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I only have two dinners and one lunch in Napa

I need two dinner places and one place for a late lunch in Napa. Here are the places that I would like to try...but I am having a hard time narrowing down. Which is the better place for lunch? dinner?

Don Giovanni (I have read great things about this place, how is the atmosphere)
Mustards grill
Cindy's Backstreet
Terra
Vigne

I would love to go to Auberge...but I think it is too pricey for our budget. Would you recommend it for an aperitif before dinner? I keep reading about the view...that is really why I want to visit.

On another note, I am also visiting Gold Country (I am a nyc teacher teaching 4th grade history for the first time!) . We are going to Coloma- GRass Valley region. We are ending up where my brother-in-law lives in SAn Andreas.Any good rec's would be appreciated!!

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  1. "Don Giovanni (I have read great things about this place, how is the atmosphere)
    Mustards grill
    Cindy's Backstreet"

    These three I have found to be extremely over rated and very touristy.

    Terra is a must though. Excellent, if they have eel or sweetbreads on the menu make sure to order.
    Try Pilar in downtown Napa, or Celedon instead of the others.

    4 Replies
    1. re: lebelage

      Pilar, Pilar, Pilar - an absolute must.

      Don Giovanni is better in winter when the tourists have left.

      Bistro Jeanty for lunch but don't order mains - order smelts, steak tartare, pate

      Bouchon for oysters and croque madame

      1. re: lizziee

        thanks! I think I am leaning towards Pilar for one night, and Don Giovanni (I love Italian, it's in my blood!) and probably Bistro Jeanty for lunch

        1. re: italiana3

          I think if you're going to be in the heartland of California cuisine, you should eat at least one California cuisine meal. You can have French or Italian anywhere (especially NYC). JMHO.

      2. re: lebelage

        We ate at Cindy's on a Mon. night almost two weeks ago and didn't find it touristy at all. In fact, I felt like we were the lone tourists in the room. It looked like alot of locals were in the house as they exuded a low-key, "regulars" vibe. It may just depend on the night of the week.

        I did find our meal uneven; some parts were outstanding while other parts were lacking. I'll elaborate on my Day 2 Napa/Sonoma report. The menu may be hit-or-miss, but I'd return for lunch to try their duck burger, rabbit tostada, or housemade soup.

        Thanks for the Celadon tip; never came across it in my travels. What do you like there?
        http://www.celadonnapa.com/

      3. Once again, Napa city or napa valley.
        Good enough for the Ferry Plaza good enough for lunch in the Napa Valley ,St Helena.
        http://www.taylorsrefresher.com.
        I'm sure he has heard it before but it is nobodies fault but his own.

        1. Try Market or Cook for lunch, both are local favorites and you get too much of the touristy thing like all of the other restaurants in the valley. Martini House is great for dinner (get a table on the patio) and if you like Sushi I definitly recommend CC Blue

          1. Great lineup - Take it from a local - You can skip Auberge, it's not worth the hype - but the view rocks. Cindy's is a good choice - you have to have the oysters on the appetizer menu. Terra is your number one choice. Tra Vigne used to be great, but has gotten rocky. Please get over to Rutheford Grill for lunch - Seamus will fix you up. Between Cyndi P's two joints - I'd take Backstreet Cafe over Mustards. I personally LOVE Don Giovanni.

            1. auberge is breath taking... so beautiful... but pricey.

              i would try adhoc- very simple, very good, and inexpensive!!!!!!!

              5 Replies
              1. re: livnihs05

                Well, I made my reservations for the two nights
                Terra (I could only get 830...which is fine because we will be out and about all day)
                We will go to Auberge for an aperitif...
                Market (my other dinner reservation. I really liked the menu and the website..and I have read good things about it here on other posts)
                we have one more meal..but it is going to be an early dinner because we are driving down to grass valley. I made two reservations, one at cindy;'s backstreet the other at Mustards.
                I really wanted to go to don giovanni (look at my handle!) but I am from nyc and I will be going home later in the summer for three weeks. I figured I could have my Italian restaurants when I am there.
                Thanks for all of your help! I really appreciate it! I am addicted to this website!!!

                1. re: italiana3

                  The Mongolian pork chop at Mustard's is to die for - and I don't even like pork usually!

                  1. re: dinnerout

                    I will put that in my mental computer!! :)

                  2. re: italiana3

                    I sure hope you have a better experience at Terra than we did. We had the most disappointing meal of the year at Terra. some of the dishes were fabulous, the sweetbreads were overcooked and dry. When we asked the waiter to take them back, he shrugged and told us they were "supposed to be that way!" We asked to speak to the chef or manager, and were told none was available.

                    We had already sent our cards to the back of the house (we are both chefs).

                    The other wait person who served our table was as clueless as the first.

                    We've never recommended Terra since. Way too expensive for such antics.

                    OTOH, LOVED Bistro Jeanty! The Beef Cheeks, the filet of sole, the Daube, everything! and also love Cindy's Backstreet, but it is much more casual than the other two places.

                    1. re: ChefJune

                      That experience is absolutely horrible. I'm sorry that happened to you. it deserves a letter to Hiro Sone. Write him, and tell him briefly what happened. Disclaimer: I know the manager at Terra well, and I'm sorry he wasn't able to help you that evening. Terra wasn't nominated for a James Beard Award for Service for nothing. Sounds like the restaurant management was away and the restaurant was really off its game. Please write Hiro. For further help, you can write me at the email on my profile.