The French Laundry
Napa Valley is celebrated not only for it's fine wines, but for it's fine dining as well. The area has attracted many award winning chefs and is home to some of the world's most renowned restaurants. At the heart of this fine dining fare is the small town of Yountville, often referred to as the "Culinary Capital of the Napa Valley." While the town boasts many fine restaurants, the highest accolades have been given to Chef Thomas Keller and his restaurant, The French Laundry, which is considered one of the finest restaurants in the world.
While Yountville boasts many fine restaurants, the highest accolades have been given to Chef Thomas Keller and his restaurant, The French Laundry.
About Chef/Owner Thomas Keller
Thomas Keller is recognized worldwide as one of America's greatest chefs. He is currently the chef/owner of The French Laundry, as well as Bouchon, Bouchon Bakery, and Ad Hoc in Yountville, California; Bouchon in Las Vegas, Nevada; and Per Se and Bouchon Bakery in New York City. He and his restaurants have received many awards over the past decade, both nationally and internationally. He has also authored two award-winning books, The French Laundry Cookbook and Bouchon Cookbook.
Thomas Keller began his culinary journey without prior professional schooling or training. After learning to cook from his mother while growing up in Palm Beach Florida, he moved to France and apprenticed at many of the top French restaurants. When he returned to the United States, he worked in New York City and Los Angeles, where he promptly received rave reviews and gained a loyal following.
About The French Laundry
Thomas Keller purchased the restaurant in 1994 from the original proprietors, Don and Sally Schmitt. His vision for The French Laundry was to create a three-star country French restaurant in the Napa Valley. Thomas Keller, working together with his exceptional staff of individuals who share his commitment to high standards, has succeeded in creating a world class restaurant. The French Laundry has earned rave reviews and numerous prestigious awards, making both Thomas Keller and his restaurant perhaps the most famous chef and dining establishment in America. When the first Michelin Guide for the San Francisco Bay Area was published in 2006, it had given "three stars" to The French Laundry.
The French Laundry restaurant occupies a turn of the century rustic stone and timber building that is surrounded by vintage roses and a seasonal herb garden. Driving down the quaint main street of Yountville, you could easily pass by and not realize you had just driven past the world-renowned restaurant, The French Laundry. Though the building may be unimposing, the food is most definitely extraordinary.
The French Laundry Menu
The French Laundry menu has been described as French-influenced Contemporary American cuisine. The restaurant offers two menus, the 9-course Chef's Tasting Menu and the 9-course Vegetable Tasting Menu. Each course is impeccably prepared and artfully presented for the guests culinary and visual pleasure. The menus are designed by Chef Keller and his staff to highlight the best seasonal and local products available. The estimated dining time for the 9-course menu is 3 to 4 hours. Both menus are set at a fixed price of $240 per person (service charge included). The restaurant offers an Award-Winning All World Wine List, including many choices available by the half bottle. You are permitted to bring your own wine; the corkage fee is $50/750 ml. bottle.
The French Laundry restaurant occupies a turn of the century rustic stone and timber building that is surrounded by vintage roses and a seasonal herb garden.
Making a Reservation
Advance reservations are necessary for dining at The French Laundry. With the high demand and intimate capacity, reservations are limited. It is not uncommon for guests to wait and make their travel arrangements to the Napa Valley only after they get a confirmed reservation date at The French Laundry.
To make a reservation, you may call the reservations office at 707.944.2380 between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Reservations can be made up to two months in advance of the dining date. You may also make reservations online through OpenTable.com. Walk-in reservations are not accepted.
The French Laundry serves dinner seven nights a week, with reservations available between the hours of 5:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Lunch is served on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
When making the reservation, a credit card will be requested in order to hold the reservation. Guests are also asked to reconfirm their reservation 3 days prior to the dining date by calling 800.944.1224.
Reservations for private parties of 8 guests or more, or a facility rental for up to 62 guests, are accepted up to one year in advance. The telephone number for special event-related calls only is 707.944.0456.
Wait List and Last Minute Reservations
If you are able to travel on the spur of the moment, you may be able to take advantage of The French Laundry wait list. If you call the restaurant directly at 707.944.2380 they would be happy to add your name to the list. Walk-in requests are not accepted.
Another option is to check for last-minute cancellations on OpenTable.com. Every now and then a cancellation occurs and seats are available for a last-minute reservation, primarily for weekdays and Friday lunches.
If you plan on dining at The French Laundry, especially if you are traveling from out-of-town, it is important to pack the appropriate attire. While ties are optional, jackets are required for both lunch and dinner dining. Also, jeans, tennis shoes, shorts, and t-shirts are not permitted in the dining room.
The French Laundry is located at 6640 Washington Street, Yountville, California, 94599. The telephone number is 707.944.2380. The website is www.frenchlaundry.com.
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