A well-set table often is even lovelier in when set outdoors. Restaurants with patios, terraces, gardens and vineyard views are the perfect place to savor a gourmet feast.
The building is a former boathouse, fitting for the French restaurant’s riverfront setting, and the charming patio is extremely popular, with its wicker chairs, colorful striped umbrellas and potted shrubbery. Tuck into signatures like the French onion soup mounded with gooey Gruyere, the pork belly fritters with boquerones and lemon-champagne aioli, and lobster pot pie with shaved baby carrot salad.
540 Main Street, Napa, 707-252-8115
Zazu Kitchen & Farm, Sebastopol
Owners Duskie Estes and John Stewart growing their own produce at their home, at a Healdsburg winery, and on the dining patio at their restaurant. You’ll see them dash out for organic tomatoes and arugula for the signature BLT pizza, loaded with Stewart’s own Black Pig bacon and cheese on a thin, crispy crust. The handcrafted salumi is a must, as are seasonal delights like an antipasti of backyard melon, radishes and avocado in saffron vinaigrette, or Liberty duck breast over cider braised cabbage, pork belly and Klopp Ranch Asian pears. Save room for peanut butter ice cream sandwiches dipped in dark chocolate fondue, too.
6770 McKinley Street, Sebastopol, 707-523-4814
Auberge du Soleil, Rutherford
The views from the terrace are delicious, overlooking the resort gardens, surrounding vineyards, and Napa Valley beyond. The food at the Michelin Star restaurant is stunning, too, crafted by chef Robert Curry’s Cal-Med cuisine and complemented by an enormous wine list. Just two tempting examples: orange star anise glazed Liberty Farm duck with miso sweet potatoes and Tokyo turnips, or sweetbreads roulade with ginger poached pear, almond milk, cocoa, and licorice.
180 Rutherford Hill Road, Rutherford, 707-963-1211
The menu at this posh place focuses on the freshest local ingredients, for beautiful dishes like cauliflower soup with caramelized florets, raisin, fried caper, toasted almond and sage. So it makes sense that you can dine in a garden, next to the mahogany barn with pitchforks on the walls that serves as the restaurant. Chef Ryan Fancher works magic without fuss, crafting edible art such as the simple, sumptuous sautéed Pacific swordfish with fregola sarda, green goddess, cracked crab, olive, and tomato confit.
231 Center Street, Healdsburg, 707-431-0100
The patio actually sits in the front yard of this quaint restaurant, but the menu ingredients do come from the backyards of local ranchers, orchards, farms, creameries and foragers.
Chefs Daniel Kedan and Marianna Gardenhire put lots of love into their cooking, wowing with comfort favorites like chicken potpie baked in a crock with Green Star Farms poached chicken, carrots, onions and potatoes, all topped with buttermilk biscuit crust, or gnocchi made with purple potatoes, king trumpet mushrooms, young onions, Cinderella squash and fava-hemp seed pesto.
6566 Front Street, Forestville, 707-820-8445
Tip: Make a green entrance to your garden parties, by hiring a private limo or Town Car for door-to-door service. Pure Luxury Transportation is a leader in environmental responsibility. As members of Green Ride Global™, Pure Luxury has committed to GHG emissions reductions from all areas of the company’s business operations of 20 percent over the next 5 years.