The Charter Oak Restaurant

4.5
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606 Reviews
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$31 to $50
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Contemporary American

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About

The Charter Oak is a new restaurant in the heart of the Napa Valley, by Chef Christopher Kostow of the Michelin-three starred Restaurant at Meadowood. The Charter Oak is centered on a celebratory, family-style dining experience, with simple, approachable, and seasonal food – grilled meats, beautiful vegetables from our farm, local wines and unparalleled cocktails. The menu reflects the products of the Napa Valley and surrounding Bay Area with an elemental cooking style, hearth at the center, highlighting one or two ingredients at a time.
What 606 people are sayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.5based on all time ratings
4.5
food
4.4
service
4.6
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
82% of people would recommend it to a friend
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EG
EricG
San Francisco
15 reviews
Reviewed on June 3, 2019
Overall3foodserviceambience

In the past, we have thoroughly enjoyed Charter Oak, but this time, we found the food to be too oily and just not up to the level it has been before. Granted, the place was packed with patrons and the kitchen was likely slammed, but this is Napa Valley, and these sorts of things can't affect restaurant's product. We will return … hopefully, this was an isolated incident.

j
vipjdeg
New York Area
1 review
Dined on November 20, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fantastic atmosphere that manages to be both kid-friendly and great for adults night out. Drinks were interesting and well balanced, but the food is the star of the show. Delicious local ingredients with excellent execution. Still dreaming about the roasted broccoli salad.

JK
vipJeanK
San Francisco
621 reviews
Dined on October 24, 2018
Overall2food2service3ambience3

"...our idea is to treat food as simply as possible," was the waiter's spiel. Yes, the food is fairly simple. It's also heavy-handed, stolid, overwrought, and greasy/fatty. Portions are huge and sloppy; Intagrammable but not very digestible. Dessert service is a pretentious time-wasting cart: the poor guy was working hard but it's not an efficient system. The malted chocolate pudding was tooth-achingly sweet yet also loaded with salt; it needed crushed brittle like Newcastle needs more coal. Getting coffee was like pulling teeth; our waiter simply forgot all about it so the cart guy was kind enough to order it for us. When it came, we found it served in Japanese teacups, e.g.; NO HANDLES. I always love drinking super-hot liquid in cups that burn my fingers - NOT! But that's what Charter Oak is all about: superficial style but no real class.

ML
vipMomLovesFood
Houston
105 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We've had brunch at Charter Oak before (delightful!) but this time enjoyed dinner. We started off with the wings appetizer & they were very good. Then he ordered the smoked beef rib and I enjoyed the buttermilk chicken. They were delicious! The chicken was very juicy and really quite good. (I was trying to be "healthier" but I was not disappointed in any way.) We brought our own wine so didn't really peruse the wine list. We'll definitely be back.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 19, 2018
Overall2food2service1ambience3

Terrible service. Unfortunate they include the gratuity... makes it’s a harder blow.

T
vipThad
Fargo
17 reviews
Dined on October 18, 2018
Overall4food5service4ambience5

We had a reservation told us it would be a couple minute wait was almost a 1/2 hour. Food was amazing service was ok

AM
vipAuntMeem
Baltimore
108 reviews
Dined on October 16, 2018
Overall3food3service3ambience5

we were a party of 4. Everyone got something different. I got the pasta with the cheese and ground pepper. I thought it was good but on the expensive side for what it was and the portion size. I think it was around $25. My friend said that the cheese burger she had was one of the best she'd ever had. I'd go back just to try that. My husband had the chicken which was good and I forgot what the other person got. There are not many moderately priced wines by the bottle and I am not sure what their corkage fees/policy is. I am going to find out and maybe bring my own wine next time. Of course a wine that is not on their wine list.

K
vipKismet
San Francisco
290 reviews
Dined on October 15, 2018
Overall2food2service4ambience3

I only would "maybe" recommend it. The service was good but the wine service only fair. We ordered a $ 150 bottle of red wine , and it came ice cold . For a restaurant in the wine country this was unacceptable.
Needless to say it took an hour to get to a better temperature even though we asked for a decanter .
The food is along the lines of a steakhouse , sides need to be ordered extra . The chicken was very good but it came by itself for $ 25.00 . The trout also was very nice but only with a decoration of small greens on top $ 32.00 . We asked for a side of small red peppers , and they would have been great if they had not been charred black on one side . Not edible and we had to scrape it off. Same with the sunchokes we ordered , only the inside was edible.
While some people might like all this charred food , we did not .

