Napa Valley travel guide: What to do in the wine region- from wineries to hot air balloons

Where to eat

Many will travel to Napa Valley for the wine and sunshine, but it also offers some of the best food on the West Coast.

CIA Copia

Some of the best food I was lucky enough to try in California was served in CIA Copia.

CIA, or the Culinary Institute of America, really gives a culinary experience to all guests who visit.

It is part of a group of culinary schools with locations across the world including New York, Texas and Singapore.

The organisation has the inspiring concept of training chefs at the cookery school who go on to work in the kitchens of the restaurants and beyond.

The Napa restaurant was based in a building which had a range of facilities – including kitchens where locals and professionals alike can take cooking classes.

It has two large lecture halls fitted with fully-stocked kitchens for demonstrations, and also offers room for events.

I sat outside on the gorgeous terrace next to where the restaurant grows a lot of its own ingredients. I dined on a selection of items from the menu.

To start, I enjoyed the soft and sweet Grove Bread which was served with the chef’s cultured butter.

Throughout the meal I tucked into a variety of perfectly cooked dishes including Swordfish Kebab’s, Scallop Ceviche and ‘Blooming Maitake Mushroom’.

The meal was finished off with a delicious aperitive, created in house.

Boon Fly Café

If you are looking for somewhere to refuel between tastings, Boon Fly Café is a must.

Offering a “contemporary roadhouse atmosphere”, the restaurant serves everything from a quick brunch to gourmet dinner.

I stopped by for lunch and tucked into a Californian staple – Beer Battered Fish Tacos.

These were served in a generous portion with spicy slaw and lemon crème fraiche which complemented the perfectly cooked fish.

The friendly, laid back atmosphere allowed a relaxed lunch but the speedy service ensures it is also somewhere you could stop if short on time.

Before heading off, I grabbed a serving of Boon Fly Donuts which were served warm with an indulgent hot chocolate dip.

If you stop by, I would recommend picking up a batch – they can even be boxed up and taken on the go.

Compline Restaurant and Wine Shop

Compline has a central location in downtown Napa.

On arrival, diners are greeted with an impressive wall of wine with offerings from all over the world.

Venture in further and you will find cosy but relaxed decor which complements the friendly service.

As the name would suggest, guests can visit to browse the wine shop or to enjoy a lunch or evening meal.

I tucked into the artichoke risotto which was served with parmigiano, green garlic and radish pod.

The food came out quickly and was fresh and bursting with flavour.

The staff were more than willing to help and happily shared recommendations from the extensive wine menu.

I settled on the delicious Californian Chardonnay, byPass Wines Sonoma Valley and enjoyed a glass before heading off.

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