Best Cheap Eats: Fast-Casual Eateries in Napa Valley

The Napa Valley isn’t only about Michelin stars and white tablecloths. It’s also about thick, juicy burritos, sweet and spicy barbecue, or custom-made wraps – preferably washed down with a nice merlot or an artisanal brew! The next time you feel like grabbing a quick and casual bite, head to one of these local favorites.

Custom Falafel Bowl – Heritage Eats

Heritage Eats, Napa. This is such a great concept. An international range of flavors – like Jamaican, Vietnamese, Thai, Indian, Mexican, or Middle Eastern – that you can customize as a wrap, salad, or bowl. So if you want to have your chicken tikka masala in a steamed bao bun, or your braised pork taco on Dutch crunch, you can. They also feature house-made Thai Iced Tea, Horchata, Hibiscus Tea, Vietnamese Iced Coffee and boba (pictured above)! Indoor and outdoor seating.

Protea, Yountville. A new and colorful addition to the Yountville dining scene, featuring a daily changing menu of Caribbean-inspired global cuisine. You might find tacos, quesadillas, Chicago-style hot-dogs, even ramen. Really good wines by the glass, too.

La Luna Market & Taqueria, Rutherford. You know the food at this Mexican market is authentic because it fills up with all the local workers from Mexico at lunchtime. Find the butcher counter at the back, where you can order terrific burritos, tacos, quesadillas, nachos, and specials.

Cafe at Farmstead

Café at Farmstead, St. Helena. This charming spot in the garden outside of Farmstead Restaurant serves simple breakfast and lunch menus, including panini and several salads. And don’t forget the soft-serve ice cream for dessert!

Azteca Market, Napa and St. Helena. Another great Mexican taqueria, with an eating area outside. Massive and delicious burritos, tacos, and quesadillas, as well as a small selection of groceries at reasonable prices.

Bruschetteria

Bruschetteria at Clif Family Winery, St. Helena. You can find the green Bruschetteria food truck parked adjacent to the winery six days a week, featuring an ever-changing menu of bruschetta, porchetta, rotisserie chicken, salads, and seasonal sides.

La Prima Pizza, St. Helena and Calistoga. Come here for a wide range of traditional pizzas, piadine, pastas, grilled items, salads, and sandwiches. They also offer take-and-bake for a discounted rate.

Buster’s Original Southern Barbecue, Calistoga. Before you even arrive at Buster’s, right on Hwy. 29, you can smell why it’s been a Napa Valley favorite for years. There’s tri-tip, pulled pork, racks of ribs (beef or pork), chicken, and hot links, as well as such favorite sides as baked beans, cole slaw, and all kinds of salads. Plus there’s a pleasant outdoor patio – you won’t even get back to your car before you’ll want to eat.

Kirsten Mickelwait is a St. Helena-based writer who has lived and raised her family in the Napa Valley for nearly 20 years.

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