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Sampling the Napa Valley restaurant scene

Where to find some of the best meals in Napa Valley

Touring California’s Napa Valley can be as endlessly diverting as exploring the byways of France’s Burgundy or Italy’s Piedmont, said S. Irene Virbila in the Los Angeles Times. Recently I sampled Napa’s restaurants over a five-day period. Here are some of the highlights.

Bardessono Built atop an old vineyard in the center of Yountville, this gorgeous restaurant is run by Sean O’Toole, who has worked with Alain Ducasse and Daniel Boulud. Among his “wonderfully elegant” dishes are heavenly gnocchi, Alaskan halibut so fresh its flesh “is almost custardy,” and poached lobster in “a lovely coconut gazpacho.” 6526 Yount St., Yountville, (707) 204-6030

Ad Hoc “My favorite meal of the trip.” Thomas Keller’s super-casual fine dining is spectacular on every front. First courses include poached leeks with three kinds of wild mushrooms. For an entrée, try deep golden buttermilk-fried chicken. Then finish with cheese served on homemade crackers or an old-fashioned ice cream sundae. 6476 Washington St., Yountville (707) 944-2487

Brix Calling itself a “restaurant, gardens, and wine shop,” this oasis off Highway 29 offers such treats as a “juicy Niman Ranch cheeseburger,” an heirloom-bean salad with wispy frisée, and a Sunday brunch buffet that includes an al fresco seafood bar. 7377 St. Helena Highway, Napa (707) 944-2749

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