Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Jul 7, 2006 04:56 AM

unpretentious wine country?

My boyfriend and I will be in Calistoga in two weeks and will want to dine out one night in Calistoga, St. Helena, or perhaps Yountville. (Napa is probably too far.) We'd love good fish and vegetarian options. Are there any restaurants in that area that don't have super fancy food? We're not concerned about the price, but we'd love a menu that isn't all the usual foie gras, goat cheese salad, stewed rabbit, eggplant napolean, etc. etc. I love Chez Panisse and Delfina in the Bay Area, and Quartino in NYC ... is there anything along these lines in the wine country? Simple preparations, lots of fresh veggies and fish, creative but not over the top? It's our one-year anniversary, so romantic and quiet would be a plus. Thanks in advance!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. We love Bistro Don Giovanni. It's in Napa but easy to get to because it's right on Highway 29. We go to this restaurant every time we go to the Napa Valley. It's the perfect blend of great food but hearty and down-to-earth (my husband calls it not too "foo-foo"). Everything is delicious. . this is a local's favorite.

    We like to dine outdoors or on the back patio by the fireplace.


    1. I'd recommend Cindy's Backstreet in St. Helena. Great food in a very relaxed setting. It's become one of my faves in the Valley. Lots of others have commented on it recently ,so you can probably find more detail with a quick search of the board. Enjoy!

      1. Wappo in Calistoga. You can take a look at the menu online and see if it is too froofy for you!

        1 Reply
        1. re: bluestgirl

          I've always enjoyed Wappo when I've gone. The food is not always the main attraction for me, but the space is very cozy and inviting and I always leave wanting to return.

        2. Bouchon is a great choice. Classic french bistro, but not stuffy, at least once you get by the front door. Roast chicken is great, as are fairly straightforward fish selections. Call now for reservations, but it will still probably be a squeeze. Its a great way to eat Thomas Keller's food without the whole FL experience.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Chris Rising

            I wish Keller would pay more attention to Bouchon. The inconsistency in food and service here makes it a disappointment to anyone who is expecting his touch.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Amen to that! The prices are high at Bouchon..and not worth it.. in my opinion.

          2. Right down the street from Bouchon is Bistro Jeanty, another great French bistro. Also in Yountville is the new Redd restaurant. It's gotten some good reviews on this board. It would be more upscale than either Bouchon or Bistro Jeanty.

            Martini House in St. Helena is good with quiet casual dining in the downstairs area.

            1 Reply
            1. re: rtmonty

              Unfortunately, Bistro Jeanty, which I love, doesn't offer many veg options...two salads, a pasta and some side dishes. Call to make sure.