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Vineyard Dining in Napa/Sonoma

plokre Sep 4, 2007 10:52 AM

Will be visiting Napa in early November with a group of 8 - we were looking for a vineyard that also has a good restaurant since we won't get to the tastings in time on our first day there. Anyone have any ideas for a semi-large group in either Napa or Sonoma? Have heard Domaine Chandon has a restaurant - any reviews? We are staying in Yountville so open to non-vineyard restaurant ideas that have good views/menus. Thanks!

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  1. Carrie 218 RE: plokre Sep 4, 2007 02:36 PM

    Non-vineyard, my favorite Napa restaurant is Pilar. If a view is important, book an outside table at Mustard's or Brix (neither of which are particular favorites of mine).

    1. s
      stebro RE: plokre Sep 4, 2007 03:42 PM

      Haven't been to Domaine Chandon in several years, but it has always been very good with great atmosphere, although pricey. Domaine Chandon is the only winery in the Napa Valley that has a restaurant which is open to the public. Other possibilities around Yountville are Redd, Bistro Don Giovanni, Ad Hoc (Thomas Keller's newest restaurant--no menu choices), Bistro Jeanty, Bouchon.

      1. Robert Lauriston RE: plokre Sep 4, 2007 05:51 PM

        Vineyards with restaurants are rare since restaurants (and most other businesses except wineries and tasting rooms) are banned in wine-growing agricultural areas.

        Does Domaine Chandon have any vineyards at the winery?

        2 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston
          Carrie 218 RE: Robert Lauriston Sep 4, 2007 06:08 PM

          Yes, although I think they are more visible from the tasting room which does serve food. (I've only been to the restaurant at night, so I don't know what is visible from there....)

          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            maria lorraine RE: Robert Lauriston Sep 6, 2007 06:16 AM

            The vineyards are in the surrounding hills...not really visible from the winery.

            Not sure Domaine Chandon has their act together regarding food...please check
            with others who have actually dined there in the last few months. They've lost a series of chefs over the past 4 years, and have never regained their footing since Philippe Jeanty.

          2. BernaDiva RE: plokre Sep 4, 2007 06:17 PM

            When one stays in Napa Valley, they must attempt to try one of the Yountville Thomas Keller Trifecta - The French Laundry, Bouchon, and Ad Hoc. Personally, I love Ad Hoc as it is family style dining, prix fixe, and they have a great wine list. We've gone there numerous times with a group of eight and it was no problem. Make sure to get a reservation. You can also try Auberge du Soleil, though it is a bit spendy in my opinion.

            (If you can't already tell, I'm a huge TK fan. I can't help it. The man is a genius.)

            1. Melanie Wong RE: plokre Sep 4, 2007 06:43 PM

              John Ash & Co. in Santa Rosa (Sonoma County). It's been several years since I've eaten there, so can't offer a personal opinion on the food now. But here's the panorama tour,

              John Ash & Co
              4330 Barnes Rd., Santa Rosa, CA 95403

              1 Reply
              1. re: Melanie Wong
                Eat_Nopal RE: Melanie Wong Sep 5, 2007 12:22 PM

                Great view... mediocre food.

              2. p
                plokre RE: plokre Sep 5, 2007 06:11 AM

                Thanks all! Will check into all these suggestions and definitely look at Ad Hoc and see if they can accomodate some vegeterians we have in the group.

                1 Reply
                1. re: plokre
                  strephking RE: plokre Sep 5, 2007 07:51 PM

                  TK has an entire vegetarian menu at French Laundry; so i can imagine that they would help you out at Ad Hoc.

                2. sgwood415 RE: plokre Sep 5, 2007 07:45 AM

                  Another popular spot to experience the vineyard view is the deck at the CIA Greystone. It's the old Christian Brothers winery; a beautiful old stone building that's now part of the Culinary Institute of America. They have a restaurant with a patio area that has a great view of the vineyards below. We like to order a couple of small plates and glasses of wine and sit out there to take in the scenery. They also have tours of the facility, cooking demos, a cooking store, and some fun displays. (note: the store is kind of pricey, but it's a fun place to browse).

                  Greystone Restaurant
                  2555 Main St St, Helena, CA

                  1. Mr. S RE: plokre Sep 5, 2007 09:40 PM

                    Auberge du Soleil. Should be what you're looking for.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Mr. S
                      maria lorraine RE: Mr. S Sep 6, 2007 06:20 AM

                      Great view, phenomenal view, but how's the food? It's pricey, to start...

                      Anyone have any recent experiences dining at Auberge du Soleil?

                      In the valley, it's known as a place to have a drink and then leave to dine elsewhere.

                      1. re: maria lorraine
                        LulusMom RE: maria lorraine Sep 11, 2007 11:39 AM

                        We had lunch at Auberge in February, mostly to take advantage of the views. The food was fine, not outstanding but definitely good enough that we didn't feel ripped off for the chance to sit and look out over the valley.

                        1. re: LulusMom
                          Quattrociocchi RE: LulusMom Sep 11, 2007 05:37 PM

                          Went to Napa in April - had lunch at Domain Chandon - I thought the food was excellent and would recommend it. Also went to Tra Vigna - what a disappointment after so much hype. Finally, for a spectacular view and dinner, consider Signorello - check out the website for a panoramic view. Our dinner there was very good, but not excellent. Sadly, it was pouring rain when we went... We were with a group of 20 people and someone managed to arrange a private dinner at the Francis Ford Coppola winery...man, one of the most memorable meals of my life.

                    2. wearybashful RE: plokre Sep 10, 2007 04:27 PM

                      You didn't say what time, but if you're having dinner in November it will be too dark for views. Francis Ford Coppola's new winery building is the old Chateau Souveraine in Geyserville, dramatic building, vineyards, wine tasting, movie stuff, and a cafe, but only open 11 am to 4:30 pm.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: wearybashful
                        stebro RE: wearybashful Sep 11, 2007 12:20 PM

                        Don't waste your time going to the restaurant at Coppola's Geyserville winery. It's a pizza parlor, and not a good one. The service was terrible. The interior has been trashed with cheap decorations. Really sad because Chateau Souverain, which used to be at this location, had a wonderful restaurant with great atmosphere. It was a treat to go there. Not any more.

                      2. misswills RE: plokre Sep 10, 2007 08:23 PM

                        My favorite non-vineyard restaurant is Martini House. Really neat vibe going on inside with the bar and decor.

                        I haven't eaten at Tra Vigne, so I can't attest to the food, but it seems to have something fairly close to what you're looking for in terms of a restaurant with views of vines. It's got a nice outdoor eating patio, though I'm not sure how much you can see since I haven't actually eaten there (just driven by many times).

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