The Napa Valley is widely known for its decadent cheeses, fine wines, and Michelin star-rated restaurants. It’s Disneyland for foodies and winos. As a kid, growing up in Napa was boring. The town was quiet and wholesome, everything you look for as an adult.
A little backstory about me: I’ve been a vegan for over two years, and before going vegan, I was a vegetarian (plus a little bit of fish) for seven years when I was still living in Napa. I stopped eating meat to support a friend during lent and never looked back. Read more about My Vegan Story
Napa is a small town that is set in its ways and not susceptible to change. Ten years ago, being vegetarian in Napa was hard. Today, being vegan is even harder because most people don’t even know what vegan is. Lucky for you, I’ve done some research and found restaurants in Napa that have more than one option for vegans. I’ve created a list of my favorites for vegans visiting the Napa Valley.
What is Vegan Wine?
Wait, isn’t all wine vegan? Nope. Many wineries use animal products during the winemaking process to fine and clarify the wine. This process is called fining. Some winemakers use egg whites, gelatin, fish bladder, and milk proteins to make the wine clear. Wine is rarely labeled vegan. The best way to find out is if you ask the winemaker or check Barnivore.com
Vegan Cheese Plate at Domaine Carneros
- Not only are the wines vegan, but Domaine Carneros offers a vegan cheese plate! Enjoy the views of the valley on their outdoor patio while sipping their delicious array of sparkling wines. Tastings start at $35/per person. Reservations are required to visit the winery. Check out my blog post for more details: Vegan in Napa Valley: Domaine Carneros
- A family-owned winery with a small production. Ballentine Vineyards is completely free of animal products right down to their soil. $35/per person for the Explorer’s Tasting, which is a great casual experience.
- Round Pond Estates values sustainable winegrowing, which promotes positive plant-soil interactions and emphasizes a concerted reduction in the use of chemicals and pesticides. Not only is their cabernet sauvignon award-winning, but the architecture alone at Round Pond is a must-see. Tastings start at $40/per person. Reservations are required to visit the winery.
Upper Valley Eats:
Most wineries in Napa are located on the stretch of Highway 29, which turns into Main Street in Saint Helena. If you’re up valley here are my recommendations:
Beet Hummus - Archetype
- A casual family-owned Chinese restaurant located in the heart of Saint Helena. If you’re looking for comfort food and something that will soak up all the wine you’ve been drinking, look no further, Golden Harvest has got you covered. My favorites are Ma Po Tofu, Chinese greens with Black Mushrooms, Eggplant in a hot garlic sauce, and Veggie Chow Fun. Check out my blog post for more details: Vegan in Napa Valley: Golden Harvest
- I love when a menu labels vegan, gluten-free, or nut-free items. It just makes things easy for everyone. Archetype did a fantastic job on their menu. I’ve tried the Beet Hummus, Squash Soup, and Buddha Rice Bowl. Everything was delicious and a great place to experience a Napa Valley-style restaurant.
- A steakhouse? Yes. I’ve been here twice since being vegan, and both times my dinner experience was phenomenal. The servers are highly knowledgeable of what dishes have butter or cheese. Plus, the chefs know what they’re doing. Leave it to the professionals at a steakhouse to know what vegans want.
The Restaurant at Meadowood
- TRAM is a very well known three Michelin star-rated restaurant. It’s highly talked about in the valley. Chef Kostow and the team at TRAM created the most amazing vegan experience with fresh fruit and veggies from the garden. Check out my blog post for more details: Vegan in the Napa Valley - The Restaurant at Meadowood
The heart of the Napa Valley. Downtown Napa is the liveliest and walkable part of town, with lots of restaurants, boutiques, and wine-tasting rooms.
Spinach Manchiata at Pizza Azzurro
- A hole-in-the-wall restaurant that has the best falafel’s I’ve ever had (trust me, I’ve had a lot). Small World has been in business for over thirty years, and it’s a local gem. My favorite is the falafel plate because it is filled with lots of shredded cabbage, lettuce, and cucumbers alongside a good portion of hummus, falafel, and a side of pita bread.
- I’m a huge fan of Pizza Azzuro, and I don’t go to pizza places that don’t offer vegan cheese. But, I’m obsessed with their Spinach Manchiata (ask for no cheese), which is a pizza with a giant pile of spinach salad on top. They also offer pizzas (with no cheese), vegetable soup, and salads.
- My new favorite restaurant in downtown Napa. Chef Miminashi knows how to cook vegetables and is unafraid of leaving animal products off the plate. There are so many vegan options on the menu that you will not leave hungry. My favorite is the Vegan Fried Rice, Little Gem Salad, and Maitake Mushrooms. Did I mention there’s a soft cream window?
- Gran Electrica is a Mexican restaurant that emphasizes the traditional cooking methods of Mexico like fresh heirloom corn handcrafted pressed tortillas and cocktails are made with seasonal ingredients. Check out my blog post for more details: Vegan in Napa Valley: Gran Electrica
- The Napa Valley Wine Train is a must if you’ve never been to the valley. You board the train in downtown Napa and ride through Napa and up-valley to St. Helena and back. Check out my blog post for more details: Vegan in Napa Valley: Wine Train
- Most Japanese restaurants only offer avocado rolls and cucumber rolls, which are yummy but sometimes I want hot Japanese food. However, Morimoto offers a variety of vegan hot dishes. Check out my blog post for more details: Vegan in Napa Valley: Morimoto
A small town nestled between Napa and Oak Knoll, by small I mean only 1.5 sq mi with a population of 3,000. Yountville is home to the famous Michelin star restaurant, French Laundry and Bouchon Bistro, both Thomas Keller restaurants.
- A sister to the famous Hillstone restaurant group, R&D Kitchen has a different menu than it’s sister restaurants. My favorites are Cashew Kale Salad, Dip Duo (Only guac), and Veggie Club (No Feta or Mayo). They also offer veggie sushi. The outdoor seating at R&D is lovely, with fire pits and a garden.
- The french fries at Bouchon are the BEST. I would come just for the Pommes Frites and champagne. However, there is a Vegan Chop (not on the secret menu, just ask for it) that is delicious and very filling. Also, their famous bread is vegan, just ask for an olive tapenade instead of butter.
- Owned by Chef Michael Chiarello, Coqueta is a Spanish inspired cuisine features salads, seasonal veggies, and if the Chef is in a good mood, vegan paella!
City of Napa:
Yak & Yeti
- A mix of Indian, Nepalese and Tibetan cuisine. These dishes are inspired by the recipes that fueled trekkers along their way to Everest Base Camp. My favorites are Veggie Momos, Tofu chili, and Sagg Aloo. Pair all that with rice and roti. Check out my blog post for more details: Vegan in Napa Valley: Yak and Yeti
Vegan Wine Tasting in the Napa Valley
Thank you for checking out my vegan guide to the Napa Valley. Please keep checking back because I will be updating this list since new restaurants are popping up in the valley. If you’ve been to Napa and suggest a place I should check out, please let me know in the comments!