The Village Bistro at the Grand Reserve at The Meritage offers elevated French cuisine amidst the rolling hills of picturesque Napa Valley vineyards—bringing together the best of two very distinct wine-country worlds.
The opening of this luxe eatery in mid-2022 was part of the reintroduction of the resort as the Grand Reserve at The Meritage, formerly known as Vista Collina at The Meritage.
The Grand Reserve, which neighbors the similarly luxurious Meritage Resort & Spa, offers guest rooms and suites of varying sizes, as well as numerous drinking and dining options—including Olive and Hay, for Italian-inspired dining, and three unique tasting rooms.
The Village Bistro originally opened as a high-end “popup,” with plans to serve through the end of the year only. But the response to the Bistro has been so positive that the resort decided to keep the restaurant going into 2023 and beyond.
The dining room is intimately lit, with striking chandeliers overhead and eye-level candles warming the space.
Efrain is our server for the evening, and greets us with a glass of brut. I also order the Southern Affair cocktail, with bourbon, prickly pear and mint; Chris orders a margarita. The restaurant’s wine list is impressive, as well, with options ranging from our own Napa Valley to the finest wine regions of France.
We pour over the menu, which is concise, yet varied enough to please most palates. French classics like steak frites and the Bouillabaisse are among Village Bistro’s more popular items.
Feeling bold, I order the steak tartare–a rare venture into raw red meat. Sensing my hesitation, Efrain assures us that the dish is quite mild and tasty—served with crisped hashbrown-style potato rounds and a small side salad. The steak is served with cornichons and shallots, coated in a creamy Dijon vinaigrette—to my pleasant surprise, this turns out to be one of the favorites of the night.
We also sample the Salade Maison with marinated goat cheese as our second starter—its greens and edible flowers are all grown onsite. Dressed in the same Dijon vinaigrette as the tartare, this verdant dish brightens up the palate nicely—an ideal set up for the main courses.
The restaurant staff is attentive and generous, making us feel welcome and comfortable throughout our visit. Portions are generous, and the presentation of each dish is consistently eye-catching.
Food and Beverage Manager Marina Villalpando presents us with a pain au levain loaf, fresh and warm, paired with imported French butter that arrived just that morning. (It pairs exceptionally well with the tartare.)
We share the Parisian Gnocchi—light and slightly crisped on the outside, paired with roasted vegetables, spring peas and pea tendrils. The presentation is delicate, colorful, balanced and beautiful. The pillowy potato pasta is livened by a slightly sweet spring onion puree—satisfying but not heavy at all.
For dessert, we take home a chocolate lava cake, which survives the journey still decadent and delicious, and the perfect conclusion to the meal.
We leave the restaurant satisfied and anxious to return soon. The Village Bistro is clearly making an impact as the newest addition to the culinary offerings of the Grand Reserve at the Meritage in Napa. For a taste of France, one need not go beyond the Napa Valley vineyards after all.
The Village Bistro
The Grand Reserve at the Meritage 850 Bordeaux Way Suite 5, Napa