There is nothing more magical than spending a day in the rolling hills of Napa Valley enjoying the sunshine and peaceful surroundings. That is only if you don’t happen to have a much-coveted reservation at one of the world’s most iconic restaurants, The French Laundry located in the cozy town of Yountville, CA.
Situated among the golden rolling hills, this extraordinary restaurant seats 62 lucky patrons per service. Chef Thomas Keller is the only American to hold multiple three-star rating Michelin Guide which only increases the allure of the renowned restaurant.
Getting a Table at The French Laundry
To secure a table to experience the culinary magic, you will need to reserve your spot at least two months in advance. Unlike typical restaurants, instead of accepting reservations over the phone you will need to use their online reservation system “Tock”. Seats are $325 per person and must be paid in advance at the time of reservation. The extended wait and the price is well worth it, however. The nine-course tasting menu is available in two options, the Chef’s Tasting and the Tasting of Vegetables. Both courses showcase Chef Thomas Keller’s skill of French techniques and the dishes are all made of the freshest ingredients available.
Consider visiting on the weekend to make your trip extra special. The French Laundry Culinary Garden is located across from the restaurant where you can stroll among the perfectly manicured gardens. When you are ready to eat, simply cross the street and enter through the famous blue door to be transported to culinary heaven.
Dress Code at The French Laundry
The dress code is semi-formal men must wear a dinner jacket in the Dining room. There are four eating areas to choose from depending on the size of your party. The Dining Room for parties of 1-7, The Board Room for parties of 6 – 12, The Courtyard for parties of 6-15 and the Private Dining room for more intimate occasions. As you arrive, you will be greeted by the Maitre d’ Host at the door and escorted to your table. As you wait for your meal to begin, you can browse their extensive wine list, peruse their cigar collection or even order a craft beer.
Food at The French Laundry
Once the French meal service begins, you will find yourself on an extraordinary journey of taste and sensation that covers everything from succulent amuse-bouche, hand-rolled bread with freshly made butter to caviar and turbot. The menu changes daily, but is always grounded in classic French cuisine with the finest quality ingredients. Your mouth will water and rejoice in equal measure and at the end of the meal, you will be eager to book your next reservation. The service provided to each guest is always impeccable, and your meal is guaranteed to be memorable.
The chefs carefully select their suppliers to ensure that they get the best possible ingredients. Relationships with these supplies are established and maintained closely. As The French Laundry puts it, “When ingredients arrive at the restaurant they are, in one sense, already finished.”
Pro Tip: Make room for dessert. This is not an easy task, as you’ll want to indulge and finish every course, but to ensure you can fully enjoy the dessert platter (AKA the finale). We decided to skip the eighth course (the cheese course) and have them package it up to-go to ensure we had room for dessert.
Wine at The French Laundry
The wine list is made up of exquisite, “hard-to-get cult wines and also some little-known gems” as The French Laundry says. Upon our recent visit there were bottles of wine upwards of $20,000, but not to worry you can reasonably priced bottles in the mid $100’s as well. If you’re wondering, “Can I bring my own bottle of wine to The French Laundry?” the answer is yes. They charge a $150 corkage fee for each bottle of wine during your meal.
The French Laundry opened in 1994 and went through a reported $10M expansion and renovation of the kitchen as well as courtyard that was completed in 2018.
The French Laundry
6640 Washington St
Yountville, CA 94599