What’s not to love about a restaurant that was opened as a dedication to the owner’s wife, who passed away from breast cancer? Once you visit Harvest Cafe, you’ll realize that in addition to the touching story that is behind the restaurant, there is also some amazing food that would bring you in to dine regardless of the background. However, when you add the fact that owner Tom Sawyer opened the restaurant to fulfill his wife’s legacy and to offer healthy, clean food, you’ll realize you have truly found a special place to dine. Tom and his wife Tricia lived in Napa Valley and anticipated opening Harvest in 2007, but their plans changed when Tricia began a battle with breast cancer that unfortunately resulted in her death in 2010. In her honor and as a way to promote her cause of healthy eating, Tom and their son Jake decided to make her dream a reality with the opening of Harvest.
We visited Harvest on a Wednesday evening and, after taking a look at the menu, want to state that you should not be fooled by the word ‘café’ in the name. Harvest is a truly gourmet restaurant with award-winning European trained chef Robert Barr creating choices like Chicken Olivia, Bangkok Shrimp Wrap and Grilled Swordfish. Although we went there for dinner, there are many tasty lunch choices like the grilled cheese Panini, smoked salmon Panini and Sonoma smoked turkey, each of which is served with a Harvest side salad, Harvest chips, fruit salad or you can substitute soup for $2.
For our dining options, we chose the Duck a la Orange (slow roasted duck with a triple reduction orange and wine sauce, served with Piemont rice and vegetables), Salmon en Croute (a six ounce fillet of Atlantic Salmon baked in a buttery puff pastry shell served with a side of roasted asparagus), Chicken Marsala (two sautéed breasts of chicken, button mushrooms, shallots and a sweet Marsala wine sauce over a bed of angel hair pasta), California Cioppino (Chef Barr’s gold medal winning California bouillabaisse made with cod, shrimp and sea scallops served with seasoned crostini and rouille sauce) and the Grilled Bone in Ribeye (served with sautéed vegetables and roasted scallion and cheese risotto). We were so impressed not only with the amazing quality of the food, but also the large portions and beautiful presentation. The risotto was honestly the best we have ever tasted and the Cioppino was unique and rivaled any seafood dish we’ve had, even on the coasts!
If we had to choose the area where Harvest really excels, though, it would have to be the desserts. When we say we had a brownie, that really doesn’t best explain the chocolate piece of heaven this dessert truly was! You have to experience this unbelievable brownie to really understand how wonderful it is. We also tried a treat that was a puff pastry shell with a sweet, light lemon custard inside. Delicious!! You might want to consider visiting Harvest just to try a dessert, or make sure to box up half of your meal so that you have some room left to try these out!
Harvest is built on the solid principles of locally produced foods made fresh without preservatives or unnatural additives, which is something we all should be supporting. Add in the fact that Chef Barr is internationally known and amazingly talented and has created a spectacular menu and there is just no reason that you should not give Harvest Cafe a try.