CW
CurtisW
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 13, 2018
Overall2food5service1ambience5

In for our honey moon. Food and environment were great, but worst service we had in the valley. They didn’t mess up an order, but felt like we had been forgotten about for the entire night.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Phoenix
8 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Spectacular

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J
vipJeff0616
Chicago
83 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2018
Overall1food3service1ambience5

Absolutely atrocious service with a mandatory 20% tip on the bill. Unacceptable.

K
vipKhanda
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2018
Overall3food4service3ambience2

I wish the server had indicated that portion sizes were so large and that a starter a main and a salad were too much for one person as the starter and salad were both sharing portions

BT
vipBrandonT
Dallas
14 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2018
Overall3food2service4ambience5

We had 3 nights in Napa and were looking forward to dinner at Charter Oak the most. We started with the chard salad and durum wheat spaghetti. Both dishes were incredible. After that we had the cod in corn husks, although perfectly tender it was very fishy. We also had the short ribs, also cooked perfectly tender but very bland. Squash Blossoms were meh, and the mushrooms were the only descent plate for the second course. After that we skipped dessert.

L
vipLynda
Chicago
51 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We were blown away by the food, cocktails and the service.

TB
TamiB
1 review
Dined on October 3, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our group came from WI to Napa to celebrate a 40th birthday. The Charter Oak came on a recommendation from a friend. Our reso was for 4 at 8:30 but due to the way our day fell, we arrived at 7:15 and were promptly given table options. We sat in front of the main dining room hearth and our night only exceeded our expectations from there.
Our group shared the Chard Salad, Wings, Grilled Buttermilk Chicken, Roasted Ham, Cheeseburger, assorted mushrooms, Carrot Cake, Malt Pudding, loaf of bread, two red wines, & two specialty cocktails.
We COULD NOT get over the food!!!!!! Every.Single.Dish was made to perfection. Chicken better than we’d ever had in our life, ham that we will try to recreate at home for the rest of our lives, and a simple, yet wonderful salad. Typically there are one or two items to rave over, but The Charter Oak delivered on every single dish on every level.
The service was wonderful, attentive, and informative.
The atmosphere in the dining room was modern and upbeat, yet cozy and casual. The outside dining/patio area was truly magical. The twinkling lights, the outdoor gas fire pit, and comfortable seating invited us to relax after dinner.
When in St Helena/Napa/Sonoma....The Charter Oak is a MUST!!!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Charlotte
1 review
Dined on October 2, 2018
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Incredible experience! Most dishes are smoked, but to a very favorable degree. Service was superb. Ambience was wonderful, with a very reasonable noise level. Horseradish ham had almost no horseradish, and coffee was served cool, but otherwise a delightful experience.

SB
SouthernBelle55
Seattle
8 reviews
Dined on October 1, 2018
Overall2food3service1ambience3

The service was horrible. Food was good, but not at the prices charged. I may have been there on a off night but wouldn't go back based on my experience.

S
vipSushifan
San Diego
17 reviews
Dined on October 1, 2018
Overall3food3service3ambience4

I am a giant fan of Nathaniel Dorn. What he's achieved at The Restaurant at Meadowood, in terms of service and ambience, sets a new standard. I've visited Charter Oak 4 times. Three of four times the servers were appropriately knowledgeable and friendly. Last visit, the server was just friendly. Maybe she was new, but normally I'd expect everyone under Nathaniel's supervision to be at the top of the game. Not a major complaint. The food at C.O. is hit or miss. Each item is undoubtedly exactly how they intend it, but it may not be what you want. On a recent visit the waiters all raved about the smashed, fried potatoes, but neglected to mention that they were sweet. I prefer my fried potatoes salty, skip the sugar. The steamed seabass may be intentionally soft and lightly poached, near cool in the middle, so my mistake for ordering it. I prefer a sear on my fish. The chicken is usually great there. But, as you might conclude, get all the details about each dish before making a final decision. I commend C.O. for having a somm. He's got his own section on the list and it offers choices to expand your palate. In fact, if you adopt that attitude toward the dining menu, you may find something outside your normal comfort zone. That being said, I hope they add more dishes within the mainstream. Congratulations to Nathaniel and Christopher on their first Michelin star at Charter Oak. I hope there's more to come.

