HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >


Boston 'hound looking for Napa/Sonoma recs

Hi all,

My wife and I will be staying in Napa proper early next week and need to plan some meals. I've done some research and come up with some ideas, but I thought I'd come to the experts...hounds! :)

Here's what I have so far:

Monday dinner: Fig Cafe and Wine Bar in Glen Ellen or the Girl and the Fig in Sonoma

Tuesday dinner: I have 5 [!] that I'm trying to decide between [all in Napa county]:
Angele, Bistro Don Giovanni, Ristorante Allegria, Bouchon, and Mustards Grill. My wife eats fish/seafood but no meat. Any advice here especially would be greatly appreciated!

Wednesday lunch: Pizza Azzurro or Zuzu in Napa

Thanks in advance!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. When in Sonoma, I skipped another restaurant to dine @ THE GIRL & THE FIG twice. I enjoyed their tasting flights that accompanied the meal.

    1. My wife and I both really enjoyed Bouchon, as well as Bistro Jeanty: www.bistrojeanty.com, both in Yountville in Napa County

      In Healdsburg in Sonoma County, we loved Zin (zinrestaurant.com/). Ravenous and Willi's Seafood and Raw Bar. Barndiva also generally gets good reviews, (bit edgier less conventional decor and style)

      1. None of the restaurants you mentioned in Napa specialize in sea food. I would go to Don Giovanni where they usually have a special fish of the day plus they usually have salmon which is great. Try to get a seat outside if it is still summer, nice view. Best restaurant in that price range in the valley. IMHO

        1. I adore Bouchon. Great raw bar too for the Mrs.

          And I second Don Giovanni, even though I tend to recommend restaurants out of the city of Napa. I've eaten at Don Giovanni at least 30 times and it's always been good. Love the atmosphere too.

          Terra in St. Helena is just flat out amazing. Especially with fish. Please read the reviews on Chowhound and at sfgate.com --click on Restaurants and enter Terra as your search term.

          Please also search Chowhound for the many comments on Napa restaurants...you'll find the terrain well-covered.

          Personally, I think having lunch outside of the city of Napa
          would be more enjoyable from both a visual and culinary standpoint. The city itself is not part of the verdant, bucolic part of Napa Valley. That begins in Yountville and goes north to Calistoga.

          4 Replies
          1. re: maria lorraine

            "I think having lunch outside of the city of Napa would be more enjoyable from both a visual and culinary standpoint. The city itself is not part of the verdant, bucolic part of Napa Valley."

            Okay, I live in the city of Napa and agree that it will always be the ugly stepsister of the Napa Valley. When I see tourists roaming around downtown I think they must have a bad travel agent. Not really. But there is great food here and it is pretty darn bucolic. Pilar, Pilar, Pilar, Angele, and Zuzu would be my picks, in that order. The view from the patio at Angele is good if the tide is in ;) Julia's Kitchen would be another to consider for lovely surroundings/gardens.

            To the OP: For Wednesday lunch choosing between Pizza Azzurro and Zuzu depends on what you want. Pizza Azzurro is very casual, great thin pizzas and my favorite "manciatta" spinach salad on flatbread. Zuzu is much more chic (and expensive) and I always think it is fun and romantic to eat off shared plates.

            Is Ristorante Allegria the place on 2nd near Main? If so, skip it. If you need Italian food, and who doesn't, go with Don Giovanni or the more casual locals favorite, Uva (on Clinton downtown).

            Glen Ellen is a bit of a haul on winding roads if you are staying in Napa. Sonoma is quite a bit closer.

            1. re: Junie D

              Just remembered that Allegria is on First in the old bank building - don't know anything about it but it reminds me that nv is right next door. A couple of nv threads:



              1. re: Junie D

                I was there on Saturday with some girl friends and we have a GREAT meal at Ristorante Allegria. We started with the calamari, some got salads, some got the lentil soup. I had the pappardelle with prawns and mushrooms in a shrimp bisque. Dessert was an apple berry crisp with vanilla bean ice cream. I'm still thinking about that meal. So yummy!

                1. re: aloha810

                  Thanks for the report.

