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“Bucket List”
Review of The French Laundry

The French Laundry
Ranked #4 of 29 Restaurants in Yountville
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$50 - US$240
Cuisines: American, French
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special Occasion Dining, Romantic
Dining options: After-hours, Dinner, Lunch, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: Creek Street
luv2trvl247
Level Contributor
18 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Bucket List”
Reviewed 2 August 2014

An absolutely amazing experience from start to finish. The property was magical.The staff were kind and funny and attentive, the wine was incredible, our table quaint and cozy, every morsel of food was divine. You have to do this at least once in your life. We dined in early July in honor of our 20th wedding anniversary. We paid in advance for he Gold package gift experience which included champagne to start, then wine chosen by the semalier and paired with each of our 14 courses.We arrived a little early for our second seating meal (we wanted the first seating but it worked our perfectly in the end because we closed the restaurant and got to back to the kitchen and meet the head chef). First we walked the French laundry garden across the street and said hello to the goats.
Then after checking in, we sat in the courtyard and relaxed until we were called to our table. We chose two upgrades, the Truffle dish and the Kobe. Don't hesitate. Just do it. You've come this far. You won't regret it. second to last wine was a 20 year old Cabernet bottled the year we were married. And the best part... because I had pre-paid, we received no shocking bill at the end. We just said our thank yous and good byes and our driver took us back to our resort.
Absolutely magical. Best way to spend our last night in wine country.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank luv2trvl247
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,333 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Palo Alto, California
Level Contributor
90 reviews
47 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“A great meal but not for everyone”
Reviewed 1 August 2014

I have eaten at the FL several times and have never been disappointed. The food is creative featuring a panoply of flavors and styles. However one is restricted to one of two tasting menus. Both the food and the wine list are expensive and the atmosphere is rather formal but the wait staff is knowledgeable and helpful. Service is professional (no "how's the food tasing" or "hello, my name is Joe and I'll be your server tonight etc) but not obtrusive. Because the wine list is extensive, mostly French and California, and pricey, I have used the sommelier to provide advice. Each time he has known the wines well and made great recommendations within the price range I specified. Definitely give them a price range to work with. On my last meal some highlights were a melon gazpacho, a lovely seasoned Wagyu beef from Japan, and an intense fruit sorbet inside a thin chocolate shell. The only restaurant in the US that I like more is Le Bernadin in New York City. If you are intimidated by a degree of formality or don't feel relaxed in such a setting, this is not for you.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Richard M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
218 reviews
110 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 134 helpful votes
“Disappointing”
Reviewed 1 August 2014

Sorry but I cannot share the views of the most recent posters.

Let me start by saying that we did, during the course of our trip, visit Bouchon, Madera, La Toque, Restaurant at Meadowood and French Laundry, all in the span of a few days, so I have a pretty good idea of where there restaurants sit relative to each other.

There is no denying that French Laundry has great food. I would say it was the best of all the restaurants and they had some real stunning and memorable dishes. The only thing is that this is the only place where we had a tasting menu where I felt it was too much, bordering on pretentious. Way too many dessert dishes...seemed like the just had too many ideas in their head and had to get them out but unlike Restaurant at Meadowood, seemed unbalanced and not enough savoury dishes.

Service standard is where I was most disappointed. I was at a late sitting and almost every table was late. Seemed to me that they just didn't have their timing right or overbooked that night. It was a hot summer night and the restaurant was crowded.

I didn't feel the service was personalized. Kinda robotic and the emphasis on precision took precedent to plain friendliness. Almost like their were on a clock since they were behind and any questions or comments got them away from their timeline. People were nice but not 3 star Michelin nice. Not even close. Other thing is the uneven service standard. I think some tables had an excellent experience...the point is that every table must be made to feel special.

Sommeiler was pompous. Stereotypical high end restaurant snobbery. Really not friendly at all and gave you the impression it was your honor to be there.

After eating in the other restaurants, feels like this restaurant is getting stale and resting on its past a bit. Menu is essentially the same as years ago. If it is on your bucket list, then go but this is not the best restaurant in Napa. I would pick Restaurant at Meadowood for the overall experience. This is a restaurant on the decline, using old techniques and old service standards while Restaurant at Meadowood is going the opposite direction...innovative, exciting, vibrant.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
6 Thank Worldtravelorplus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kansas City, Missouri
Level Contributor
9 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“The French Laundry was on POINT!”
Reviewed 31 July 2014

Most expensive meal I have ever paid for... AND COMPLETELY WORTH EVERY PENNY! We went as an anniversary celebration for friends celebrating 20 years just like The French Laundry. We had reservations at 9:15pm and arrived a bit early to make sure we didn't miss out. We were seated at 9:35pm due to other tables still enjoying their meal and to make it up to us for getting us in late we were offered (and accepted) a bottle of sparkling wine. It was delish! While there were a few items on the menu that I normally would turn my nose up at (Veal) I ate every bite willingly and enjoyed it all. I love that every plate was the perfect portion and mixture to tantalize you taste-buds. It was like a symphony in my mouth. Every ingredient playing its part to come together in the most harmonious way. It was even a better treat to see Chef Keller there in person. Our party about squealed like a school girl. :)

Would I eat there again? Absolutely. I would make sure to save up for the pricey meal now so that I can enjoy some of the supplements and additional wine.

$295 was the tasting that evening and it says it includes service but you can always leave more for exceptional service.

It was an experience I will never forget.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Sabi5150
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
213 reviews
138 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
“It sets the bar”
Reviewed 30 July 2014

When we recently had a conference in the States, we decided to book a side trip to the Napa Valley just to dine at French Laundry. Three years prior, under similar circumstances we had the best meal ever at PerSe, so there were already high expectations.
Imagine our disappointment then, when we missed out on a table, despite changing our itinerary in the hope of increasing our chances of getting a table. Then there was great excitement when 2 months later, while driving to the airport we got the call - a cancellation, and we were in!
The setting is divine - the vegetable garden, well that's an understatement, across the road is impressive. The room was romantic and intimate. The service could not be flawed.
And then the food started arriving.... Mr Keller does not just feed you, he delights and entertains. Sure you know the description of what is coming, but what arrives defies your expectations. We both had the Chefs Tasting menu, without the extras. With the aid of our waiter/sommelier we had 2 lovely half bottles of wine (a great option when there is only two of you).
Each course was divine, and then at the end - the desserts are just fun.
It wasn't a cheap night, but if you can afford it, have something to celebrate, want to experience something special - it is worth it. Certainly worth travelling half way around the world for, and I am sure we were not the only ones.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank LeethalLeeM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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