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Napa Dining, Where to go??

  • j

I'm in Napa for 6 days. So far I've booked: Angele', Bouchon, Redd, Farm at the Carneros Inn and Chez Panisse on the way to the airport. I'm on the FL wait list, but I'm not holding my breath.

I have an open night for Weds. I'm looking for something different at any price point. I've done all of Cindy Pawclyns places and all of the "usual suspects". I love Pilar but they are closed. Any and all suggestions welcome!!

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  1. My all-time favorite place to dine in the Valley is Bistro Jeanty in Yountville. It's one of those places I would like to be close enough to be a "regular!"

    1. We have dined at the MArket Resteraunt in St. Helena and really enjoyed it. The price point is on the lower side and they offer a great dessert, make your own smores. They bring a flaming pot tot he table, with their own grahm crackers, it was really good.

      1. Last time in the area I had a nice meal at Cole's Chop House in Napa.


        Here's a in depth review from an earlier poster.


        1 Reply
        1. re: ocaladevil

          I heard Cole's just lost their manager-superstar. Not sure if it's had any impact on the food.

        2. Ad Hoc is casual and delicious. You can check their website or call for the days menu.

          Other places I would recommend would be Auberge du Soliel or Meadowood.

          2 Replies
          1. re: sugarNspice

            I'm sorry to disagree. Meadowood has lost their chef, and I wouldn't recommend Auberge, in light of other far better options at lower prices, in a zillion years. Good for a cocktail on the terrace but not much more.

            1. re: sugarNspice

              Oh, I second the Ad Hoc recommendation! Dinner was FUN!

            2. Terra is wonderful, Michelin-starred and reasonable for the food and the care they take to get it to you. The people are superb hosts and service is impeccable--the diner is made to feel welcome and at home with no attitude. Cyrus is also damn good. Terra is in St. Helena only a little way from Napa.


              1. I had an incredible meal at Ubuntu a couple of weeks ago. Definitely falls into the new and different category. A welcome change from the upscale bistros and new american spots that seem to dominate the Napa dining scene. Here is my report:


                1. Press is another great one if you like steak!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: layla100

                    Love Terra -- the best IMO. Also love Ubuntu and Press.

                  2. Ubuntu! I have had two incredible meals there in the last 2 months. This is amazing fare and not to be missed.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: happenstance

                      I just made my ressie for Ubuntu. How is the wine list??

                      1. re: jp62

                        Ubuntu wine list is competitive and well priced. I had a terrific bottle of Hanzell Chardonnay for around $85 recently. I truly enjoy Ubuntu!
                        Terra is always good and so is Meadowood restaurant. I like the feel-good conviviality of Bistro Jeanty. Huge portions and paltry number of white wines, but I almost always leave very happy.

                        1. re: jp62

                          I had the wine pairings with the tasting menu, and they were good - very good - but not quite as inspired as one might expect in the heart of napa. The star is the food and the wine list won't disappoint but won't knock your socks clean off your feet.

                          Since you requested "something different" I think Ubuntu is a must. You should contact them directly about the Tuesday dinner thing, and the tasting menu, to see if you might get lucky. Either is an exceptional experience.

                      2. FYI, from the lone sticky topic here:

                        "Where should we go in wine country?
                        Search terms to try: Napa, Sonoma, plus towns within the counties. For Napa, also search Calistoga, St. Helena, Yountville, Silverado Trail. For Sonoma, also search Healdsburg, Russian River Valley.
                        Napa and Sonoma are the names of both towns and counties, so you will find recommendations for both."

                        1. Don't miss The Boon Fly Cafe for breakfast. We've been several times, and each time we say it's one of the best breakfasts ever. It's packed with locals, and it's delicious. Definitely go to Boon Fly for breakfast while you're there -- don't miss that.

                          Two days ago, I had lunch with foodie friends who live in Napa, and they said that Farm at Carneros Inn is not that good. I heard the same thing a month ago, and so we didn't go there when we stayed at Carneros Inn in January. My friends raved about Ad Hoc, Bouchon, and Angele, and I agree with them. You should keep your reservations at Bouchon and Angele, and you should definitley go to Ad Hoc.

                          Here are some other excellent options, in no particular order:

                          1. 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
                          2. 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.
                          3. Bouchon Bakery (breakfast) -- get there early, grab a latte and a bag of the best scones, croissants, and other treats you'll ever eat.
                          4. 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.
                          5. Bistro Jeanty (lunch or dinner) -- Napa's version of the classic French bistro
                          6. Ad Hoc (dinner) -- Thomas Keller transforms rustic, family-style dining with outstanding results. This is a local favorite.
                          7. 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.
                          8. Martini House (lunch or dinner) -- I haven't personally been here yet, but I frequently hear great things about this place.

                          Have a great time!