Heading to Napa from NYC...
My wife and I are heading to Napa in September and would love some feedback on Press and Redd. We're also open to other ideas. We'll be staying in Northern Napa half the time and in the south for the remainder. Driving a bit for a great meal is not a problem. Also, any reccommendations for great wine shops in the region? Thanks-
I consider Press a HORRIBLY over-priced steak house. $99 for a steak? PULEEEZ. $45 for a roast chicken? And all this is a la carte...
If you want a great steak at half the price in the Napa Valley, I would go to PJ Steak in Yountville. Beyond that, restaurants worthy of consideration are Martini House, Pilar, Bouchon, Bistro Don Giovanni, etc...
For wine shopping in the city of Napa, check out Backroom Wines and JV Wine & Spirits. Backroom is a tiny shop crammed with local and imported goodies all hand tasted and selected by owner Daniel Dawson. He does really interesting tastings on Friday nights. JV Wine & Spirits is a larger, warehouse style store, with a great selection of upscale wines, a tasting bar open daily and ridiculously cheap Friday night winemaker tastings.
Upvalley, check out St. Helena Wine Center on Main St. in St. Helena. Pricey, but a great staff, with hard to find wines. Dean & DeLuca has a large selection, and I regularly find stashes of older vintage lesser known wines. It can be pricey, but I have gotten good deals in the past. I haven't been, but I keep hearing great things about the Wine Garage in Calistoga.
If you really want a steak, I'd go to Cole's in Napa, and make sure to get the Oysters Rockefeller. I'd also echo the Pilar endorsement and add Zuzu for small plates (both of these are in Napa too).
Heading upvalley to Yountville, there have been recent comments on the board about inconsistency at Bouchon, but it has it's fans. I happen to be in Bistro Jeanty camp myself.
In St. Helena, Martini House is a beautiful spot, with delicious rich food. I'm also a fan of Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen. If you need a break from wine - heaven forbid - they make a mean Mojito.
ok, so um, i haven't eaten at lots of the chi-chi places in napa, but if you are looking for a good reasonably priced dinner place, try Checkers in Calistoga. i clearly recall a super-tasty butternut squash ravioli dish that had gorgonzola sauce, candied pecans, smoked chicken, and dried cranberries. so tasty. For breakfast, Cafe Sarafornia across the street has delicious pancakes and egg dishes and friendly service. And don't miss the Candy Cellar's cafe latte fudge.
I agree with Ruby Louise's post. My "local girl's slant":
Please add...the beer can chicken at Bounty Hunter, also a wine bar. Also in Napa, Don Giovanni is one of the greatest of all Napa Valley restaurants. I've eaten there 30 times and have never had a bad meal, or dish.
But I'd recommend that you get out of the city of Napa proper, because the valley doesn't really unfold its green beauty until you reach Yountville.
Redd is great in Yountville, as is Bistro Jeanty, very French,
and Bouchon, a French brasserie, fantastic raw bar and lamb shanks.
Terra is the best restaurant, bar none, in Napa Valley. It's in St. Helena, as is Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen, also very good (great short ribs and duck burger), but not in the calibre of Terra. Martini House is not worth the price of dinner, but they do have a fantastic 3-course prix fixe lunch for about $20.
(Yeah, folks could argue the French Laundry is the best, but it's such an unusual, arched $$$ experience, that it doesn't really count for most folks.)
In Calistoga, I like the chile rellenos at Wappo Grill, made in the ancient Mexican way with walnuts and pomegranates. Also there, the fantastic Brazilian seafood chowder, great lunch salads. The burger at Flatiron is a 10 oz. sirloin and wonderful -- the best in the valley. Brannan's makes some wonderful dishes, like a rabbit bolognese. Bosko's has a killer caramelized onion and mushroom pizza.
Avoid: Press, Tra Vigne, Etoile, Zazu, Pilar, Brix.
They're OK, I guess, but I'd avoid them because of personnel problems, loss of their chef, abuse of employees, or, for the
best reason of all: money. You're going to have a much better experience elsewhere for the same amount of money.