The Bakery Café by illy (The Culinary Institute of America)

2555 Main St, St Helena
(707) 967-1100

Recent Reviews

Veronika Staňková

I bought a coffee and a one piece of chocolate truffle to go. When the truffle melted in my mouth, I felt a lot of hair in it. A mid-lenght brown one and a couple of short blonde hairs. It made me pretty sick. Not sure if it was supposed to be a joke of some immature students of Culinary Institute, or someone else who was preparing these, but it was extremely disgusting and I?m dissapointed.

Aileen W.

We stopped in here because I saw people recommend it as a place you could get food to grab and go. We chose sandwiches and a salad from the glass case, and they appeared to be ready to go. Our sandwiches and salad were delicious, as was the mini croissant we got to snack on. I took off one star because it was very slow. It was a weekday lunchtime. There was only one other party in there, so it's not like they were busy. They do not give you the pre-prepared food you see, and as they were about to hand us our food they took it back to fix it because the chef realized he didn't put avocado on our bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato sandwiches, adding to the time. So, good place to go if you have time, but not if you're in a hurry.

Wil K.

Great coffee. The brownie was amazing. Fried chicken sandwich was good too. Very relaxing place.

Sue M.

You need to search for this little spot! It's within the culinary school. Delicious coffee and pastries. Hubby had the dark chocolate brownie with sea salt and I had a lemon meringue tart. Lattes too! Perfect respite after driving up to the wine country. Then a little shopping in the gift shop next door.

Stefi Z.

Must go to this Cafe if you're in this area and around. It's absolutely wonderful. Seriously delicious coffee and pastries. Price is surprisingly lower than other cafes. Comfortable seating, like in a library. Chefs wearing tall white hat and uniform passing by from time to time. Highly recommend.

Jesus Carlos C.

Went in for an estimate on cake and was told that they would have someone call me that same day. A week and a half has passed and nothing, not a call or anything and the demeanor of the manager was not CIA like. As an alumni I remember they grilled us with Hospitality and professionalism, nothing like this was exemplified that day.

Rachelle M.

On Saturday afternoon accompanied by my sweetheart we got the opportunity to dine at this bakery cafe where highly trained students learn skills for the restaurant field trained by well known chefs. Observing the menu I came across the Napa Fried Chicken and Waffle Sandwich my mouth started watering before even ordering it, I love chicken and waffles, so in a sandwich has to be amazing! First bite true heaven, the chicken was fried to perfection and paired with bacon, maple-chipotle aioli the flavors were just plain amazing and when that egg yolk started to run down immersing the thick waffle it was breakfast heaven! My meal was only $10 and came with a cup of delicious cut up pineapples! To share we decided on the Rosemary Fries with House Garlic Aioli, that aioli was so good if we were near home I would have asked for a to-go cup to bring home with me after finishing those delectable fries with my sweetheart! I would highly recommend trying out this bakery cafe with a sweet and helpful staff that make you feel very welcomed, I'll definitely be back to try more! Come try their fresh baked loaves, lunch menu and other delicious homemade goodies for the best price in this area for unmatched quality, they are open everyday from 11 AM to 3 PM! This would make a great place to purchase a gift card as well since it can be used at any of their bakery cafes, restaurants, for taking classes, their boot camp or the Spice Islands Marketplace! Lastly don't forget to check into Yelp, I received a free small English Breakfast Tea that was good despite me over-steeping it being distracted by all the food!

Chuck M.

One of the best kept wine country dining secrets is The Bakery Cafe by illy. It is located on the 1st floor of The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. The cafe is operated by CIA students before they go out into the world to their chosen foodie destinies. You never know...you just might be served by one of the next stars of the culinary world. I had a brief conversation with a student who had just finished her externship at Thomas Keller's French Laundry. The counter service menu here is not extensive, but it is just right for the purpose of the cafe. You can choose from either a "grab and go" menu or à la carte. I had the Napa Fried Chicken and Waffle Sandwich ($10) which came with Applewood smoked bacon, a fried egg & maple-chipotle aioli. The sandwich was amazing with just the right balance of sweet and savory flavors. The breaded chicken was juicy and even with the warm runny yolk, the crunchy breading held up with nice contrasting textures all the way to the last delicious bite! On the side I had the Rosemary Fries ($4) with an amazing house aioli with garlic for dipping. The fries were cooked to perfection with nice crispy exteriors and tender and fluffy interiors. The garlic aioli made these some of the best fries ever! Definitely bookmark this one and stop in the next time you are in the area!

Chrysanthemum A.

