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Jan 7, 2008 01:29 PM

Need help with St Helena dinner picks

Well it's been awhile since we have stayed up in the wine country. My SO is having a significant bday and the aunty is watching the kids so we have two nights away in St Helena. I had originally booked Martini House for Saturday night. When I was looking at the online menu to help select another restaurant for Friday, it didn't look as appealing and my so doesn't care for mushrooms. So I'm back to the drawing board. Thanks to a help from a friend, I've selected Go Fish for Friday and looking at either Market or Cook for Saturday. Press is a possibility but don't really want a steak house even a nice one.

Since we are staying in St Helena and will be driving up on Friday and wine tasting on Saturday, I don't want to drive after freshening up back at the inn. So any recommendations for St Helena dining options is appreciated.

I could also use a brunchy lunch spot for Saturday or Sunday too if you have any recs. These don't have to be in St Helena. I haven't researched these yet, so will do so on the board. Thanks for your help.

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  1. My daughter has been raving about Go Fish. She doesn't often rave about anything.

    1. Terra would be my first choice (definitely over market or Cook). I would immediately dismiss Press as overpriced and over-hyped.

      You didn't indicate when all this was happening as Meadowood is getting stellar reviews but their chef is leaving -- I believe at the end of February. Might be a great choice before he heads out.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Carrie 218

        You know our last outstanding meal up in that area was at Terra many moons ago when they still had the Thai salmon on the menu. I was wanting to try something new but maybe we should give it a go. I still think it is a lovely place and I think Meadowood might be a little too fussy for us but I'll take another took at the menu.

        1. re: Cheesy Oysters

          Meadowood isn't fussy, it's classy, elegant, wonderful food. A bit pricey. Eat there by the end of January before their 2-star chef leaves. Here's my report:

          I adore Terra. My favorite overall in Napa Valley. Fantastic wine list, and wonderful
          master sommelier with great people skills. Martini House is wonderful. They do offer other menu items other than the mushroom special menu, don't they?

          I really like Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen. Regular burger and the fantastic ground duck burger with shiitake catsup. Short ribs great also. Some recent threads on Cindy's,
          and actually on all these restos. Do a search on this board and read more.

          Nix on Cook, food is only average, and the resto is teeny. I think the food at Go Fish is below average. Sushi OK, but other things are poorly executed. Kind of an upscale Red Lobster. I'm not a fan either of Market (great French fries, though).

      2. I would deffinitely go to Martini House over Market or Cook, although I do like Market for what it is. I've neve rbeen to Terra but its newer big brother in SF (Ame) is awesome.

        1. Terra is great but they close for winter, I believe 1st 2 weeks of Jan. so check. Since you mentioned special occasion, I would second Meadwood. The food is outstanding; well the 2 Michelin stars are well-deserved. Martini House serves more than a mushroom menu and that would be my second choice for you if Terra is in fact closed on your weekend. Market and Cook are both very simple places offering very simple food. Pawlcyn's places are a step up from those. CIA is it's own special animal and the food can be very good, but it too may be closed. Lots of winter breaks around here....

          1. All of those are good choices. To me, a significant bday dinner would be either La Touque, Martini House, Meadowood or Auberge. My wife and I went to Meadowood for Valentines dinner last year (as well as one other time) and both meals were BEYOND. The chef is leaving soon and though the Executive Chef is spectacular (Vincent) I don't know if he will step in for a while or what. La Touque has not been mentioned. My staff calls this the poor man's French Laundry. The food is a little too 'subtle' for my clumsy palate, but it is certainly a wonderful experience. Auberge du Soliel is really doing a remarkable job these days. They went through some really rough years where the food was subpar and their attitude stunk. They still have a bit of attitude, but the food is really good. Martini House also has a bit of attitude, but it is a beautiful spot and ... come to think of it, last time I ate there I had trouble finding something that appealed to me. So, all these places are a bit fussy, but for a significant bday they would be my choice.

            I don't know of anything brunchy in the area. If you want a great experience with no fuss whatsoever, go to Buster's BBQ in Calistoga for one lunch. HOWEVER, even if you like hot stuff, do not go for his hot BBQ sauce. I do 50/50 with the regular and it still makes my hair sweat. Maybe a drive up to Healdsburg and find something on the square. There are plenty of fun wineries on the way and the square is fun too.

            3 Replies
            1. re: StHelenaInnkeeper

              Yeah, I've been reading some good things abour Robert Curry at Auberge de Soliel which has me interested in stopping by. A nice background summary here.

              1. re: StHelenaInnkeeper

                I'm afraid I am a LaToque detractor. Horribly inconsistent food that is too much of a crap shoot for a special occasion.

                1. re: Carrie 218

                  I'm afraid I am Le Toque detractor as well. Everything Carrie says.