Downtown Napa, Part I

What to expect in Downtown Napa.

I’ve been to Napa countless times but I have to admit I wasn’t really even aware that there was a Downtown. So when I was recently invited on a trip to explore Downtown Napa, I was pleasantly surprised by all that the downtown has to offer.

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I checked into the beautiful Westin Versa Napa, ideally situated on the riverbank and within walking distance to all that Napa has to offer, including the popular Napa Valley Wine Train and Oxbow Public Market, to name a few. The hotel is on the larger side compared to other hotels you might find in Napa, but one bonus is that the rooms come with a kitchenette. I’m also a huge fan of hotel lobby bars and the Westin has a great one with a lively scene. Sometimes, it is nice to come back to your hotel after a long day and relax in the hotel bar – and, when in Napa, have another cocktail.

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The day started with an incredible lunch at Atlas Social, which serves small plates in a contemporary setting. Favorites on the menu include the Chef’s crispy fried farm egg, grilled cauliflower steak with a béarnaise and citrus sauce, the shaved snap pea salad and the hamachi crudo – the latter being an all-time favorite of mine.

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I had the pleasure of chatting with owner Michael Gyetvan as well as head chef Nick Ritchie. The dynamic duo have turned Atlas Social into one of the most happening spots in downtown with sensational food to boot.

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After lunch, we made our way to the Napa General Store for a rather unique experience – a blind wine tasting test. Yes, blindfolded and drinking wine. Spilling likely inevitable. We tried three different wines – a red, a white and a rose. After the blinded tasting, we were able to sample the varietals with different food pairings.

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After some down time, it was cocktail time again! Our group rendezvoused at 1313 Main for some cocktails before heading to dinner.  This wine bar and restaurant provides an intimate setting, perfect for before-dinner cocktails. For dinner, we headed to contemporary American restaurant Torc. This hot spot is a great dinner choice for those looking for a rather well-heeled crowd. Trendy and lively, Torc has an open kitchen where you can watch the chefs crafting their culinary masterpieces.

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This trip was sponsored by Downtown Napa. As always, opinions, text, and images are my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that make The Wellist possible.

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