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Feb 20, 2008 11:23 PM

Besides FL, where to eat in Napa Valley?

I'm very excited about going to Napa Valley for the first time in April. We'll be staying in Yountville for 3 nights, and have a reservation at French Laundry on Sunday night. Please recommend breakfast, lunch, dinner (Sat. & Mon.) and wineries for this first-timer who wishes to taste the best of Napa. Thanks.

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  1. Bouchon Bakery is a great place for a lite breakfast. It is not a sitdown place but they do have a great patio.

    Lunch is great for picnics. Oakville Grocery at the intersection of Oakville Cross Road and Route 29 is a great place to get get stuff. (REALLY GOOD STUFF)

    Bistro Jeanty (spelling?) is great!!!! for a dinner. I think it is near Bouchon

    Go do a few "big" wineries for fun. Opus is beatiful but reservations have to be made for a tour. The tasting room is $25 for a tasting (small tasting) and you DO NOT get to keep the glass.

    Vincent Arroyo has free tastings and is at 2361 Greenwood Ave., Calistoga, CA. He is fun and somewhat escentric. It is a place where you do tastings out of the barrel and learn a lot in the process. He also does olive oil and port. BTW his is the ONLY wine club I joined. I think he is just a nice farmer.

    Silverado is a beautiful place we enjoyed.

    Stags Leap (1st ones to beat the french) was a waste. I don't believe that the people there think that thier own butts smell. (trying to put it nicely) Workers were very suck on themselves and I think it was supposed to be an honor for us to be there.

    Goosecreek was good. Friendly people.

    So many others but these stick out.

    Take a GPS almost all wineries are on them and the GPS will probably have the phone numbers for them also.
    REMEBER some places you are required to call ahead.

    If you have a GPS and you have a hour or so and don't know where to go, my GPS Garmin c330 has a catagory for wineries. It lined them up in order of distance and we just called and stopped at each on. FUN!!

    I did not think the wine train was worth the cost. We had lunch on it. It took up to much "wine time"

    I wish I was going with you. NAPA was the first time in my life that I have ever been so relaxed I felt my blood pressure drop. My wife had to remind me that it was OK "this is what relaxed feels like".

    3 Replies
    1. re: JB BANNISTER

      I love Opus One.

      Is there a comprehensive website for all the wineries in the valley?

      1. re: fdb

        Here's my Google maps to the Napa and Sonoma wineries.

        It has links to the SF Chronicle which has lots of info about the wineries though some of it is a little dated.

        It also has links to each winery website and the Chow database for any Chowhound info, if any.

        As I find resources (like good articles or websites), I'll update the maps. Will also update as I visit them ... like this ...

        I put all the wineries in the Chow database so if you search 'winery' and Napa or Sonoma on this site there will be alot of that same info there.

        For some of these, I noticed Melanie Wong, who is very knowledable about wine, has added some tips and hints like these

        I really appreciate that since it points me to some wineries I might want to visit first.

    2. We were just there a couple weeks ago for a weekend dining adventure -- we hit the French Laundry and had one of the best breakfasts ever at The Boon Fly Cafe. I highly recommend that place. The atmosphere...the food...the service...the food...did I say food? It's packed with locals, and it's delicious. Definitely go to Boon Fly for breakfast while you're there -- don't miss that.

      There are so many good food options. It all depends on what you're in the mood for. But here are some can't-miss and definite must-do options (with my suggestion for when you should go in parenthesis):

      1. Bouchon (dinner) -- excellent food in a hip but upscale bistro setting
      2. Rutherford Grill (lunch) -- another favorite with locals, they congregate at the outdoor bar over knife-and-fork ribs that literally fall apart when you touch them they're so tender
      3. Taylor's Refresher (lunch) -- a throwback to the 50's, this places serves an outrageous burger and won the 2006 James Beard Award. A good option for Monday lunch after your FL dinner on Sunday night.
      4. Bouchon Bakery (breakfast) -- sure, you can't sit down, but get there early, grab a latte and a bag of the best scones, croissants, and other treats you'll ever eat.
      5. Auberge du Soleil (breakfast/lunch/dinner) -- truly, if you want a flawless experience, in terms of food and service and atmosphere and everything else, pay a visit to this landmark inn and its restaurant. It's pricey but it's worth it.
      6. Bistro Jeanty (lunch or dinner) -- Napa's version of the classic French bistro
      7. Ad Hoc (dinner) -- If you want more Thomas Keller, this is your place. Here he transforms rustic, family-style dining with outstanding results.
      8. Mustard's (lunch or dinner) -- It's been around for a long time, but there's a reason for that. This place produces some of the most consistent, best food in the Valley. It's not new, and it's not trendy, but it's consistent and very popular.
      9. Angele (brunch, lunch or dinner) -- This is the one place on this list that I haven't personally been to, but I've heard from several sources that they make the best burger in the Valley.

      One note -- do eat something on Sunday before you go to FL. Don't go on an empty stomach. Don't eat a lot, of course, but put something in your stomach throughout the day on Sunday. Otherwise, your stomach will shrink and contract by the time you get to dinner. I can't tell you how many FL "regulars" and Napa locals have told us that. And they are right! I know it's counter-intuitive, but it's true.

      Have fun! Happy eating!

      2 Replies
      1. re: foodiesf

        I forgot about Mustard's. Great place!!

        1. re: foodiesf

          Auberge du Soleil is in a beautiful setting; has a terrific waitstaff, and great wine list. But when it comes to their food, the price does not equal the quality. Over-rated food, in my opinion and experience.

        2. I'd recommend Redd for your Saturday dinner. It's not too innovative but just enough so and simply very tasty. The hamachi with sticky rice sounds like another boring raw opener but is excellent. His fish entrees are more dynamic than the meat entrees. I believe Chef Reddington was the one responsible for making Auberge's cuisine famous.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Porthos

            Is Redd similar to FL?

            How about Terra? I like Ame a lot. Is Terra similar to Ame?

            1. re: fdb

              No. Redd is totally different from TFL. It's more modern and minimalist in decor, louder, more causal. The food is tasty and layered in flavors but not fussy. It's not boring though. The frozen chai tea dessert was very good as was the aforementioned hamachi with sticky rice. Add a fish entree to that and you'll have a very unpretentious and enjoyable evening.

          2. For your fist time in Napa, you can't really go wrong with one of the originals like Mondavi winery or the larger Rubicon Estate (formerly Coppola Winery). The Mondavi tour offers a nice introduction to the wine making process and Rubicon shares a lot about the history of Napa Valley. If you want to take in some of the beautiful scenery of the valley, I'd suggest Artesa Winery, located in the hills. For something a little smaller where's it's all about the wine, my favorite is Pine Ridge.

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