Top 10 Out-of-the-Way Napa Town Stops for Culinary Hedonists

fattedFollowers of FERMENTATION know that I live in the town of Napa and am a booster of this town. Simply put, I believe the town of Napa is now one of best attractions the Napa Valley offers visitors.

So I thought it time I offered up my current picks for The Top Ten Below-The-Radar Napa Culinary Hedonism Joints. These are the lesser known, out-of-the-way, don’t-miss, and smaller joints that are often overlooked by visitors to the town of Napa who are looking to feed their jones for things culinary and hedonistic. With that…Dig in!

Fatted Calf
If you like putting delicious things in your mouth, then your first stop in a Napa Town culinary adventure must be The Fatted Calf. Located outside and below The Oxbow Market, the Fatted Calf is home to the most delectable collections of charcuterie, fowl and game products, as well as an eclectic collection of pantry stables you will find in the Valley. They offer a small selection of prepared food during the day too. The Fatted Calf is my first stop when I’m looking for something delicious to prepare for dinner. LINK

Five Dot Ranch
It’s both a butcher shop and restaurant located, again, at the Oxbow Market—this time inside. This is where you go for the finest beef products in the town of Napa. It’s also where you go to address a beef craving as they serve an array of beef-based sandwiches. If you are really feeling beefy, you can buy a cut of meat (do the bone in Ribeye) and they’ll grill it up for you right there. LINK

Red Rock Cafe and Backdoor Barbecue
It’s not located in the touristy area of the town of Napa. It’s in a relatively tiny little joint off Lincoln Avenue. You don’t go here for the barbecue, particularly five-dotif you are a connoisseur of barbecue. You go here for the burgers. They are absolutely delicious and compete for the best in town. I am particularly impressed that they use shredded lettuce on their burgers along with high quality meat. It’s a locals place. There are only about 8 or 9 tables and a small bar. So, you may have to wait for a seat. LINK

Genova Delicatessen
It’s been in business since 1926 and it’s the best deli in Napa. More important, it’s a fairly authentic Italian deli. But the reason to go here is for the sandwiches. With a wide selection of deli meats, including great prosciutto, capocolo and the like, numerous types of breads and all the fixings, Genova serves up perfectly made sandwiches. But they also serve great ravioli and other pastas. Here’s’ the catch. Unless you get there before 11:30am, you are going to stand in line for 20 to 30 minutes. I usually go in the morning, get my sandwich and only wait about 10 minutes. Lots of wines and a huge collection of imported Italian products and more. It’s located in a somewhat nondescript shopping center off of Trancas Street on the north side of Napa. LINK.

Napa Cigars
Cigars go in your mouth too. Napa Cigar is now one of the best tobacconist in town. It carries a very eclectic selection of cigars including many very small batch, premium smokes. The owners are smokers and when you walk into the shop you’ll get not only a blast of that beautiful humidor smell but also that of a fresh cigar burning. They are open late and you’ll often fin local there smoking and drinking. It’s located on First Street. LINK

It’s just awesome and remains my favorite restaurant in town. Located on Main Street in the heart of the tourist district, Zuzu is all about the tapas. This is wonderfully authentic spanish tapas in a somewhat dark, always crowded, no reservations space. When I go, I try to be there with four or more people so I can get a taste of lots of dishes that we share. Make sure to try the Paella. It’s remarkable. And don’t forget. They don’t take reservations. So, you’ll likely be hanging out on the street in front waiting for your table. Worth the wait. LINK.

It’s relatively new and its all about the grilled cheese. Located in a hole in the wall on Pearl street just off of Main Street in Downtown Napa is the place to go to satisfy your craving for cheesy goodness. All the sandwiches are served on white bread waffles that are addicting. My favorite: Pigs on a Wing (Part 1): Black Forest Ham, Gruyere, Asiago and Havarti cheese, arugula and chive aioli. Great place to take kids too. LINK.

Osprey Sea Food
This is where you go for the freshest seafood in the town of Napa. It’s always right off the boat and they carry the freshest catch from nearby waters. It’s also where you go to get the freshest and best Dungeness Crab when in season. They are located on Wine Country Avenue in the northwest section of town. If you are renting a place in town with a full kitchen you must stop by and bring some of their fresh fish back to the kitchen. Talk to the guys too. They are incredibly knowledgeable about all things fishy. LINK.

Squeeze Inn Burgers
Another hole in the wall located in an ordinary shopping center on the west side of town. What they are known for is there hamburgers that include a vast amount of grilled cheese that hangs over the edge of the burger like carousel of cheese. It’s a really good burger if you like your burger dedicated to cheese. LINK.

Shackfords Kitchen Store
This place is ridiculous. I include it in this list of hedonistic places in the town of Napa because you end up drooling every bit as much here as you will in any of the other above mentioned joints. This is a Kitchen store that is packed to the gills with every possible kitchen item and appliance you can imagine. As you roam down the narrow aisles you’ll find both the bizarre and the must-have kitchen items. I have no idea how they deal with inventory or how they occasionally take inventory. In fact I doubt they do. It should be a stop on any food lover’s Napa Town itinerary. Link.


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