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Jun 7, 2008 03:52 PM

1 Day in Napa

I'll be in Napa in mid-June to visit my girlfriend and need help on narrowing down recs.
If you had one day to eat in Napa, what would you do ? Excluding French Laundry, and any steak houses. Anything else is fair game.

We have a reservation for dinner at Bouchon but I have read many reports of indifferent or even rude service, this puts me off considering I have many fine dining options in Napa. Also, is it really that good ?

I am leaning towards Martini House or Terra. I appreciate all the help.

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  1. So I just called Terra and they are closed on Tuesday which is the day I will be in Napa. Any other recs above and beyond Bouchon ? I would be fine to go there but after hearing all the mixed reviews here about Bouchon, I'm having second thoughts.

    5 Replies
    1. re: oscarm

      What kind of food are you in the mood for?

      Without knowing anything more, I'd say that Redd is an easy pick overall.

      If you're feeling frisky, you could give Hurley's a try although it leans towards the grill side. Not as well known, but I think it's one of the more underrated restaurants in the area. Bistro Jeanty if you want more of that rustic French feel is a nice place for a date.

      We've been to Bouchon a number of times, and I don't think I've ever had anything approaching bad service although I got carded once by a new waiter and since I didn't have my driver's license, they wouldn't serve me wine at first (they did later.) The cheap laughs value was worth the initial annoyance.


      1. re: napaeats

        Thanks napaeats, I decided to set Bouchon for lunch (crosses fingers) and Redd for dinner. I did space them out so as not to induce food coma.

        1. re: oscarm

          For Redd, consider the tasting menu and wine pairing if the budget (and stomach space) allows for it. They'll usually try to serve different dishes to each of you, and you can steal some bites from each other's plate. You can tell who the serious couples are by how they deal with the other person picking at their food. ;-)

          1. re: napaeats

            I was at Redd last week for the Tasting menu with wine and loved everything. I was pleasantly surprised about the different dishes to each person. I was able to try 10 different things! My SO and I settled the "sharing the others' food" thing early on. We both agreed that not to do so would be a deal breaker.

        2. re: napaeats

          I agree about Hurley's. Won't blow you away, but consistently good, competent food. It is a bit of a sleeper.

      2. REDD is a good bet. So is Angele. I am surprised to see that no one has posetd about Ubuntu yet, as I have noticed a lot of people are die-hard fans and continue to recommend it. I truly think your best bet is REDD, but you should look online at the menus for Angele and Ubuntu to see if either might strike your fancy.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Michelle Grinnell

          Ubuntu is a pretty good idea for lunch for oscarm's trip. And you're less likely to be too full to enjoy your dinner at Redd, particularly if you go the tasting menu route. That Ubuntu doesn't make me think much about it being a "vegetable restaurant" is pretty impressive given how much I like eating critters.

          1. re: napaeats

            If I had one day to eat in Napa, I would have lunch at Ubuntu and dinner at Redd.

        2. I had a bad experience at Redd last week. Ordered fish and it came out chewy, as in grisly meat chewy, not calamari chewy. The rest of the food was okay but I had to send it back and it ruined the experience.

          2 Replies
          1. re: rappel75

            I'm trying to imagine how fish could have a grisly meat chewy texture. What kind of fish and how was it prepared?

            1. re: Junie D

              It was Skate and it seemed to be pan fried. There were murmurs after I sent it back about there being something wrong with it and I did not see anyone else with it the rest of the night.

          2. Just ate at Ad hoc and loved it. It's all you can eat and it's Thomas Keller for half the price.

            1. I second those negative reports on Bouchon. The tables are crammed together, the food is oversalted, and the service is terrible. We vow not to return. For a pleasant afternoon, spend lunch on the patio at Bistro Jeanty (fried smelts, escarole bacon egg salad, pike quenelles in lobster sauce) then off to Redd for dinner. The service is superb at both places and you won't be disappointed in the food.