We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Shining climax to a GREAT Vacation.”
Review of The French Laundry

The French Laundry
Ranked #5 of 31 Restaurants in Yountville
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $50 - $240
Cuisines: American, French
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Lunch, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: Creek Street
Reviewed April 9, 2013

As I have stated in other reviews, this visit to The French Laundry, was the climax to a wonderful 32nd anniversary getaway for my wife and myself. We had been looking forward to this meal for over two months. The restaurant will only except reservations two months, to the day, in advance. We began our week in Monterey and finished up in the beautiful Napa Valley. Our sons decided to grant one of our "Bucket List" wishes and presented us with a Gold gift certificate to the restaurant. They have three types of cards available, Silver ($750), Gold ($1500) and Black ($2500). The meal was supposed to be a nine course tasting menu with wine pairing , but because it was our anniversary, the staff opted for an eleven course feast. The portions are small and the plate are very large, but believe me when I tell you...we couldn't get past the ninth dish. Everything was so well presented and so rich that we had to take a stroll, afterwards, to work some of it off. If you have ever watched Iron Chef, on the Food Network, I don't envy the judges. This has to be some of the best food with the most attentive staff that I have EVER seen. The service is almost like a ballet. Plates were changed and wine was poured without the slightest interruption to our conversation. Yes, it is very expensive, but if you only experience it once in your life, it's something you'll always remember. They even gave us our personalized menus and a "goody bag" as we were leaving. I now understand why it has been voted the "Best Restaurant" in the country.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
2  Thank Allan H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (1,514)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language
  • More languages

986 - 990 of 1,514 reviews

Reviewed April 8, 2013

I wrote about my first experience which was fair. I frankly felt it was super over hyped, some of the food was good, but it was indeed way more about the "experience" of saying I ate at FL. So when we had to go to San Francisco for a three day conference, we decided to take a side excursion and go back ( a small group).

I truly tried to go as if or the first time with an eager and open mind.but again it underwhelmed. Nothing about it was the sublime experience many say it is. Of the 5 of us that were there, 4 felt the same, 1 really really enjoyed every part of it. To me, yes its one of those things you want to cross off your bucket list and if for not that reason alone...go do it. But to say its going to be a life changing meal.....I have had dozens better, sorry but thats a fact.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank fabfinds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2013

The food was outstanding! The service was flawless! The hostess was very friendly and extremely accommodating. The waitstaff & Sommelier were perfectly in sync with one another. We never felt rushed nor did the evening feel contribed, quite the contrary, the waitstaff took pic's for us, were humourous at the appropriate times and we never felt like a number.

The service in itself was 'stellar" (I was skeptical about how that would play out during the evening) it could not have been better! We most certainly plan on returning.

The food, I am honestly at a loss for words, simply "undescribable" ....words do not do it justice, as far as i am concerned it surpasses anything I had imagined. I knew it would obviously be great, had no idea it would be that "amazing"...it was that & more. It exposed me to a new world of caviar, their caviar was to die for!!! The quail was incredibly tasty & moist (wish i had more) the beef was outstanding.

As the evening went on....it only got better & better...what a night!

I recommend the wine pairing ....their are "so many" great wines to choose from, adding the wine truly enhanced our dinning experince.

Benjamin took care of our table, he was top notch! He handled our kitchen tour as well as having chef keller sign our books. Chef keller was very accommodating as he allowed our party to take pic's with him.

The kitchen has a very peaceful zen feel, it was not what I expected. It was incredibly calming not to mention you can barely hear them talk amongst each other. Very tranquil back kitchen that's for sure. It's remarkable how Chef Keller & Chef Hollingsworth work under such serenity.

This is one business that is "NOT" overrated ....it nails the restaurant business model for great nothing short of pure success. By the way ad hoc is a must!

Kudo's to Chef Keller, Chef Hollingsworth & ALL of their waitstaff ....they truly have their hands on true greatness!

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank billionsandnocure
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 29, 2013

Given the reputation and the price, I arrived ready to be underwhelmed. I'm pleased to say it was more than I could have expected. The service was top drawer and every mouthful of every course savoured. I wouldn't do this every day, but it was definitely worth it this onces.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank tomnpatti
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 20, 2013

Despite the fact that the restaurant is in small cute stone house, instead of being very cosy, the place is crowded and with no atmosphere! Avoid the upper floor.

There are 2 menus, 1 is vegetarian so we had the regular menu of 9 courses at US$270@. We asked for wine-pairing which they said they don’t offer, but instead will tailor-make according to each person’s preference and budget…. so we just ended up picking 5 wines (all by-the-glass US$20-40@). Keep in mind that the 9-course dinner is a TASTING menu so the portions are all bite sizes. We very much LIKE: the poach lobster, the beef sirloin, bread from Bouchon.

When it comes to serving a dish with aged balsamic, it was a very serious and formal “presentation” of the balsamic….. a waiter with white gloves presented the bottle of 100-year old balsamic vinegar to us and very carefully dotted ONE tiny drop (size of a small green pea) on our plate!!! We had no idea how this tiny drop can be mixed well with our plate of vegetables, and we had to scrape it off the plate to get a taste! Wish they had served the 50-year old and given us 2+ drops instead!

The service is professional but not particularly warm and attentive. We unfortunately were seated next to a couple who know the Restaurant Manager and so were treated especially well and were also offered at least 3 extra complimentary dishes which are not in the menu (which makes us feel even less special). They even get to visit the Chef, Thomas Keller, in the kitchen! Towards the end of dinner, when we and another table asked to meet the Chef, we were sadly told he is gone! Big disappointment once again especially since we just forked out almost US$800 for dinner for 2 (including wine for one).

Our dinner started at 9pm and lasted 3 hours which was shorter than what we have expected. I can see that other guests who came in much later than us are all finishing at about the same time – I guess the kitchen is rushing out food so they can close on time.

Overall….. A disappointment. It was a good meal, though not particularly amazing, and certainly not worth the price. Nice to have gone once, but unlikely will return.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
5  Thank Trendspott
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed The French Laundry also viewed

Yountville, Napa Valley
Yountville, Napa Valley
 
Yountville, Napa Valley
 

Been to The French Laundry? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing