755 Silverado Trail
94515 Calistoga, US
707- 226 0800
NileGuide Expert tip:
Solbar has become increasingly popular, drawing locals and those staying at neighboring resorts, so make a reservation in advance for weekends and high season weekdays.
From the minute you walk into the airy, high-ceilinged Solbar restaurant, located in the heart of the Solage Calistoga resort, you feel well cared-for. The staff is friendly, solicitious, and accommodating in a low-key way. No one hovers, no one over-explains, yet somehow you feel that all your needs are taken care of instantly. The clever, well-designed menu lists the lighter, healthier dishes in green on one side, the heartier, richer fare in red on the other, making it easy to create a balanced selection of dishes.
Executive chef Brandon Sharp, formerly of Gary Danko's in San Francisco, changes the menu daily to reflect seasonal offerings and the mood of the day. On one winter day, for example, the soup was butternut squash and sage, and dishes included roasted free range chicken and brussels sprouts, and an addictive pasta dish featuring matsutake mushrooms. Make sure to order at least one dish featuring greens, such as kale; Sharp's team knows how to get the ultimate flavor out of local specialty produce. Midweek there's also a four-course prix fixe dinner priced very reasonably that's become a favorite of locals and visitors alike.
Desserts are also seasonal, but don't miss the Italian-inspired donut holes - officially known as Zeppole -- which come with a coffee-infused dipping sauce that's a meal in itself.
The wine list is impeccable, drawing heavily from local vintners up and down the Napa Valley. Ask the knowledgeable wait staff for pairing suggestions and you can't go wrong.
The ambiance at Solbar is more Scottsdale than Sonoma, with eye-catching fire and fountain features, artistic lighting, enormous windows and minimalist decor. It's the kind of place you order an after-dinner decaf or glass of port, just to linger a little longer.