s is routinely voted “best barbecue” in the North Bay.
House of Better in Calistoga
Located at the newly remodeled Dr Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort. House of Better is an amalgam of Trevor Logan’s rustic, Southwest-inspired Green Chile Kitchen, and his pop up, Booster Foods Nutrition Kitchen. Elevated counter service and a playful, backyard experience are anchored by a wood-fired oven and New Mexican chile roaster. It’s that perfect balance between healthy and comfort food.
Oakville Grocery in Oakville
A wine country institution since 1881, Oakville Grocery is also California’s longest continually operating grocery store. Locals and visitors alike flock to its flagship location in Oakville (they also have a second location in Healdsburg), which is nestled amongst grapevines, rolling hills, and some of the most revered wineries and restaurants in the country. This idyllic locale is a vibrant gathering place for vintners and culinary connoisseurs and is one of the best spots in the valley for a quick – but elevated - bite that also includes woodfired pizzas.
Southside Café in Napa
Family and locally owned, Southside Café is the spot for fried chicken (Fridays only), seasonally fresh produce, and delicious breakfasts and lunches with ingredients sourced from local purveyors. They partner with local nonprofits to give back to the community they serve.
Alfresco Dining with Stunning Views
Several Napa Valley alfresco dining options come with stunning views of vineyards; others offer breathtaking vistas of forests and hillsides. This small group comprises world-class restaurants that happen to have outdoor dining, blending the perfect combination of dinner with a view.
The Restaurant at Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford
For years, locals and visitors have raved about the patio at The Restaurant at Auberge du Soleil as having the single best views in the entire Valley. From here, under the shade of a wooden pergola, Chef Robert Curry delivers dishes sourced with fresh local ingredients. A flute of bubbles from the Champagne cart extends and amplifies the experience, bringing open-air luxury to new heights. But that isn’t the only spot that pairs great food with spectacular Napa Valley views.
Here are some other outdoor dining options with stunning views:
Brix Restaurant & Gardens in Yountville
Brix Restaurant and Gardens has always had a clear focus on providing a farm-to-table dining experience. Just a stone’s throw from the restaurant, diners find the crown jewels of the grounds at Brix: the spacious flower and vegetable gardens and fruit tree orchard. Comprised of raised boxed beds and in-ground beds, it grows crops year-round, and it’s not unusual to see the chefs out in the garden gathering bunches of fruits, vegetables, and herbs for the day’s specials. And vineyard views are the norm here – whether sitting inside or on the outside patio.
FARM at Carneros Resort in Carneros
This ultra-chic restaurant with a beautiful bar and outdoor terrace also features a menu with delicious vegetarian and seasonal offerings. Start with a handcrafted cocktail like the Lavender Lemon Drop and enjoy a FARM salad or the Di Steffano Burrata, followed by the FARM flatbread complete with fromage blanc, caramelized shallots, pistachios, pesto, and seasonal greens. Dine inside in their elegant dining room featuring fireplaces, dramatic lighting, and a cathedral ceiling – or dine alfresco on the spacious and lively patio.
TRUSS Restaurant and Bar at Four Seasons in Calistoga
With an outside terrace overlooking the gorgeous Four Seasons Napa Valley property, TRUSS offers a casual dining and bar option as well as the Restaurant itself, which offers an elevated dining experience. The menu is seasonally focused so expect variations depending on when you come.
Bistro Don Giovanni in Napa
Italian dining Napa Valley-style, Bistro Don Giovanni presents fresh interpretations of traditional Italian dishes with sustainably farmed local fruits and vegetables, and all organic meats. Their large outdoor patio is always hopping with both locals and visitors.
Relaxing Patio Mealtime Fun
Locals love their patios in Wine Country. Alfresco options enable diners to linger over wine and nibbles long into the evening, celebrating a taste of the good life and the Napa Valley lifestyle.
The Grove at Copia in Napa
One of the all-time favorites is The Grove at Copia in Downtown Napa. This restaurant offers picturesque views of the oxbow bend in the Napa River; in summer, it is a perfect spot to linger and listen to concerts in the esplanade down below. Chef Sayat Ozyilmaz offers a Mediterranean-inspired menu with a mix of personal and shareable dishes. On Sunday nights, there’s a three-course, prix-fixe offering that families love.
Here are some other eateries with open-seating patio options that are favorites with locals and visitors:
RH Yountville in Yountville
Part restaurant, part showroom for retailer Restoration Hardware, this elegant option is sure to wow guests. Crystal chandeliers set amongst olive trees and a working fountain create an elevated dining experience anchored against an ingredient-driven menu that reflects Napa Valley’s casual luxury vibe. A great place to impress your guests.
Cole’s Chop House in Napa
This classic steak joint in downtown Napa combines a white tablecloth experience with rustic elements like exposed stone walls. The open kitchen shows off the chefs, but it's the steaks that are the star of the show here.
Pizzeria Tra Vigne in St. Helena
Known for their “Original” Mozzarella al Minuto (Napa Valley’s famous fresh mozzarella), sourdough pizzas hot from our wood-fired oven, their decadent burgers as well as slightly lighter fare, this is the spot for all ages. The outside patio is relaxing and laid back, with locals likely outnumbering visitors.
Calistoga Inn & Brewing Co. in Calistoga
Right in the heart of the action in downtown, Calistoga Inn & Brewery has one of the best patios in town, and even better, they brew their own beer. The Inn was the first establishment to brew beer commercially in Napa County since the days of prohibition. It brews four main beers, and their beer has won numerous awards, including both bronze and gold finishes at the Great American Beer Fest in Denver and blue ribbons at the California State Fair.
