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“A Diners Destiny” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The French Laundry

The French Laundry
6640 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599
707 944-2380
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Ranked #3 of 23 Restaurants in Yountville
Price range: $50 - $240
Cuisines: French, American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Lunch, Outdoor Seating, Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: Creek Street
Level Contributor
365 reviews
195 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 150 helpful votes
“A Diners Destiny”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2013

It took 3 years of calling 60 days before my arrivals in St Helena to visit family (several times a year) and being put on a "wait list", before I was finally called back last week with 72 hours notice. The experience is extraordinary once you get by the reservations roadblock.

Our waiter was highly professional, friendly and very helpful with wine suggestions. The champagne (Gaston Cliquet) and red (Cobb Pinot Noir) are new favorites, not so much for the (nameless) Italian white that was too oaky.

The 9-course chefs tasting menu was full of delights and a few disappointments - due more to personal preference vs. skills in the kitchen. I must call out the care in providing comfortable chairs which are so important when one is going to be seated for nearly 3 hours of palate pleasing entertainment.

Several writers have mentioned kitchen tours, and take home chocolates - we were offered neither, but we did not ask. Once outside we did peer through the kitchen windows watching the show go on, not wanting the evening to end.

Visited March 2013
1 Thank pucgal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,021 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Service, Impeccable. Food, 8.5. Value, Not so much. Experience, ABSOLUTELY.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2013

The French Laundry is one of those places that you SHOULD try at least once if you ever find yourself in Napa. The food was VERY good...but...I have had better. The service however...was SIMPLY the BEST. The staff was like a team of ninjas when they cleared plates it was seriously a stealth operation - within 3 seconds ALL the empty plates would be removed by a team of stealth ninja waiters. Not nearly as pretentious as I thought. Usually there is a certain level of 'stuffiness' that comes along with these super fine dining 3 Michelin Star establishments...but not at this place. I felt very at ease. (could have been the private room and the effect of wine tasting all day who knows :-). Our bill was 8k for 10 of us. A bit outrageous but we did order the best of the best. I guess the real question is - Was it worth it? Sadly the answer is Yes. I say sadly because 8k goes a long way and there are much better things to be done with 8000 dollars...but...you only live once.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
2 Thank MagicAntonio44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
263 reviews
181 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 110 helpful votes
“Great Food, Outrageous Cost”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2013

We have tried to get into this restaurant for the past decade, finally succeeding this past weekend. The meal, at $270 per person without wine, is at the higher end of any restaurant we have been to, and we have eaten at the Fat Duck and Steiereck, among others. The food, nine courses, was good but not outstanding. The first course of oysters and caviar was excellent. The ahi tuna dish was a bit less successful, as it was slightly overcooked to my taste. Service was impeccable.

We brought our own wine, choosing to pay a $75 corkage in order to drink a mature red.

All-in-all, a place worth going to, but only once for us. Manresa in Los Gatos was better at half the price. It was relatively noisy, so being able to converse without leaning in was difficult.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
2 Thank Gailyn63
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
68 reviews
37 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Special restaurant for that special occasion”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2013 via mobile

Wow. Pretty much sums it up. Incredible food and service, and unassuming and unpretentious at the same time. You don't have to be a foodie to enjoy the experience of The French Laundry. A few other potential tips: we came for lunch. It is the same 9 course tasting menu they serve for dinner, but it is prob easier to get a lunch reservation. Plan on spending about 4 hours for the service. If you are concerned about 9 courses, right sized and spread over 4 hours you will not be hungry when you leave, but you are not going to be over stuffed either, they know what they are doing. We made reservations 2 months to the day we wanted to go, it does not always take 6 months. I heard from someone that it is harder to get reservations for 2 (I can't confirm that) so grab a few friends and enjoy the experience as a group. You should put The French Laundry on your bucket list. We had a very memorable 50th wedding anniversary for my in-laws. Thank you French Laundry for making it so memorable!

1 Thank cac258
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Jose, CA
Level Contributor
21 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Most courses were not memorable.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2013

I wanted to love this experience; I had waited so long, and I have read ALL the books. Thomas Keller was my hero. I sous vide at home. But I’ve got to ask: What happened to the Emperor’s clothes?

The Short Story: Nine small courses; some wonderful, others not worth finishing. Most courses were of a very traditional/Continental style with few surprises. Most wine recommendations were unpardonably askew of our requests and defy my best attempts at coming to a charitable explanation. Service was generally very attentive, but our primary server was pretty snarky. Upon later review of our commemorative menu, we realized that one entire course near the end was omitted. (!) Be sure to save room for the desserts- especially the off-menu “Cappuccino,” candies and other delights at the very end. $1400 for two including wine, supplements and tip. My rating is based only on quality / palatability of the food, wine and service we received, it does not consider price.

More Details: Wine is offered by the bottle, half-bottle and some by the glass. I highly recommend going by the glass so you can try a taste before you commit. The wait staff will make recommendations based on what types of wines you tell them you like. But be warned! We asked for recommendations for half-bottles of white wine to pair with the early courses – we specified that we really liked crisp, dry white in the Chablis style (either domestic or international) with very little oak. Our waiter “knew just what we wanted” but opened cloyingly sweet (the OPPOSITE of dry) wines or some of the oakiest whites I have ever had. (Seriously: They even brought us an oaky Meursault! An oaky Sauvignon Blanc!) We have never had this experience in the HUNDREDS of times we have asked waiters and sommeliers to assist us with pairing their wines to their menu. And guess what: Once those bottles are opened – you’ve paid for them! Even though we followed THEIR recommendation, there was never an offer to bring us even half a glass of something we preferred. So be safe and go by the glass!!!

Regarding attitude: Most restaurants, even the other Michelin-starred restaurants we frequent, convey with some sincerity that they are happy to see you. At the French Laundry they transmit that you are lucky to be there.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
3 Thank Gigi_Napoleon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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