The Bakery Cafe by Illy IS a secret- it's run by the CIA, after all! Hidden with the CIA is some of the best coffee ever. The Italian rainbow cake looked decadent, and one can see culinary students at work. It's true they have odd hours. They've renovated over the years, and it's worth it. At lunchtime, they were doing a big business. I ordered an espresso con panna (with whipped cream) to go. The nervous culinary student did correct my order (I almost got a cortado!), and made sure it was to-go. I had an espresso to fuel my drive home. The whipped cream was exquisite. Unfortunately, I was too full to taste the rainbow. It's great to see the culinary students hard at work. $2 for an espresso is reasonable, especially for the Napa Valley. It's an impressive spot. Since chocolate's scientific name translates as "food of the gods",the Bakery Cafe by Illy (with some Ghirardelli too) is heavenly.

Janelle A.

Super helpful staff, surprisingly affordable prices, thoughtful recommendations. The atmosphere was beautiful! I was helped by Angel, and he was super professional and helpful!

Karen S.

We came here as part of the tour and lunch and I think we got them on a bad day. Things seemed very unorganized and they seemed to be understaffed to handle the people that opted for lunch with their tour. For the bulk of the time we were there, there was one person taking orders, making drinks and delivering orders. Eventually someone else came along to expedite the food and deliver orders. My food came out almost ten minutes after my husband's food. On to the food. I had the Italian sandwich and it was very good. The pasta salad that was on the side was fantastic. My husband opted for the other lunch option, the fried chicken sandwich, but it was a fried chicken plate when it came out. He still enjoyed it. I'd try it again and hope things were a bit better organized.

Andrew W.

Wow. Yeah. These kids are doing great work. The cafe is full and vibrant, with plenty of options to eat in or grab and go. The daily focaccia is definitely worth taking home. Portions are on the lighter side, and for Napa Valley, so are the prices. Chicken and waffle sandwich is just right. Satisfying lunch. Check it out.

Wannes Vandenbulcke

Very tasty sandwiches and sweets created by the students

Angela C.

I wasn't too impressed with the selection of baked goods. The case was almost empty and nothing really looked like I had to try it. I ordered a cappuccino and chocolate chip cookie. The cookie tasted better than it looked and of course I always love a coffee made with illy. We waited in line almost 20 minutes just to order. I don't know that I would come again. There were plenty of seats and lots of people were having lunch. If I ever come back, I'll try the food. It was cool seeing all the chocolate sculptures in cases around the place. They also sell wine they make there as well.

Kevin L.

Great little cafe. I loved their Blueberry lemon pie. I also had a cafe late The cafe is nicely located inside of the Culinary Institute of America

Janine C.

When you walk into the Culinary Institute of America, you are immediately greeted by the smell of fresh pastries, coffee, and lunch special the Illy cafe is working on that day. After your nose follows the trail of deliciousness, you'll see the face of an eager culinary student ready to take your order. BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE. If you come at the right time, you'll get some serious steals where coffee is $1 and bread/pastries are half off. And their menu changes daily! My mouth is just melting thinking about their pastries. The instructors teaching the graduating students in the cafe are always so fun as well! They make sure everything is just the way you like & are always open to hearing some feedback about the service, quality of food, etc. After all, this is a culinary school & we want to actively shape the skills of the students attending this establishment.

Bbqbill K.

Stopped by for coffee after a great seafood lunch at Gotts Roadside ( Formerly Taylor's Refresher). Iced Latte and Biscotti was great. Highly recommend and Greystone is a great building.

Kt L.

Pretty disappointed by my meal today. I ordered the soup, which was good, as well as a sandwich. The sandwich was oozing with dijon mustard. So much so that it was all I could taste. I also got a nice big dribble of it down my shirt for good measure. I did mention that I wasn't pleased with the sandwich and I was politely thanked for giving my critique, but no offer to make it right. I left most of the sandwich and a pile of mustard I scraped off on the plate. First time dining at this cafe on my Cali trip and will most likely be my last.

Marilyn N.

Me and a friend dropped by because we were curious about some of the menu items. We ordered: (1) Short rib banh mi [$12.99] that comes with chips and my friend had the (2) chicken salad (?). - Seasonal and always changing menu : menu is subject to change as are desserts so always check back! - Service: from the cashier to the waitress and the cashier to the gift shop on the way in everyone was pretty friendly aside from a few grouchy students standing outside that seemed to be on their break. They took our order, brought plates, silverware, napkins and water to us. Nothing that stands out a ton, it's very no fluff, straight to the point kind of service, still friendly and cordial though! - Food: The food really shines, from the plates chosen to napkin , silverware and the table setting, they really choose all of these items to highlight the particular special menu items being served that day. The Banh mi was well-done and tender, it just melted in your mouth as you chewed. The chicken was moist, fried to perfection and very savory. The batter was the main star of the show and really gave a nice crunch for the salad. We skimped on desserts since we had other plans for dessert (;) Next time!). The portions were small but very filling. - Pricing: Now the prices here aren't super cheap and I'm pretty sure the prices are less focused on gimmicks and quantity and instead focus on quality ingredients prepared to highlight that dish and the experience of it. For $12, it's a great once in a while kind of treat, not really fit for my college student budget - I think you're really paying for the experience and quality of food. Summary: Overall the food is really good and if it's in your price range, it's a totally great place to visit from time to time to check out what the chefs and chefs-in-training are experimenting with and tour the school and some interesting artifacts they have or pick up souvenirs for your aspiring chefs at home. Good food, good atmosphere, very quiet and quaint for a nice relaxing day out.

