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Mid-Range Dining in Napa

My boyfriend and I will be in San Francisco in a few weeks. We already have most of our dining planned out for San Francisco - thanks to this board. We plan on visiting Aziza, Canteen and possibly Myth or Bar Tartine during our stay.

We also plan to go back to a few of our favorites we experienced on our previous trip: Thep Phanom (which has the best Tom Kai Gai soup I've ever had) and Indian Oven (which happens to be right next door).

We're heading to Napa on Sunday and would love a dinner suggestion. We have a mid-range budget which means about $25-$30 per entree. We like any type of food and love a trendy (although not required) atmosphere. We're not sure where we're staying yet so it doesn't matter if it's close to our hotel. Most likely we'll stay at a B&B somwhere along the main strip.

I looked into Ad Hoc but it seems a bit pricey. I also tried a search for "Napa" and "Mid-range" on this board but really couldn't find anything so I apologize if this is a re-posted question.

Thanks for your help.

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  1. Would you consider vegetarian? The hottest ticket in town in Napa is Ubuntu - Chef Jeremy has come from Manresa and even non-vegetarians don't seem to notice the lack of meat. Cool plates run about $10 and hot plates about $15 - for the two of you, you could put together a handful of great dishes to share and not be disappointed OR leave hungry!

    If meat is required, I would suggest Zin's Valley. This is one of those places that is not anywhere near the main drag (hence, no tourists) and is frequented by locals; hearty, well-prepared food considerably less expensive than the likes of Redd or Ad Hoc.

    1. Ad Hoc is $48 for 4 courses - that's actually less than I usually pay at restaurants where the entrees run $25-30. What's your target total cost of dinner?

      The rest of your trip looks excellent (although you may want to check in re: Myth before you get here - I think major personnel changes are supposed to happen this month, if they haven't already).

      1. Regarding Napa, I second the Zin's Valley suggestion, but I'd say it's a cozy, not trendy atmosphere. It can be a bit hard to find. I'm always pleased at Zuzu, which is Spanish & Latin American influenced small plates in a lively atmosphere, with no reservations needed. Both are in the city of Napa.

        1. Bistro Don Giovanni, Tre Vigne and Mustards' Grill are three old-line places on the highway that are bankably good, every time. Prices are very reasonable. The Napa wing of my family treated Don Giovanni like an extension of their living room for years. Not fancy, not trendy. Just a nice overall value proposition.

          Sushi Monster

          7 Replies
          1. re: Sushi Monster

            Hey SM great list but possibly misplaced.

            1. re: wolfe

              My apologies. Upon reading the original query again, they were looking for someplace in the city limits of Napa, rather than up-valley?

              Sushi Monster

              1. re: Sushi Monster

                I dunno. If you have a car, there's no reason to limit Napa dining to the city limits.

                1. re: Morton the Mousse

                  Since the OP mentioned Ad Hoc I assumed Napa County rather than the city of Napa.

                2. re: Sushi Monster

                  It's not the locations.It's the addition of your spectacular page, both visually and information-wise , on sushi places on the peninsula.

                  1. re: wolfe

                    WOW, Sushi Monster. That IS a rockin' website. Very nice job. Ooo-wee!

              2. re: Sushi Monster

                Longtime Napa Valley resident here, and I had one of single worst restaurant meals of my lilfe at Mustards recently. Very much off their game, and even their
                signature dishes suffered from lazy execution: that is, dishes at the table weren't as advertised. Missing spices, undercooked (raw) entrees.Take a pass.

                However, I can heartily recommend Ubuntu. I recently wrote, in another thread:
                Though I am an carnivore, I never felt anything less than full satisfaction from the developed flavors of every single dish. I was dazzled. Truly.
                Another thing: fantastic music, piped in.
                And I love the stone walls, the warmth of the lighting, the feel of the place.
                And last, when you walk into the restaurant, it smells FANTASTIC. Like great food.

                Can also recommend Bistro Don Giovanni, which is just at the north end of the city of Napa, right off Highway 29.

                Farther upvalley, Terra is amazing. Martini House is wonderful. Redd is great but I don't care for the environment there (too noisy, acoustics are too bright, aesthetically cold). The bar at Tra Vigne is good, but I've found most dishes lack a depth of flavor -- very disappointing lately. And pricey for alll that disappointment.

                And yes to Ad Hoc. But check into the daily prix fixe meal to make sure it's to your liking.

                I just did a search on zinsvalley on this board because I recalled a number of recent posts have given it not so favorable reviews. Even though a couple of posters here have commented favorably.

                Have a wonderful time.

              3. When was the last time you visited Indian Oven and Thep Phanom? General consensus seems to be that they're both bast their prime.

                Second the Ubuntu rec in Napa. Incredible food, very reasonable prices, will change the way you think about vegetable cuisine. Skip dessert.

                1. I've been dining in the Napa area quite a bit now as my BF lives there. Barber's Q is some really good bbq in a classy, cute restaurant. Redd is delicious and we have shared three to four small plates and been totally full and loved it all. I also think Ubuntu is great, but would send you to Redd first

                  1. Any current reports on Indian Oven? Last time I was there, it was very dumbed down. It turns out the chef I used to like at Indian Oven opened his own place, Aslam's Rasoi, on Valencia, which has been good the 2 or 3 times I've been. Price to quality, it's probably not the best in the city, but it's pretty good and neither cheap nor expensive.

                    1. Zuzu's is in downtown Napa. It's one my new favorite places to dine at when visiting the area. Prices are very reasonable and they have a very tasty selection of tapas.

                      829 Main St, Napa, CA 94559