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“Check one off the bucket list!”
Review of The French Laundry

The French Laundry
Ranked #3 of 29 Restaurants in Yountville
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $50 - $240
Cuisines: American, French
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Dinner, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: Creek Street
Level 6 Contributor
142 reviews
69 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 126 helpful votes
“Check one off the bucket list!”
Reviewed March 3, 2014

First of all, anyone who complains about the cost has no business being there in the first place. It is what it is. Look it up before you go. It's in line with all of the Michelin 3 star restaurants we have been to in Europe.

Not having an option to go a la carte is a little strange. I would have ordered the tasting menu anyway. I just thought it might be nice to go back some day and have a single entry of my choosing.

The food and it's presentation were flawless. I opted for the risotto and the Wagu beef. My wife did not and we shared. More tasting!

The service was flawless. Attentive but not obtrusive. Friendly and engaging but not overly so.

The ambiance is lacking. No Michelin 1, 2, or 3 star restaurant in Europe where I have eaten has the tables so close to one another. The single bathroom on the second floor was odd.

I am glad we went and we loved every minute, including a tour of the kitchen. It seems a little odd to me that similar restaurants in Europe, eg. Da Vittorio outside of Milan, are more spacious and look a little less dated.

Visited February 2014
3 Thank TucsonTim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,347 reviews from our community

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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
Los Angeles, California
Level 5 Contributor
67 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Absolutely perfect!”
Reviewed February 28, 2014

I was beyond excited to dine at The French Laundry on our most recent Napa trip and fortunately, the meal and the experience absolutely delivered! Everything - from the service to the presentation to the food - was impeccable. We were celebrating our engagement here, which had happened just a few hours prior, and the staff was so congratulatory and excited for us, which was a nice touch. I loved that the experience felt formal and elegant and special, while also being welcoming and unpretentious - you felt like you were dining at the home of a good friend.

Highlights of the meal include the truffle risotto (it is worth the additional supplement!) and the lobster dish. The "coffee and donuts" were also incredible, and I loved that they sent us off with our own tin of shortbread cookies (perfect with coffee the next morning).

I know I already mentioned the top notch service, but they went above and beyond by giving us a complimentary ride back to our hotel after the meal! We had a late seating and finished up close to midnight. The car service that we had used to get there was closed, and we couldn't get a cab back to the hotel, which was only a little over a mile away (there was no way that walk was happening in my high heels). The manager had one of the staff members drop us off at the hotel in his own car. So unexpected but incredibly helpful and appreciated!

It was expensive but one of the best meals and dining experiences I've ever had.

  • Visited February 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank travelgirl53015
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level 6 Contributor
147 reviews
98 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
“Excellent food, but lacking in service”
Reviewed February 23, 2014

My first trip to The French Laundry was about 6 years ago, and I can still remember being so impressed by both the food and level of service that the evening entailed. However, my most recent trip definitely lacked the latter.

It was a Sunday night in December and I don't know if that contributes to the level of service or not. Maybe on a Friday or Saturday night in-season you will have better luck, I don't know.

What I do know is that shortly after sitting down, I was given the impression that the staff was in a hurry to clear my table. Everything felt rushed and, as a result, the meal was not enjoyable.

Firstly, don't expect a cocktail, the restaurant does not have a bar and, as such, cannot prepare cocktails. No worries, I went with the flow and opted to instead choose a bottle of wine to enjoy before our meal and with the first few courses. During this time we made our menu selection while waiting for the sommelier to come over and discuss our wine choices. When he arrived, I discussed our choices in relation to the menu and selected a white burgundy to pair with the first few courses.

So far, so good. The sommelier was excellent and the wine list extensive. But then, our first course arrived unceremoniously - set before us without any of the theatre that I remember from my first visit (where a set of waiter arrived in unison and laid out all of our dishes at the same moment where the all faced the proper directions). Our first course had arrived before our wine reached the table. We were sitting there staring our the beginning of our meal and have nothing to drink but water. I've never experienced this at any restaurant, much less one as high end as The French Laundry.