KP
KevinP
Louisville
5 reviews
Dined on October 1, 2018
Overall4food5service2ambience5

Visited while on vacation to Napa. Great spot and recommended but one has to be patient with service, especially from the bar to the table.

DY
DanaY
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Food was well prepared, creative, but not overdone-as to allow the ingredients themselves to shine. Very open and rustic dining space with an open kitchen/hearth fire where many of the dishes were seen being prepared. You get fine Napa Valley dining quality food without the frills (including no corkage fee for your first bottle of Napa wine), however the service left something to be desired- maybe was an off night, but our waiter seemed forgetful, untimely, and scattered. Would come back again and recommend for others who are looking for an elevated meal that is still casual and approachable (like neighboring farmstead)

L
Ladybug
San Francisco
20 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Beautiful setting, outstanding & unique food, and a signed copy of menu from Chef Kostow (+photo) THE best birthday present...
Thank you for special treat.

GK
vipGaryK
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Terrific venue for tasty and well thought out food. We live the open hearth and the way in which the restaurant is able to impart the wood taste into a number of the apps and entrees. The restaurant continues to evolve into a go to place for fresh vegetables and creative proteins. Can’t recommend highly enough.

ON
OaksNAshes
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a wonderful Sunday lunch. I’ve always loved the homey feel of the restaurant but with very well done service. The staff were on top of everything and made sure everyone was well taken care of. Thank you for continually giving great experiences.

l
viplyndync
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I absolutely love this restaurant. Food is amazing and service is spectacular

TG
ThomasG
San Diego
1 review
Dined on September 27, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

One of the best meals I’ve had. And great staff. Enough said!

N
Napanite
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on September 26, 2018
Overall5food3service5ambience5

Best bar west of New York. Absolutely magic. Beautiful scene with courtyard garden dining, outdoor tables, balcony dining, décor is like the French Quarter in beautiful old winery. Spectacular wine list with real value and European zing. Menu is kind of small and lacks imagination, but the items on it are prepared with the finest Michelin zeal. A lot of effort to use grown on the premises ingredients in the current fad, but don't ignore the French wine and arctic black cod. Most romantic location in St. Helena.

D
vipDudley
Atlanta
14 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great atmosphere. Staff was fantastic. Food was even more amazing.

LS
LannyS
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2018
Overall1food2service1ambience3

The negative reviews about poor service is true. The food was very disappointing. Cod was flavorless amongst other foods we ordered. Plus your automatically charged 20% for the privilege. I truly don’t mind paying for good service and food but not what I got on this night.

DT
vipDanT
Miami
10 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Outstanding says it all!

W
vipWinediner923
Calgary
28 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We sat outside on their balcony/patio and it was pleasantly quiet. Service was perfect. Jeremy, the sommelier, knows his stuff and steered us in the right direction on both of our wine selections. Their hearth produces succulent meats. I am sorry that I cannot remember our servers name, but he was exceptional. The evening was warm it was the perfect setting.

EC
vipEricC
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Items from the hearth were incredible. Must return to try other menu items

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
New York Area
30 reviews
Dined on September 18, 2018
Overall1food1service2ambience2

