Stories / Awards, Guides and Tips

A Nominee's Guide to the Best Napa Valley Bites

Outstanding Chef Contender Christopher Kostow's Top Spots

Maggie Borden

April 17, 2018


James Beard Outstanding Chef Award Nominee Christopher Kostow of the Restaurant at Meadowood
Photo: Kelly Puleio, courtesy of the Restaurant at Meadowood

Between magazines, websites, and your friend of a friend who knows everything about the latest restaurant you just have try, it can be hard to distinguish a first-rate recommendation from the bottom of the barrel. That’s why we went straight to the source: this year’s nominees for the James Beard Outstanding Chef Award, a group of celebrated tastemakers you know you can trust. Below, Christopher Kostow of Napa Valley luminary The Restaurant at Meadowood shares his can't-miss spots for date night in San Francisco, craveable carne asada, and more.

Date Night

Dinner and drinks in San Francisco. There’s so much happening in the Bay Area right now, it’s always fun to try new restaurants. The next one on my list is James Syhabout’s CDP. I’d also love to get back to Benu in the near future.

Cheap Eats

Villa Corona: it’s locally owned by a wonderful couple, and I really enjoy the plato de carne asada.


English muffin breakfast sandwiches and Stumptown Coffee at Model Bakery.


I love sitting at the bar at the Charter Oak. We have an impressive cocktail program and I can watch our amazing team at work.


Tartine Manufactory: not only is the food simple and delicious, but the space is gorgeous and serves as a great meeting spot in the city.

Bonus Round: Favorite U.S. Food City to Visit

There is delicious food happening everywhere right now, so it’s hard to pick one. I recently visited New York and had a mind-blowing experience at Uchu where chef Ichimura prepared an amazing omakase menu at the sushi bar. In Portland Earl Ninsom is cooking super authentic and interesting Thai cuisine at his restaurants Langbaan, PaaDee and Ha Yai. And Karen and John Shields are always pushing the food scene at Smyth in Chicago.