In 2003 and 2004, Europe-based Restaurant Magazine revealed the 50 Best Restaurants in the World, chosen by an international panel of more than 300 hard-to-please restaurateurs, chefs and critics. The winner of the coveted number one spot was The French Laundry in California, famed for combining exceptional ingredients and wonderful surroundings with a fanatical attention to detail.
In 2005 the French Laundry was listed at # 3 best restaurant in the World. The New York Times, Ruth Reichl called it "the most exciting place to eat in the United States".
"Is it possible that the best French restaurant is not in France?" asks the critic from Le Monde. Well, it certainly appears so. Thomas Keller holds the top position for the second year running with his Napa Valley take on a three-star French country restaurant.
The first best French Chef rank #6 in the World and that title go to Pierre Gagnaire in Paris, trailing 3 notches behind the French Laundry!
The French screamed "Sacrilege!" How can an American Chef beats a French Chef at their own turf? Perhaps his attention to details, anyhow Keller did it!
Here we are in the court yard. The restaurant is very unpretentious and tucked away. You will miss it easily, we drove pass it twice and did not see the sign (it was barely visible). The Restaurant was built in 1890's as a French steam laundry. The restaurant is pretty small with only 17 tables and one private room (we got the private room). The restaurant is a rustic two-story stone house surrounded by lush country gardens, a country garden planted with vintage roses, perennials and seasonal herbs.
This is the entrance of the restaurant. The entrance is situated in the back of the restaurant. To get in the restaurant you have to cross the court yard and the garden. The entrance is a single door, it reminded me of a small country inn in France.
The kitchen is in the back, visible through big glass windows. I saw Keller working in the kitchen.
This is the only private room, which you can book one year in advance. The regular tables can be reserved 2 months in advance.
Maily and Tuan
Phuong and Dung the organizers. Thanks to Phuong's persistence, she was able to get through the phone (always busy) and booked the private room for us.
I heard the restaurant get 400 calls everyday. Reservation are taken from 10:00a.m. to 5:30 a.m. Just for the fun of it, there is 450 minutes open for reservations, which means they get just under 1 phone call a minute! Wow!
Now you know your odd...Good luck getting a reservation.
Huyen and Phuc - Happy as can be!
Hoa and I
Duy and Thuy
Tuan and Hanh
Look and this bouquet with the tulips!
You will need to reference it again on my last page. Just take a good look.
It was a good thing we had the private room because we laugh, told jokes, had lively conversations and above all we were pretty noisy!
In contrast, when we walked out of our private room, all you could hear were whispers from the main dinning room, which is full of customers.
As you can see this room really fits only 12 people . Hanh and I are against the wall, which make it a little for difficult for our server to get around.