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First time Dining in Napa Area

j
JECJimmy Apr 4, 2008 02:17 PM

hello fellow chowhounders (is this the correct term?), I'm going to be going up to Napa Valley in the coming weeks and I'm interested in some feedback as to what restaurants are a "must visit". Money isn't much of an issue, I've tried to do some research and below are a few restaurants that I'm looking into visiting.

Bistro Don Giovanni
Etoile
Julia's Kitchen
Martini House
Redd
Restaurant at Meadowood
Terra
Ubuntu
Zuzu
(as you can tell, my "research" is just the top restaurants on sfgate's list, hehe)

If you guys have any comments it would be greatly appreciated. Oh, and my priority is delicious food, wine is second, so if a place has mouth orgasmic food but just "eh" wine, I don't mind (not going to Napa for wine? blasphemy!!).

On these boards it seems as though Ubuntu and Zuzu seem to be consistently recommended. Are there any others or some on the list that I should ignore?

Thanks again folks!

  1. michengr Apr 9, 2008 09:33 PM

    1) You absolutely must visit one of Thomas Kellers restaurants:
    - The French Laundry (at this time, likely impossible to get a reservation)
    - Ad Hoc, family style served food and lots of it - you can go for Sunday brunch
    - Bouchon, my favorite French Bistro. Everything on the menu is awesome, but I recommend the chicken, lamb, hanger steak, or seafood platter.

    2) Bistro Don Giovanni is the one of the oldest restaurants in the valley and although I've never been, I've also read good reviews about this place (planning on going my next trip up)

    3) Bistro Jeanty is also really good, standard French classic dishes.. i.e. coq au vin But the dishes are really well prepared. My last time there we ate on the patio for dinner (they have heating lamps out there), but we were eating until quite late and the waiter left us out there after everyone had gone!! He completely forgot, and I'd give the restaurant another shot, but eating indoors.. ;)

    1 Reply
    1. re: michengr
      f
      fdb Apr 9, 2008 10:13 PM

      The cancellation policy at TFL is 72 hours so sometimes reservation would come up on Opentable 2 or 3 days prior to the desired date.

    2. Morton the Mousse Apr 9, 2008 05:48 PM

      I'd add Ad Hoc for fried chicken nights. Best fried chicken on the planet. They offer it on alternate Mondays and Wednesdays, call ahead to find out if it will be offered while you're in town.

      1. f
        fdb Apr 9, 2008 10:37 AM

        We had a lunch at Ubuntu and dinners at the French Laundry, Ad Hoc, and Bistro Jeanty on our trip to Napa last weekend. Ubuntu stood out as the most enjoyable dining experience. Beautiful space, freshest ingredients, pleasant services, and excellent cooking that brings out the essence of each ingredient. Their pizzas were one of the best I've tasted.

        2 Replies
        1. re: fdb
          l
          LesThePress Apr 9, 2008 02:24 PM

          We had dinner at Redd last Sunday night and everything was perfect. I think it was one of the best meals we've ever had in Napa, and that includes the French Laundry!!

          We haven't been to Mustard's for a long time so we stopped in for lunch and it's every bit as good as we remembered it! I liked it better for lunch as it was much quieter - my memories of having dinner there once was very crowded and noisy.

          1. re: LesThePress
            f
            fdb Apr 9, 2008 05:57 PM

            Too bad we cancelled our reservation at Redd. Will put that on the top of our list next time.

        2. d
          Doodleboomer Apr 4, 2008 07:15 PM

          one other place to check out...not fine dining, not wine-oriented, but we just went to La Taquiza, which is known for it's fish tacos. It's in the mini-mall by Vallergas on Redwood and Solano Roads, just off 29. Great, spicy, goes well with a beer. We had the fish and the octopus tacos

          1 Reply
          1. re: Doodleboomer
            j
            JECJimmy Apr 8, 2008 03:46 PM

            Thanks doodleboome, off to go eat

          2. d
            Doodleboomer Apr 4, 2008 06:52 PM

            Here's my firsthand knowledge of Napa Valley eating:
            1. Zuzu-v. cute, good food, a bit pricey because it truly is tapas, great wine
            2. Ubuntu-only been once, unique, fun, delicious, great wine and food
            3. Boont Fly Cafe-awesome breakfast, hands down one of my fave places to eat
            4. The Farm at Carneros-good, solid food, can eat outside and it's beautiful, good wine
            5. Redd-one of my favorite for bar or table-great wine, food is just out of this world
            6. Martini House-go to the bar, eat and drink there
            7. Julia's Kitchen-no experience, but heard not so much to draw me
            8. Going to Terra next week, can let you know
            9. Auberge de Soleil-go either to the bar for solid burger, world-renowned view, and great wine. Go to the restaurant for the same view, an expensive but inventive and wonderful meal
            10. BDG-solid Italian food, wonderful atmosphere, good wine,
            11. SolBar at Solage-great outdoor atmosphere, good for midweek lunch, or dinner, great drinks, good and inventive menu

            If I were there for three days and had to eat at must visits I'd definetly go to Redd, Ubuntu, Boont Fly Cafe, Auberge, and hopefully I can also say Terra after next Thursday

            1. maria lorraine Apr 4, 2008 05:20 PM

              Please do a search using each restaurant name as your search term.

              There's an abundance of info available -- right under your nose. And many recent posts.

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