                  Ristorante Allegria
                  1026 First Street, Napa, CA 94559

          2. My favorite spots in the town of Napa: 1. ZuZu 2. Pilar 3. Angele.

            1. Here are my posts and ideas from a recent trip up there:

              Bouchon Bakery- http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

              Bistro Jeanty- http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

              St. Helena (just up Hwy 29 about 15 minutes from Yountville):
              Taylor's Refresher: good hamburgers in a casual outdoor setting. Good Ahi burgers and salads available also.

              Julia's Kitchen at COPIA: my parents went there recently and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Also a farmer's market in their parking lot on Tues and Sat.

              1 Reply
              1. re: chezchristine

                I just returned a couple of weeks ago, and have the following recommendations:
                1. The General's Daughter, Sonoma. Beautiful room, serene ambience, great service, and a wonderful, innovative menu. I give it 4 stars.
                2. For lunch, in Napa, the Rutherford Grill. Bustling place, hearty, big-flavored food, great location in Rutherford.
                3. In Sonoma, a great value with excellent Italian food, Della Santini. Right off the Square, outdoor dining in good weather. The pesto was fabulous.
                4. Taylor's Refresher, outdoor dining, wonderful salads and good fish tacos, nice wine and beer list. A neat experience.
                5. I second the nomination of Zin in Healdsburg. The fried green beans, an unusual dish, are addictive.
                6. Brannan's in Calistoga. Beautiful room on one of the truly cool, historic streets in the region.

              2. Hi,

                We got back from our trip a couple of days ago and I thought I'd post and let you know where we ended up. Thanks for all the advice!

                We had lunch at Juanita Juanita in Sonoma. It's not in the town square...maybe a 5-10 min drive out of town. Very cute place, laid back, nice chips and salsa and big yummy burritos. We liked it.

                Dinner that day was at 'the girl and the fig', also in Sonoma. We loved this place. We got to eat out on the patio, which is lovely, although it ended up being cooler than we'd expected. They do turn on heaters but I don't recommend sitting right under them! :) We shared a bunch of stuff...great cheese plate, awesome fig salad, crab cake, grilled cheese, and really good cobbler with fig port ice cream, plus a red wine flight and a port flight. Really fun place with good food. Also tried out their shop, the fig pantry, which was a cute little gourmet food store. [also located in Sonoma but not on the square]

                Picnic lunch the next day with stuff from the Oakville Grocery. Pricey but good.

                Dinner that night at Angele in Napa. We decided to eat inside b/c it was breezy right on the river. We really liked this place also. Great, friendly service, nice ambience, good food. The highlight for me was a special of duck leg confit served on lentils...very nice.

                We ended up grabbing our last lunch at the Basque Boulangerie in Sonoma instead of doing something more formal. It's right on the square and has a lot of choices. Food was fine and it fit the bill.

                We had a fantastic time in Sonoma/Napa and can't wait to go back another time. We got very lucky and were on a tour at Frog's Leap on the first day of crush, so we got to see all that and participate in the celebration and lunch that followed. It'll be hard to match that next time!

                As an aside, we also had a lovely dinner at Pasta Moon in Half Moon Bay. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for somewhere to eat in that area. Reservations for weekend nights are a good idea, although they did squeeze us in on a Friday night. Cute bookstore next door to browse in while you wait!

                3 Replies
                1. re: kt1969

                  Thanks for the report back.

                  Did you buy anything at the fig pantry and how did you like it?

                  One of these days I'll ge to Pasta Moon which I always want to try. What did you order?

                  1. re: rworange

                    Hmm, let's see...bought some sheep's milk cheese b/c we had tried a different one that we liked at the restaurant, a yummy peanut butter cookie, a bunch of the chocolate fig sauce, some red onion confit...think that's it.

                    At Pasta Moon we split the fried calamari [very nice] and I had the homemade fettuccine with grilled chicken, dried cranberries, goat cheese, and a sage cream sauce. LOVED it. DC had a thin-crusted pizza with spicy tomato sauce, shrimp, lemon aioli, and wild arugula. She liked it a lot. We got the mascarpone cheesecake with chocolate sauce to go, and it was lovely for a late-night snack!

                    1. re: kt1969

                      Thanks. Gosh, that food sounds so good at Pasta Moon. Really, next time I'm in HMB, I'm so there.

                2. Mustard's grill
                  Taylor's for burgers shakes, and classic atmosphere
                  Tomatillo in Healdsberg for Pizza

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Carnivore

                    I can't find Tomatillo in Healdsburg on google or the health department, could you please provide coordinates?