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Apr 1, 2007 11:57 AM

Napa Valley Restaurant

A couple we're fond of, and who've done us some nice favors over the years, are celebrating a birthday together with a Napa vacation and we'd like to make them a fantastic dinner reservation and give them a nice celebration meal. Budget is $200-ish. I haven't been to Napa in 15 years and don't know what's great and special at the moment. Suggestions, please?

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  1. Martini House in St. Helena has a great menu (including a mushroom tasting menu, focus on organic/local and the best purveyors of everything), dishes beautifully prepared. Prices will permit your friends to order a special celebratory wine.

    2 Replies
    1. re: dordogne

      Martini House was very good.
      We kept being told by locals how great La Toque was so aftre cancelling a reservation a week before we arrived we call that day and got in at 8:30. Might have been one of the most dissapointing meals I have ever had. Skip it.
      Redd was place I really wanted to try but could not get a last minute reservation.

      1. re: dordogne

        Dad just moved to Napa from Danville, and Martini House is certainly one of his faves--we go every time I visit No. Cal.

      2. We just returned from Napa. I'd heartily recommend Mustard's Grill. Tra Vigne was also excellent.

        1. I'm a huge fan of Mustard's also. I will also a plug about their service - I went with a friend who was recovering from chemo and she couldn't walk well AT ALL. I sent them an email in advance and explained the situation - we needed a table with easy access in and out if possible, blah, blah. Well, my friends arrived and the staff was waiting for them - they had saved us a great table that was very easy for her to get in and out of and they were very kind when greeting them. I was very impressed. I'd recommend that if you what night your friends are going you let the restaurant know in advance (wherever you end up sending them) and hopefully they will receive a nice greeting as well!

          1. If you want something really spectacular, CYRUS in Healdsburg (Sonoma). It is not in Napa but they will have a dinner they'll never forget!

            3 Replies
            1. re: Ashibi

              You couldn't do Cyrus for 2 for $200ish, though. Three courses start at $68. The Chef's Tasting Menu is $110. This does not include wine/beverages or gratuity.

              1. re: Ashibi

                If you want something really spectacular, I know a great place in Manhattan. Several in San Francisco, too. But I think the request was for a place in Napa.

                One of my favorites, in St Helena (Napa County), is Terra. Great food and wonderful setting.

                1. re: teleme

                  I second to TERRA. We had many wonderful dinners there, and it should be $200ish :)

              2. What you don't mention is your friends' interest and taste in wines. Without wine, or even with a couple of glasses of wine purchased by the glass, your budget would get your friends through anywhere other than French Laundry. Our favorites are concentrated in Yountville: Bistro Jeanty is country French bistro with a lot of classic bistro fare done very well. Over the years this has been a favorite because it is a little more casual and rustic, but last couple of trips out, while still great we felt they were down a notch. Bouchon is Thomas Kellers bistro, more upscale, higher energy, more refined dishes. And, Redd our new favorite (for the moment anyway) very modern, stark decor, the food is beautifully presented and excellent preparation. The menu seems to be a mix of comfort foods presented in a modern manner and more stylized preparations. Terra is an excellent choice and if they are in the stone room with the wine racks, I think it is more romantic than any I mentioned above. If they like Italian, I couldn't recommend Tra Vigne as it has really gone way downhill. Bistro Don Giovanni as you are leaving the city of Napa has good food, is known as a locals place, but note it is a larger restaurant so it doesn't have the intimacy of Redd, Jeanty, or Terra.

                I hope your friends enjoy.