When our wine arrived, the sommelier looked unhappy. As it turns out the wine was past its prime and not really drinkable. The sommelier told me this, and I appreciate that, because I always have a hard time turning back a bottle of wine which is not clearly corked. The sommelier suggested a substitute and he was off to collect it. Meanwhile our first course sat in from of us, forlornly staring back from the table.

From there it got a bit better. The wine arrived and we enjoyed the delicious menu. Flavorful and rich, a wonderful melange of aromas and tastes. I have only the best praise for the food, it does not disappoint, and it has not suffered the same downturn as the service.

The remainder of the meal progress mostly uneventful, though my husband made it very clear that the red meat course was under no circumstances to arrive before we had finished our white wine and the red wine had reached the table. This seemed to have irritated our server whose "Are you ready to move on, now?" Comment on seeing our wine completed was just a tiny bit passive-aggressive. This was not out of character after he'd just dumped the remainder of the white bottle into my glass without even bothering to pour any into my husbands glass. Just another "Are you still here?" moment we experienced.

After the meal ended, our server came over to inquire about dessert. His choice of words was interesting. Rather than "Would you like to see the desert menu?" he asked "You look full, do you want us to pack you up some cookies and chocolates to go?" My husband thought that it was a nice gesture, but I saw it as just another move to get our table cleared as soon as possible. On that note, we finished up and left. I don't know if they let the chairs cool down before showing in the next party, but it doesn't really matter. For the price tag associated with The French Laundry, I do not ever want to feel like I'm inconveniencing the staff my sitting there. I'm sorry, it's simply not acceptable.

  • Visited December 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
8 Thank jpmnyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Greenwich, Connecticut
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Only giving it a three stars because of the name!”
Reviewed February 22, 2014

Had business with my husband last week in San Francisco so stole 2 extra days and went to Napa. My husband had always wanted to try FL, I had been once and once was enough, was not overly impressed almost 7 years ago.
So we got a reservation through concierge at Auberge (thank you, great service) and went. It is pretty enough, charming, the service feels stuffy overbearing and pretentious. It wasn't comfortable if you get what I am saying. Now I am not a gourmet cook but am a very good cook, and in fact even worked doing some catering for a local farm to table company for a while....had a few specialties up my sleeve. I can honestly say the food was adequate but not one thing was amazing. We both desperately wanted to be wowed and were not in any one of the courses. I so badly wanted to love something but to us it fell flat. We did the wine pairings and some of the wines were really great, but then again we were in Napa!
Service was attentive but almost too much at times.
I am sorry as I realize many will disagree but this place is way way overhyped. I think it gets the accolades it does ONLY because of the name. I do not really think people go there and are so amazed at the food. I have eaten at fine restaurants all over the world and can think of at least 20 meals that were way better than this one and for a mere fraction of the price. Don't waste your money. Totally overblown.

  • Visited February 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
3 Thank kayfromct
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
Level 6 Contributor
164 reviews
112 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed February 21, 2014

Our original reservation was for 8:30, but in the process of confirming it we got an earlier seating. That was fortunate because the dining experience for us was a three hour event. We were seated next to the fireplace and were immediately greeted and made to feel comfortable. The menu and the options were explained in detail. Wine pairings were explained to my wife and arrangements were made for nonalcoholic drinks for me. As each of the dishes was served an explanation was again given. The service was flawless. As soon as we finished a dish the plate was wisked away, but we never felt hurried. Best dish was the risotto with black truffles. As soon as the humidor was opened the pungent smell of the truffles filled the table. Our server used a grater to slice a generous portion of black truffle onto the risotto. A truly exceptional dish. It seemed that the deserts just kept coming. We were celebrating a special event and the staff did their best to make sure the meal was as memorable.

  • Visited February 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Robert T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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