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 We all know about Napa Valley thanks to the wine industry but what about Napa as a town itself?

With many parks, night life and scenic views (one of which being the Skyline) and no more than 80,000 residents, Napa is a pretty and lively place to visit. It is not a metropolis which is exactly how the local council wants to keep it (see pic).

Their aim is to retain Napa’s country style by limiting construction of larger hotel chains and restaurants.

Downtown Napa is cute and welcoming with many different restaurants, each of which exemplifies their own unique style. Morimoto ( is the most popular Japanese restaurant in the city where I shared a meal of sushi with a real ‘half-Japanese’ gentleman who was so kind to explain the different kinds of sake. He also prevented me to pour myself sake for my self-consumption as it would bring me bad luck!

There are also an array of Italian restaurants: Uva Trattoria, where I have been more than once and where you can enjoy a wonderful meal in the midst of live music. Il Posto is also very nice. Not only do they offer Italian food but the owner is a very friendly gentleman and we had a lot of fun trying to pronounce the Italian wines (like Mastroberardino) off the menu correctly. By the way, I must add that the wine list is very good. However, the most popular Italian restaurant in town would have to be Don Giovanni. The owner, who is from the province of Naples (Napoli), is well-known and proudly hosts the likes of Piero Antinori whenever he comes into town.

There are many other restaurants as well as clubs in Downtown Napa. I’d like to mention Carpe Diem, a nice wine bar and Empire which has a unique jellyfish tank in the main room. Another is Fagiani’s which has three different floors (a restaurant, bar and terrace facing the river) and was recently reopened after it had been the site of a gruesome sexual assault murder in 1974 that had haunted the town for decades.

Finally, there is Tarla, where I had a wonderful time with the very welcoming owner Ali who’s originally from Turkey. Here, I tasted two different types of Sauvignon Blanc, one by John Anthony (who also has a winery tasting room Downtown right after Tarla and Twentyfour by Woodson (the famous football player)) and had a typical turkey plate which was delicious. “Mezes” as they call it has hummus, tzatziki, real feta cheese and is served with warm pita bread (see pic). The dynamic owners are in the process of opening a new club, Napkins, which I will write about and share my experience with you when it opens.

"mezes" starter at Tarla restaurant

“mezes” starter at Tarla restaurant

It is obvious that Napa is clearly pro-health and pays a lot of attention to the quality of life and food standards, so although you find your standard chains of Chinese food and coffee shops, it is nice to find good authentic food and local coffee shops right in front of the local Starbucks!