Bouchon: a French bistro in the heart of Napa Valley

croque madame and frites at bouchon

Photo by Gabriel Amaya

If you are visiting Napa Valley, make sure you stop by the town of Yountville, the culinary capital of the region and home to several famous restaurants like The French Laundry, Bistro Jeanty and Bouchon. This week, I went to Bouchon Bistro for lunch after an exhausting hike up to Bald Mountain in the Sugar Loaf Ridge state park in Sonoma.

Bouchon Bistro is a restaurant started by chef Thomas Keller who is behind The French Laundry. They serve classic French bistro dishes such as croque madame (pictured above), mussels, steak tartare, and more. On the day I visited Bouchon, I was absolutely famished so I had the moules à la basquaise (mussels in a rich creamy white wine broth with thin slices of Spanish chorizo), accompanied by very delicious frites (French fries). I usually never eat French fries, except when they are made in this way: thinly sliced and slightly crispy. My lunch companion had a watercress and endive salad with Roquefort, toasted walnuts and walnut vinaigrette, and the steak tartare. The salad was divine. The vinaigrette never overwhelmed the delicious vegetables and the Roquefort added just the right punch.

For dessert, my lunch partner and I indulged in an île flottante (floating island), a delicate meringue floating on a layer of vanilla crème anglaise with almond and caramel sauce. It’s not easy to find île flottante, even in French restaurants in San Francisco. So when I see it on the menu, I order it. Bouchon has other classic French desserts such as profiteroles, crème caramel, pot de crème and tarte au citron.

They have an excellent selection of reasonably priced French wines, some of which are available by the glass. Everything is exactly as you would expect it to be in a good bistro in France, down to the delicious bread and butter. However, the prices are quite high compared to what you would pay in France for the same quality of food.

Bouchon Bistro
6534 Washington Street
Yountville, CA 94599-1397
+1 707 944 8037

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About Esme Vos

Esme Vos is the founder of Mapplr, a travel site featuring boutique hotels, luxury resorts, travel guides and restaurant reviews. You can find her on and Twitter.