Auberge du Soleil – Rutherford, CA: Restaurants offering fine dining in Napa are many and each boasts of having a great wine-list and excellent cuisine. So when we set out to Auberge du Soleil, we wondered how much of the good reviews that the restaurant had gathered through the years would hold true. Auberge du Soleil, created by restaurateur Claude Rouas 25 years ago, is famed for its excellent cuisine, décor and wine-list. So we set out to this fine dining restaurant in Napa to discover for ourselves the magic behind it.
The First Impression:Auberge du Soleil has a main restaurant and bistro & bar attached to it. There was a beautiful wrap-around deck offering a fantastic view of the valley. With taste-fully done décor, wafting aromas of tantalizing food, well-dressed customers sitting and sipping on delicious looking glasses of wine, Auberge du Soleil exuded style in a casual-chic way.
Décor and Ambience: The décor of Auberge du Soleil spoke of casual elegance. The warm wooden furnishings and the exposed beams of the interiors were enhanced by the vivid splashes of colors in the form of abstract paintings that decked the walls and made it vibrant with their presence. Tables were set out in warm earth colors to be in tune with the décor with wooden and wicker chairs. Golden table-cloth and plate settings added to the richness of the ambience. People were all elegantly dressed. Definitely a place you want to don on your ‘fine clothes’ for.
The Terrace: The Terrace seating were definitely an added asset of Auberge du Soleil. With an amazing and panoramic view that the terrace offered, one could enjoy a delicious meal with a glass of the famous Napa wine and take in the spread of olive groves, vineyards while watching a glorious sunset. But make sure that you sit out while there are no functions being held downstairs as that would get in the way of a peaceful evening. Sit inside on such occasions.
The Food: The food at Auberge du Soleil definitely got our attention and taste-buds working. There offered separate Breakfast, Brunch/Brunch-dessert, Lunch/Lunch-dessert and Dinner/Dessert menus besides a special Tasting menu, Vegetarian-tasting menu, Christmas menu and New-Year’s eve menu. They also had a very extensive wine-list which showcased the best wine from neighboring vineyards. The award-winning menu and wine list is put together by Executive Chef Robert Curry and Sommelier Kris Margerum. The food brought in the local flavors of Napa with a Mediterranean twist.
We sipped on a glass of Champagne before we placed our order. Sitting on the deck, we got a good view of the expanse before us. We started our meal with a complementary soup from the kitchen which was a nice touch and set us into a relaxed and welcomed mood. The complementary Potato Leek Soup with Truffle Oil was completely delicious with all the right-flavors blending in perfectly. We moved on to our starter selection of a Lobster Tempura and Asparagus Soup; a nice-enough lobster plate without being extraordinary and the soup as nice as any asparagus soup can be.
The first-course came in bringing our order of scallops and halibut with pasta. The meal presentation was artistically done, hardly making us want to spoil it by eating it! But with the aromas enveloping us, it was hard to stay away. The main-course soon followed with our orders of veal wrapped in bacon and a plate of lamb. Both the dishes were excellent with the meat cooked to perfection; tender and very juicy, bursting with flavors. To top this excellent meal was the dessert; melting, savory chocolate dumpling and banana dumpling. The perfect round-off to our enjoyable meal. The impeccable service added to making the whole experience a pleasure.
The Calculated Impression:Auberge du Soleil definitely deemed a place as one of the best restaurants for fine dining in Napa. With its amazing food, décor and ambience, this was a place that we would definitely want to come back to and recommend to others to visit.
What I liked: The décor, service and the quality of food. The choice of food and wine is definitely something to look forward to.
What I didn’t like: The noise that escaped from the wedding party downstairs that spoilt the experience of sitting on the deck.
Address and Telephone Number Auberge du Soleil 180 Rutherford Hill Road