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The French Laundry

I fell in love with Napa Valley my first visit, and have dreamed about dining at The French Laundry. Has anyone dined there, and was it a fabulous as I imagine?

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  1. Every bit. Still my favorite high-end meal to date. Just be forewarned, it can be a food marathon.

    1. I have always wanted to try it as well but the price has kept us away. I just can't imagine any meal being worth that amount of money. I know I must either be way off base or entirely too thrifty as everyone I know who has been has given it a rave review. I hope you'll report if you do decide to try it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: baseballfan

        I have dined there 3 times and each time was as memorable as the last. It is one of my favorite places and I hope to dine there many more times. It is well worth the money and time (plan on 3 to 4 hours eating). It is an experience!

      2. We've dined there three times also. The first time, many years ago, it was $75 per person plus wine and whatever. Now it's $240 per person. I don't remember what it was at time 2 and 3 but it certainly wasn't over $200 per person.

        All in all it was a great experience. However, at the currert cost, having been there, I probably wouldn't go again. Have no complaints, everything was perfect all 3 times.

        I guess I'm just glad to have been there. Will move on to other experiences.

        1. I went a few years ago and I doubt I'd return ... even if I win the big lottery jackpot. It is a little sterile and too technical for me. I appreciated what they were doing, but it just isn't my style. Locally, I prefer Ron Siegel's menu at The Dining Room at the Ritz. It was less expensive, the food more memorable and the wine pairing one of the best I've experienced in my life.

          Other than the rabbit, I can't remember a thing I had at French Laundry. The only reason I remember the rabbit was I never had rabbit before ... it wasn't the taste I remember ... it was the appearance ... rabbit 3 ways, IIRC, with these tiny little rabbit ribs ... these had to be some breed of minature rabbit.

          The next time I had rabbit it was a rustic preparation at a SF restaurant and the flavor, unlike FL, just blew me away with wonderfulness. I still remember the second rabbit dinner ... for the flavor.

          1. i heard you have to wait one year for the reservation, is it truth

            2 Replies
            1. re: monkfanatic

              One year is El Bulli in Spain. With FL it is two-months in advance on the stroke of midnight and you must repeat the reservation chant while repeatedly pressing speed-dial or something annoying like that. Limited reservations are available on OpenTable.

              1. re: monkfanatic

                French Laundry opens up reservations for any day, two months ahead. Start calling as soon as they do for the day you want. I have been told that it helps if you put them on speed dial and/or have more then one person trying. It also helps if you know someone in the wine industry in California. They sometimes have some pull there.

              2. All depends on what you have been exposed to and what you're used to. The cookbook was better.

                1. The search function has 661 references (now 662) to the French Laundry. You'll find the conversations about reservations a bit boring for the most part. The conversations about the food are greatly positive. It's almost a necessity to write about your experience there, so it's further etched in your memory, and your post purchase satisfaction to guilt/gloat ratio is expanded.

                  I've eaten there once, and worked/staged in the kitchen once. The whole experience is as professional as you'll find, and very much worth the price if you have enough cash to suspend your gut dropping sensation when the check arrives. You should bring $300 a head and take some home with you without batting an eye. If you're a vinophile, you're upper end is to the moon, but you already know that...

                  I've been to Disneyland once, and wouldn't return. I would return to the French Laundry, but once is enough. If you're assembling a list of 100 things to do before your final clock out, this should make it onto most culinarian's lists.