This fine dining restaurant in Yountville is absolutely legendary.
Anthony Bourdain was a beloved celebrity chef, author, and documentarian for many reasons, and the recent documentary Roadrunner has many fans revisiting his early-2000s TV series A Cook’s Tour. A popular 2002 episode features The French Laundry, a three-Michelin-starred French restaurant in Yountville run by legendary chef Thomas Keller, who Bourdain calls “the most exciting chef in America.”
In the episode, Bourdain visits the restaurant with French chef Éric Ripert, writer Michael Rulman and Chef Scott Bryan, for whom Keller serves an enormous, impressive tasting menu. Bourdain is thrilled by the experience, saying, “I’m excited like a 16-year-old girl on the way to her first date.” In another episode, Bourdain says, “[Keller’s] Napa Valley restaurant The French Laundry is in my opinion the best restaurant in the world. Period.”
The French Laundry in Yountville continues to be a must for fine dining enthusiasts far beyond the Bay Area. Chef Thomas Keller established the restaurant in 1994 as an essential destination for French cuisine in wine country. It resides in a quaint stone cottage, which once housed a French steam laundry in the 1920s, hence the restaurant’s name.
According to Fine Dining Lovers, Thomas Keller has a total of 7 Michelin stars to his name: 3 for The French Laundry, 3 for Per Se in New York, and 1 for Bouchon, a French-style bistro down the street from The French Laundry. He’s also the only American chef to own two 3-Michelin-star restaurants at the same time.
The French Laundry itself has racked up numerous awards, including 3 Michelin stars since 2007, a green Michelin star for gastronomy and sustainability, and the James Beard Foundation’s “Outstanding Restaurant Award” in 2007, among others.
Anybody who knows me knows my indifference to vegetables. But this guy’s got me drooling over fava beans.” – Anthony Bourdain, of Thomas Keller
The restaurant’s impressive tasting menus change daily, and are always prepared with seasonal ingredients. They source from high-quality favorites including Equator Coffee, Andante Dairy, Manni Olive Oil, and Animal Farm Dairy. At the moment, the “Chef’s Tasting Menu” includes slow-cooked halibut fillet, applewood-smoked white quail, and charcoal-grilled Japanese wagyu. The “Tasting of Vegetables” includes white yam “hummus” and buttermilk-fried hen of the woods mushrooms. See daily tasting menus here.
If that weren’t enough, this legendary restaurant also offers beautifully-curated wine and spirits programs, with bottles from all over the world. Their sommeliers adapt the wine selection to the constantly-changing tasting menus, and given the Napa Valley location, you can expect a top-tier wine collection.
If you’re a fan of fine dining, consider making a reservation at The French Laundry. You can find this magnificent restaurant at 6640 Washington St in Yountville, which is about an hour north of San Francisco.
Featured image: David Escalante (@davidescalante), courtesy of The French Laundry