The 3 Iconic Thomas Keller Restaurants You'll Find In The Heart Of Napa Valley

California's Napa Valley is known for being a thriving wine region filled with vineyards and wineries with countryside views of rolling hills and mountains. To help you soak up all of the world-class wine, many chefs and restaurateurs have established eateries here over the years, like famed chef Thomas Keller. Nestled in the town of Yountville, you'll come across many iconic dining establishments including The French Laundry, Bouchon Bistro, and Ad Hoc, three award-winning eateries owned and operated by Keller's restaurant group.

In case you aren't familiar with him, Thomas Keller is an award-winning American chef and restaurateur born in Oceanside, California. As a child, he moved to Palm Beach, Florida, where he'd eventually work at Palm Beach Yacht Club as a dishwasher and later as a cook. Years later, he trained at various restaurants and eventually decided to perfect his French cuisine skills. Keller went on to work in many fine-dining kitchens and eventually opened his first restaurant Rakel in New York City. In the 1990s, Keller visited Yountville to find a place to open a destination for French cuisine, according to his restaurant group's website. His first venture was The French Laundry and he later went on to open Bouchon Bistro and eventually Ad Hoc. Today, the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group also operates Bouchon Bakery, Regiis Ova, and La Calenda in Yountville.

The legacy of The French Laundry

It wasn't long after his initial visit to Yountville that he started to turn his French culinary dream into reality when he discovered a 1900-built two-story stone cottage that is home to The French Laundry. Although Keller might be synonymous with The French Laundry today, the restaurant was initially opened and run by Sally and Dan Schmitt until they sold it to Keller in 1994. Since 2007, it has held three Michelin stars among other recognitions, leading it to be considered one of the best restaurants in the world by some.

Its menu focuses on French cuisine with high-quality ingredients and two tasting menus that change daily, per its website. One of the most recent menus shows courses like hen egg custard, applewood smoked Atlantic cobia terrine, and charcoal-grilled Japanese Wagyu. There's also a vegetable-tasting menu with courses like roasted cauliflower velouté if you don't eat meat, wines from around the world, and spirits if you prefer a cocktail to wash down your meal.

You can visit The French Laundry at 6640 Washington Street. But you'll definitely need to snag a reservation to eat here — if you can manage to get one.

Dining at Bouchon Bistro

Down the street from The French Laundry, you'll find Keller's Bouchon Bistro, which opened in October 1998. Bouchon Bistro lost its one Micheline star in 2022, but it's still a popular dining spot that also has locations in Las Vegas and Coral Gables, Florida. The Bouchon Bistro in Yountville has the vibe of an old-school French Bistro with walls adorned with hand-painted murals by artist Paulin Paris. It offers a raw bar and rotating seasonal menus, with some year-round menu staples like roast chicken and leg of lamb. You can dine inside or outside on a patio where you'll find views of Yountville.

Its current menu features starters like deviled eggs and marinated olives plus entrees such as steak frites, beef bourguignon, and mussels in a white wine sauce with Dijon mustard and saffron. Bouchon Bistro also offers caviar, oysters, wine, and cocktails like the fireside chat, which is made with rye, walnut liquor, winter syrup, and maple syrup.

Bouchon Bistro is also located on Washington Street, just about a five-minute walk from The French Laundry. We recommend you try to get a reservation in advance to dine here, too.

Trying elevated comfort food at Ad Hoc

Keller opened Ad Hoc in September 2006, also on Washington Street in Yountville. It's far more casual than Keller's other eateries we've mentioned with chalkboard menus on the walls, but that doesn't mean it's any easier to land a table. The restaurant was originally opened temporarily but now runs as a permanent restaurant offering American comfort food like fried chicken and barbecue with a rotating four-course menu served family style. It's earned a three-star rating from The San Francisco Chronicle, according to its website.

A look at the most recent menu shows starters like yellowtail crudo and a cheese board with honey and crostinis. The current mains on the menu include roasted spatchcock chicken with fried rice and green beans or rock shrimp tempura with pickled chilis. You can sign up for alerts to find out the daily menu if you have an upcoming reservation. Ad Hoc also offers takeout for sporting events, wine, and craft cocktails like the jungle bird made of rum, Aperol, pineapple, lime, and tiki bitters.