If you plan on making the rounds at the wineries — most people visit three to five in a day — then you definitely need fuel to keep you going and to ensure you remember the experience. Beyond the red juice, wine country is known the world over for its fine produce and ethical approach to meats, so every meal here can be superb, regardless of budget or what AVA you’re in.
Without further adieu, here are our top picks for breakfast and brunch in Wine Country.
Boon Fly Cafe
Located at Carneros Resort and Spa, this restaurant gets its peculiar name from an early settler in the area who planted orchards and vineyards in the region around the mid-1800s. An homage to Boon Fly, here you’ll find an assortment of dishes that show off all kinds of local flavors. Get the famous donuts, but don’t skimp on breakfast flatbread. Our favorite is the Ohlone smoked salmon with fromage blanc, red onion, parmesan and lemon crème fraiche — add the capers. Brunch hours are 7am to 4pm daily. boonflycafe.com
Opened in 1992, this spot is revered for its hand-roasted coffee, tasty and fuss-free menu, and laid back vibe. The breakfast sandwich comes on an english muffin with egg, cheese and your choice of ham, sausage, bacon, or avocado, and makes for the perfect on-the-go bite. If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, check out the selection of scones and other house-made pastries. Hours are 6:30am to 12pm daily. calistogaroastery.com
Among the treasured hand-held meals on this planet, when done right, biscuit sandwiches are hard to top. Over at Contimo there are five of them on the menu, with nearly everything in them made in-house. For a savory-sweet flavor explosion, opt for the ham and jam with smoked-molasses-brined ham and seasonal homemade jam, or keep it simple with the just jam. There’s no bad choices to be made here. Open for takeout from 8am to 3pm, Tuesday through Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday. contimonapa.com
A beloved Wine Country mainstay, the Model Bakery also has locations in Napa and Yountville, but St. Helena restaurant boasts original brick ovens from the 1920’s that are still used to bake goods. A definite “line spot” — it moves fast — the English muffins and morning buns are flawless, but it’s the breakfast sandwich that has captured the attention of millions, thanks to landing on Oprah’s Favorite Things list. Hours are Sunday through Thursday from 6:30am to 3pm, and 6:30am to 4pm on Friday and Saturday. themodelbakery.com
A historic landmark located on Sonoma’s main plaza, there’s a one-of-a-kind atmosphere at Sunflower Caffe. Like many other restaurants in the area, it serves a menu of local, seasonal food, including salt from the San Francisco Bay and milk from cows grazing in the Sonoma County pastures. But with the lively decor and always-friendly staff, this place is fail safe. Duck aficionados: the smoked duck sandwich with melted gruyere and balsamic onion jam is a bucket list item. Hours are Thursday through Monday from 8am to 3pm. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday. sonomasunflower.com