Downtown: A river Runs Through It

By Wine Enthusuast Magazine

With its River Walk, historic buildings and booming restaurant-cum-wine scene, the namesake town of the Napa Valley carriesa new quotient of cool.

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More than 20 tasting rooms pour fine wines. Carpe Diem Wine Bar seizes the way with 250-plus selections to match globetrotting cuisine. A wine lounge where you buy 1,000-plus labels at retail prices, 1313 Main just opened Lulu’s Kitchen, which serves savory pairing bites. Curtained alcoves add incognito allure to the second-floor terrace bar at Andaz Hotel.

Oxbow Public Market gathers purveyors of eclectic eats from oysters (Hog Island) to gourmet burgers (Gott’s Roadside). At Kitchen Door, Chef Todd Humphries favors multi-ethnic comfort dishes from pâtés to pizzas to pad Thai.

Cross-cultural currents flow atMorimoto restaurant where the eponymous celebrity chef devises dishes such as lamb carpaccio with wasabi leaf plus impeccable sushi. A notorious murder scene shuttered for nearly 40 years, Fagiani’s Bar is reborn as The Thomas, a classy new eatery from Brad Farmerie, with awesome views of the Napa River from its third floor deck. Oenotri wins for Italian with wood-oven pizzas and entrees like quail with green lentils.

Capping a night out, Napa Valley Opera House (built 1880) and Uptown Theatre (an Art Deco gem) draw performers such as Madeleine Peyroux, Drew Carey and Rosanne Cash.

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