alice bennett

We visited the Culinary Institute of America. While there we went to their nice cafe - The Bakery Cafe by illy. We enjoyed a good cup of coffee. They also had some splendid holiday candies. The seating area is pleasant.

Abegail A.

Located inside CIA at Greystone, great place to grab a quick snack, dessert, and/or cafe. They are super friendly and the food is just fantastic. Prices are reasonable also. I had the Ghirardelli mocha and the salted caramel chocolate tart after an exhausting day of wine tasting. The hubs got the pizza and an americano. We both enjoyed what we ordered and would definitely come back again. The tart was decadent, dark chocolate with caramel and just a touch of salt to cut through the the richness of it all. The mocha was great bit my hubby's americano paired better with my dessert, so we traded. His pizza had a simple crust, just the right amount of pepperoni and melty mozzarella. It was a good break and it provided us a refuge from the storm. We walked around the campus and the shop right after.

Brian K.

Mind blow! Kerpew! I had the Croque Madame last Saturday and it was phenomenal. The dish was served on top of a perfectly toasted piece of delicious bread. The bread was piled with layer upon layer of the most succulent Black Forrest ham I've ever tasted. The ham was slathered with a rich and decadent Morney sauce that was pure bliss. A perfectly fried egg adorned the dish. The egg was lightly season with salt and pepper. I took the egg off and ate it separate because I was eager to taste it. I hadn't had a fried egg in a long time. It was delicious. The meal came with a side of sea salt and vinegar chips. They were made fresh in the kitchen and provided a nice crunch between bites of ham. The ham was so savory it just burst in my mouth with flavor. The sauce was fantastic. It was rich and complex and I sopped up ever ounce withy toast. It was one of the best things I've ever tasted. If I could give seven stars, it would be done. Bravo!

Melanie G.

The service was friendly, attentive, prompt and informative. Being located in a world renowned culinary school, gorgeous building the atmosphere and food is all I could expect and more! The Mac and cheese had an add on option of truffles. Devine!! Also had a panna cotta for dessert, delish! Totally recommend!!! Now can't keep writing, must have some more, yum!!!

Alanna B.

While in Napa I made sure to stop to eat at the Culinary Institute. The restaurants themselves were closed. However, the Bakery was open to the public. Ordering is easy, limited menu but very well executed. We came twice on our visit for lunch. The first day we ordered Grilled Cheese and Tomato Bisque. This was the BEST tomato bisque we ever had!! The grilled cheese had a few different cheese combinations that made that home-style cooking all the more enjoyable. The second visit was a hamburger that had a few different toppings with an over-easy egg. I never had a more perfectly cooked over-easy egg made in my life! The hamburger was so flavorful and juicy too. If you are a foodie, you definitely need to stop and pay a visit for lunch. After eating before hitting up another winery, take a stroll through their gift shops - lots of cook books, wine books, cooking utensils and cookware galore. You can also view a cooking class going on in the next room next to the Bakery. No reservations are needed, and the building is open to the public daily. Check the website for hours.

Kim N.

Because it's in the CIA youre going to get access to all types of goodies. Charcuterie, sandos, coffee, tea, chocolates...made by on site staff. The chocolates by the recent graduate are pretty outstanding. My only gripe is ey close pretty early so get in sooner rather than later

Kurt C.

I'm here, finally! After many failed attempts in trying to visit the CIA at Greystone, I have now come to start my day off at the lovely Bakery Café. Being in the middle of lush Napa Valley, it's hard to escape that inviting scent of freshly baked goods, cheese, and wine -- your plot to decrease sobriety before noon? In all seriousness, the atmosphere of this place is *French accent* romantic, classy, and simplistic (cue in the violins) ~ There's an aura of sophistication, a strong sense of history and culture, and a high-class lifestyle that isn't snobbish, rather indulgent. This café welcomes you with its delicious sandwiches, soup, and dessert. I ordered the Ratatouille & Mozzarella -- C.I.A. farm ratatouille, mozzarella, arugula, focaccia. Scrumptious, yet light and subtle with each flavorful bite. We also got a few pastries and sweets I forgot the names of, but they were all good and a perfect note to end the meal. If you have time, I recommend going on a tour around campus, beyond their visitors' store and culinary classes, and maybe even enroll in a one-day course to broaden your mind in all things culinary, and fall more deeply entranced with this special place that is Napa Valley.

