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Oxbow Public Market serves up a feast of food and drink

The Oxbow Public Market bills itself as “the local gathering place for great food and wine in Napa Valley,” but it’s not just for locals. Plenty of travelers and weekend visitors go there to feast on its cornucopia of food and wine and other delights.

A selection of cheeses at the Oxbow Cheese Merchant.
Photo by Kevin Nelson

Located a few paces from the Napa River in the Oxbow District of town, the market is a place to dine and drink, pick up the fixings for dinner or a picnic, grab a morning latte or pastry, do a little shopping or simply revel in the sights and smells of this bustling yet cozy indoor hall.

“Napa Valley is its own little world,” one visitor to the market was overheard to say, and this description could apply to the Oxbow as well. There are more than twenty shops, each selling a variety of beautiful, colorful and tasty goods. One stall brimming with eye-catching items leads to another stall brimming with even more items.

On display are breads, cheese, chocolates, coffee, cupcakes, dessert, honey, flowers, gift items, groceries, home décor, ice cream, olive oil, organic produce, pastries and spices. A charcuterie is near vendors of top quality beef and fresh fish. There is a juice bar, assorted places to drink wine and beer, and a micro-distillery for spirits and bitters.

Eight restaurants serve gourmet burgers, oysters and seafood, upscale American comfort food, Latin and Venezuelan cuisine, pizza, traditional Italian and other fare.

Locals’ Night is every Tuesday at 5 p.m., and this may be the perfect time to experience the market because merchants offer special menu items and offers then. But any time is a good time to take in the market, which frequently hosts musical performances and other activities.

The Oxbow Public Market, at 610 and 644 First Street in Napa, is open seven days a week from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday and until 6 p.m. on Sundays. Call 707-226-6529 or visit its website.

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