If I could give it a ZERO I would. Really bad experience. Food was almost inedible. Appetizer came with absolutely tasteless bread (they should really try some olive oil and salt at the very least). Was just charred bread with some cheese. Unfortunately that was the best of my experience. We had a chicken meal that was awful and another ham speciality that seemed like it was straight out of a can. Friends recommended this restaurant as a “must” and I recommend it as a DON’T!!! There are so many other options in Napa this is one to avoid.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on September 17, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Quite simply, one of the best restaurant experiences of our lives. Everything was fantastic. Our server, Hannah, was delightful, friendly, and welcoming. The food was stellar:
- the crispy potato “tostones” were unique af, crunchy, buttery, with a hint of sweetness
- the hey-ha wings (licensed from a different restaurant each month, this month from Night+Market in LA) had an element of smokey naughtiness to them that I can’t quite describe in words
- the bread and butter, made from scratch by the restaurant (not to get Portlandia on y’all, but the story behind the wheat farmer and the 21 year old starter donated by Tartine really sealed the deal, but in our defense, we heard the story after we’d already tasted and fallen in love with this dish)
- the cheeseburger, mentioned in bold on the menu... when I asked Hannah why that was the case, she nonchalantly responded: because it’s the best burger in the valley. That sold me, so I ordered it, and she was not joking. It was the best burger I’ve had in the valley!

The service was impeccable. Even though we’re only in St. Helena for a few days, we will be back to try their dessert (we were so full from the amazing food, we decided to save dessert for another day, likely accompanied by wine near their sexy fireplace).

All in all, if there was one place I could wholeheartedly recommend in all of St. Helena to anyone and everyone, it would be Charter Oak. We will be back. Again and again!

AL
ALESSIAG
1 review
Dined on September 17, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Siamo stati molto bene! Il locale è bello, spazioso e originale e il personale incredibilmente gentile e disponibile. Il cibo ottimo e di stagione. Da ricordare la Pavlova!!

Report
NY
vipNYCsbest
New York Area
29 reviews
Dined on September 17, 2018
Overall3food5service2ambience5

The former Tra Vigne space is still gorgeous, the food is, overall, excellent. The problem is pricing. How do you feel about spending $22 for a field-dressed heirloom tomato appetizer? The tomatoes came from the restaurant's own garden, the taste was terrific, and, though an appetizer, the dish served the four of us.
The special of lamb ribs was sensational. The problems (for some) come in the fine print. The menu is steak-house style, meaning that the mains are without any accompaniments. For those, it will cost you an additional $8-12. Plus, if you want bread, that will set you back either $5 or (an astounding) $10 extra. For a restaurant with sky-high prices, charging for bread is unconscionable.

Our server was like an animatronic runaway from Disneyland, but I imagine that can't be (I hope) indicative of all the servers.

For a special occasion, Charter Oak is a fine splurge. For everyday dining, not so much.

DB
vipDanielaB
San Francisco
82 reviews
Dined on September 17, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We have been there now three times and every time we had a great experience. From fresh churned butter and crusty bread, in house made sausage and fire roasted meats, everything is perfectly prepared.
Fun addition is the little drawers with your napkin and cutlery at your table corner.
Also a must do experience is the dessert cart!

N
Northerndiner
San Francisco
18 reviews
Dined on September 15, 2018
Overall4food3service4ambience4

A very ambitious—maybe too ambitious—menu. Not every dish needs to be smoked, steeped, brined, etc. But the servers are charming and helpful, and the courtyard is is lively at night.

WS
vipWayneS
Los Angeles
27 reviews
Dined on September 13, 2018
Overall3food3service5ambience4

We had heard about the restaurant and were eager to try it. It offers a short, ala carte menu with poor descriptions of the entrees. It’s not cheap either—not that I expected it to be. The service was the best part but since we came for the food and it was mediocre at best, we probably won’t be back. We had a tough time finding a tempting appetizer but chose the tostone potatoes. They were cooked in some kind of honey sauce and were way too sweet tasting for potatoes. The short ribs were okay but overpriced. One positive, besides the service: no corkage charge for the first bottle.

d
vipdocfoodie
Chicago
12 reviews
Dined on September 13, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great restaurant! Waitstaff and sommelier were very knowledgeable! They helped us make our meal both enjoyable and memorable! Highly recommend.

HY
HillaryY
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on September 13, 2018
Overall5food5service4ambience4

The food was excellent and for good value, especially for a restaurant in Napa Valley where it tends to be on the more expensive side. The ingredients were fresh and the desserts are also worth a try!

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The Charter Oak Restaurant is rated 4.5 stars by 606 OpenTable diners.

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