Ashley C.

I've been meaning to come here for almost a couple years now, so I was pleased to finally arrive at the door of the Culinary Institute of America on this year's Labor Day weekend. There are many different places to eat here, but we opted for the Bakery Cafe, which is located adjacent to the gift shop. Everything was so clean when we walked in and definitely brought us to ooh's and aah's as we looked around. The Bakery Cafe is a mix of fancy food names and casual atmosphere, if that even makes sense. The cafe offers a simple menu with items packed with freshness and flavor. For today's lunch I was able to try the tomato soup, BLT sandwich, and housemade ice cream. The tomato soup tasted fresh and creamy, definitely better than the tomato soup from the grocery store! It complemented my sandwich very well - fresh lettuce, juicy tomatoes, and crispy bacon, served on crunchy yet chewy sourdough bread. But for me, the housemade ice cream was the winner! Cinnamon to be exact - and it tasted just like horchata. I wish I had more...but I'll be back, CIA!

Louisa M.

I simply love this cafe! How on Earth have I never heard about this magical place before? This is going to be in my permanent Napa rotation for all future visits. I don't want to write this review because I don't want the best-kept secret to get out! The Bakery Cafe is run by the pastry and culinary students at the Culinary Institute of America (where this cafe is located). It's inside the giant Greystone building. Don't let the exterior scare you, the public is welcome. Simply waltz on in and take a left after the gift shop and you'll see the Cafe. The hours change frequently so make sure you call ahead or plan to be disappointed. Even when open, the Cafe has bizarre hours (like 1 pm to 3 pm or 11 am - 2 pm). The Cafe is set up like a Panera -- you go up to the counter, place your order and pay, then sit down with a number and a server will bring your food out to you. The menu looks like it changes often depending on the seasons or what the students are learning to make. I zeroed in on the fresh strawberry cake in the case and the shrimp, artichoke and grilled lemon salad caught my eye. I settled on the salad and the hubby got the Charcuterie plate and we split a bowl of the Tuscan bean and kale soup. What amazed me is that while the stuff isn't cheap, you are getting FANCY RESTAURANT QUALITY FOOD prepared by real chefs-in-training for much less than the same dish would cost you down the street at a big name chef restaurant. My salad was freaking amazing and set me back $9. This same salad would've been at least twice the price if not more at most other establishments in Napa. My hubby enjoyed his charcuterie plate and was able to select which meats he wanted in the sampler, including wild boar (something we fell in love with on our last trip to Italy). The Tuscan bean and kale soup was yummy too; I ordered it because, well, I just cannot pass up a bowl of soup! Water service is completely free and self-serve. I LOVED this because they had a counter with small glasses and larger glass bottles where you could fill up a bottle for your table with either filtered still or sparkling water! This worked out great for us since I love sparkling and hubby loves still. That had me won over immediately! The students brought out the food and soon after, the culinary instructors / professors would come over to each table to inspect what they did. It was sort of like being in the classroom and was so cool! I saw this going on at every table so if you are weirded out about that sort of thing, just be aware that you are dining at a school where chefs are being trained right in front of you. After we ate our lunch we HAD to go back for dessert and coffee. The Cafe serves Illy Italian coffee (one of the students told me that she is being trained by actual Illy folks from Italy). We got a slice of that amazing looking strawberry cake and I wanted to try a cookie so I asked the girl at the register to pick out her favorite of the day for me (she chose peanut butter). I had an espresso and hubby had a macchiato (in the traditional Italian style of course, NO Starbucks here). The pastries were amazing; that peanut butter cookie was fantastic. You could really taste the butter, nuts; you could straight up just taste the amount of CARE that went into baking that cookie! The espresso was fine but the crema on mine has disappated as soon as it was brought to the table. The student who brought it out noticed it right away and offered to pull another shot before I even could say anything about it but I declined. It's so difficult to learn to make the perfect espresso shot so I guess I should've had her redo it but I didn't want to look like an ass. The dining area is very small and tables are scarce. The small bistro tables are cute but not so much fun when you are attempting to juggle lots of plates and cups. We saw lots of students and instructors dining here between classes. The selection of sandwiches, salads, wraps, pastries and soup is limited but ev

The Bakery Café by illy (The Culinary Institute of America)

2555 Main St, St Helena, CA 94574
(707) 967-1100