Napa Valley is home to some of the world’s top chefs and restaurants, but Michelin stars and culinary prowess come at a price. This means that for locals, dining out isn’t always feasible, so we’ve compiled 10 local meal deals that will satisfy your sophisticated palate without breaking the bank. Plus, we’ve rounded up the best Happy Hours in town and where you can find free corkage.
— Bank Cafe Napa
Tucked inside the Westin Verasa, Bank Cafe Napa serves up a cheap date night with 2-for-1 burgers ($16) on Wednesdays, plus free corkage. We then suggest you take your savings and splurge on one of their adult boozy milkshakes, like Jasmine Green Tea or Pumpkin Spice. TIP: While you’re there, “like” their Facebook page and check in to receive a free order of lobster popcorn.
— Fumé Bistro & Bar
If Monday’s got you down, Napa’s Fumé Bistro & Bar has the cure in the form of a $5 Fumé Ground Chuck Burger, a longstanding tradition. It’s available at the bar only, so early birds get the meat (special runs from 5-9:30 p.m.).
— Oxbow Public Market
Every Tuesday from 5-8 p.m. is Locals’ Night at the Oxbow, where many merchants offer specials. Grab a pair of quesadillas from C Casa for $8, or chips and guacamole for $5, and then snag a $1.25 mini cupcake at Kara’s for dessert. If you haven’t tried it yet, stop by the just-opened Live Fire Pizza, where $15 gets you a Margherita Pie from their wood-fired oven and a pint of beer to wash it down with. Outside the market, Gott’s Roadside offers a full dinner—burger, fries and soda—for $10.99, or $12.99 if you sub beer for the soda.
— Bounty Hunter
The best lunch deal in town might just be the Bounty Hunter’s Pony Express lunch. Offered weekdays from 11 a.m to 2 p.m., you get your choice of sandwich, side (I always opt for the cornbread) and non-alcoholic drink for $13.59. Their daily happy hour is just as sweet, especially if you’ve got a date. Take advantage of 2-for-1 Bounty Hunter wines by the glass and draft beers, and for $11, their BBQ Sample Plate (coleslaw, pulled pork, brisket, and ribs) easily feeds two.
— The Grill at Silverado
Daily specials at the Grill at Silverado Resort & Spa include Tacos and Tequila on Tuesdays, which consists of two tacos and a margarita for $20. Get their super-cheesy Kobe Burger for $12 (usually $17) on Wednesdays, or dine on fried chicken and sparkling wine on Thursdays ($45 for two). On weekends, add $10 to your brunch tab and enjoy bottomless mimosas, or head into the week feeling good—yet full—after Sunday’s $32 Prime Rib Night, which includes free corkage.
— The Q Restaurant & Bar
Daily BBQ and southern-style specials are on tap in the Bel Aire Plaza at The Q, where Sunday Funday consists of crispy fried chicken. Stop in anytime that day and get four pieces of fried chicken, collard greens and mashed potatoes for $19.50, or feed the whole family for $29, which gets you a 10-piece bucket and a side of slaw. Monday’s produce the perfect Monday Night Football accessory ($1.50 chicken wings or a bucket of 25 for $29), and Tuesday’s feature a whole rack of baby back ribs for $29. Get over the week’s hump with a $10 sandwich and fries on Wednesday, and then usher in the weekend on Thursday with taco and nacho specials.
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— Harvest Table
Every Tuesday through Sunday from 4-6 p.m., the bar at Charlie Palmer’s Harvest Table boasts fresh-shucked oysters on the half shell for $1 a piece, and a burger and beer deal for $18. The juicy Harvest Burger consists of two all-beef patties topped with fontina cheese and served on a homemade bun. With fries and a draft beer thrown in, the price is just right.
— Press Restaurant
Post up at the bar or out on the patio at Press and enjoy a two-course, prix-fixe menu for $29. The menu changes, but the first course might feature an appetizer like beef carpaccio or a salad like the Press Classic Chopped salad, while the second course main entree may be the fried chicken sandwich or steak frites. “Dinner at the Bar” is available Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday nights.
— The Corner
This Napa Riverfront restaurant just launched a new Locals’ Night in August, offering free corkage and a 3-course meal for $40 every Wednesday, from 5:30-10 p.m.. You’ll get your choice of a starter (like the popular corn agnolotti or a red butter lettuce salad) and main (good luck deciding between the vegetable lasagna and beef short rib). The meal finishes with a signature dessert, like their to-die-for bread pudding, which turned this chocoholic into a believer.
— Napa Wine Train
If you’re looking for a unique way to celebrate a special occasion, locals (American Canyon to Yountville) can take advantage of a discounted ride aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train. For $99, the Gourmet Express Lunch or Dinner Train includes a gourmet meal with soup or salad, choice of entree and dessert, plus gorgeous wine country views along the three-hour tour to St. Helena and back. The locals’ rate can be used for lunch on Monday-Thursday and for dinner on Friday or Saturday.
If you’re looking to grab a quick bite or drink after work with friends, dozens of Napa Valley establishments put on daily happy hours. Some of my favorites are Carpe Diem ($6 wine and and cheap bites, like the $6 mini quack and cheese), Archetype ($5 wine and beer and $5-8 apps, like chorizo corn dog) and Napa Palisades Saloon ($4 Napa Palisades beers, under $5 apps or the beer and rueben ball combo for $7). Honorable Mentions: Stop in for Happy Hour at Tarla, Basalt, Torc and Brix for food and drink specials.
There’s nothing like free corkage to cut down on a dinner bill. It’s not easy to find in Napa Valley, but is offered daily at upvalley restaurants R+D Kitchen, the Rutherford Grill, Hurley’s and Market. Make a reservation first, and they’ll waive the corkage fee at Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen and Mustards, while Napa Valley Bistro and Downtown Joes operate on a first bottle free policy. The fee is also waived on Tuesday’s at Fume and Tarla, Wednesday’s at Il Posto Trattoria and Eiko’s, Thursday’s at Napkins Bar + Grill and The Corner, and Sunday’s at The Grill at Silverado.