Ristorante Allegria in Napa
Northern Italian cuisine Influenced by California cuisine is what’s on the menu in downtown Napa’s Ristorante Allegria. Located in an old bank building with a large outdoor patio, the restaurant is open every day of the week and is always busy, especially at dinner.
R+D Kitchen in Yountville
Experience stunning vineyard views from R&D’s airy modern setting, with a seasonal menu that has something for everyone. Featuring outdoor seating with relaxing Adirondack chairs clustered around fire pits (which are perfect for cool Napa Valley evenings), R+D Kitchen brings sophisticated and fresh cuisine to a smart and convivial crowd. With a strong local following, R+D is inspired by California’s indoor/outdoor culture. If you are looking for a laid back place to have a relaxing glass of Sauvignon Blanc, this place is it.
Coqueta Napa Valley in Yountville
Coqueta represents Michael Chiarello and his team’s exploration and interpretation of Spanish Cuisine with a modern interpretation of traditional Spanish tapas and raciones—and a touch of California. They also have an innovative cocktail program and an extensive wine list, perfect for those Napa Valley evenings when only eating outside will do.
Best Outdoor Brunch Spots
Brunch is a great way to cap off a great weekend in wine country and enjoying that brunch outside only enhances the experience tenfold.
Sam’s Social Club in Calistoga
Locals love brunching at Sam’s Social Club, located at Indian Springs Resort & Spa, where the expansive patio is known for stellar egg dishes and bucket-sized Aperol spritz. Most of the patio at Sam’s is covered, which provides refuge from the sun. On colder mornings, fire pits keep everyone warm and toasty. After a hearty meal, if you’re in the mood for a spa day, book a treatment and add day-use for the mineral pools for some extra relaxation time.
Most of the previously listed restaurants offer brunch as well, but here are some other favorite alfresco brunch options not already mentioned above:
Napa General Store in Napa
Sitting alongside the Napa River, Bloody Mary in hand, is exactly why you come to Napa General Store for brunch. The varied menu includes breakfast pizzas, salads, breakfast favorites like pancakes, eggs benedict, and of course, waffles (with fried chicken? yes, please!), all set against the backdrop of a downtown Napa crowd. Plus, they have a perfect brunch drink menu for those who prefer sparkling wine, mimosas, or a Bellini with their eggs.
Lovina in Calistoga
To top off a historic day in Calistoga, head to dinner at Lovina , where guests have the option of sitting inside or on the terrace patio. The restaurant is a local favorite housed in a historic Craftsman that was once the home of Lovina Graves Cyrus and John Cyrus, Calistoga pioneers who survived the Donner pass tragedy in 1846. Woman-owned, chef-ed, and managed, Lovina has been serving up homestyle dishes using local ingredients since 2008. The Impossible lasagna is a vegan-friendly favorite, and traditionalists will enjoy the “dirty” beef and pork Bolognese with melted cheese and truffle butter.
Solbar in Calistoga
Located at Solage Calistoga, Solbar serves up bistro fare with true Napa Valley flair. Enjoy the woodsy-chic vibe inside or be tempted outdoors to spacious terraces where you can dine or relax with drinks by the fire while taking in the stunning mountain views. The sustainable menus are changed seasonally, with many vegetables and herbs harvested from the kitchen garden just moments before meals.
BANK Café and Bar in Napa
BANK Café can be found within The Westin Verasa Napa. With seating available in the main dining room, the sumptuous lobby bar, or outdoors on the patio facing the nature preserve and the Napa River. Chefs purchase whole, closed-herd, heirloom breed hogs from Llano Seco Ranch, which yield their house-made breakfast sausage, chorizo, and braised pork belly. They use true farm-fresh eggs from Taramasso Ranch in Napa Valley, and guests might find gorgeous lamb loins, steaks, and poultry from Biagio Artisan Meats on the menu.
Angéle Restaurant in Napa
This French country restaurant in downtown Napa serves up classic French brasserie-style fare. With an extensive wine list and French fare with a Northern California twist, Angele is the perfect brunch spot, especially on its outdoor patio that overlooks the Napa River. And no matter whether you come for brunch, lunch, or dinner, the brassiere French fries are a must.
Acacia House in St. Helena
Led by acclaimed chef and “Top Chef Masters” winner Chris Cosentino, Acacia House features a seasonally driven menu of bold and artful American cuisine, curated to showcase Napa’s finest local, organic, and sustainable ingredients. The relaxed and refined setting in Alila Napa Valley's restored Georgian farmhouse, offers an extensive wine list, along with signature cocktails. Guests can dine with a view of the open kitchen or venture outside to the patio and wraparound veranda.
Casual Cocktail Spots
Many Napa patios are known for their mouth-watering food; a select few are known for their craft cocktails, too.
Goose & Gander in St. Helena
Number one on the local list is Goose & Gander. The restaurant and artisan cocktail lounge has an expansive garden patio, shaded from Spring Street by a hedge row that offers privacy as well. Many drinks were created by mixology superstar Scott Beattie years ago; others are variations on classic themes. The “What’s up, Doc?” with two kinds of bourbon, glogg, orange, carrot, lemon, and honey is one of the all-time greats.
Some other great open-air Napa Valley patios to enjoy a hand-crafted cocktail include the following:
Wilfred’s Lounge in Napa
Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena
Lucy Restaurant & Bar at Bardessono in Yountville