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Another cheap dining question, now in Napa

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Ok so anyone who looks at my posts will know cheap but good quality is a recurrent theme. What can I say, the economy sucks, and fine dining was the first on the chopping block.

Anyways boyfriend's best friend has a new girl and they are going for a weekend to Napa. Friend wants us to join them for dinner to meet her and I assume break the tension a bit! Friend is already splurging on the wine train (wouldn't be how I spend money) so he is with us on not wanting to spend a ton on dinner. My dilemma is that we are driving 45 minutes each way for a very rare nice dinner without child in tow. All the destination places seem to be $30 plus an entree which is out of our range. I've searched the boards but the cheaper places seem to get mixed ratings. So my question is what places would you recommend AND what dish is consistently good (especially at a hit and miss place) Hopefully this place exists because I can't remember the last time we spent more the $30 total on dinner (sigh..) Being such a foodie I would love a memorable meal. Thanks in advance!

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  1. It would probably be helpful to add that we would like to spend around $30ish a person including a glass of wine, tax and tip. I'm crossing my fingers today this is not a dream!

    2 Replies
    1. re: elliora

      No question and a no-brainer: Zinsvalley. It is out of the way and off the beat-and-track from the "biggies" in the Napa Valley, but it is also where the locals go to get great food at reasonable prices.

      http://www.zinsvalley.com/

      -----
      Zinsvalley
      3253 Browns Valley Rd, Napa, CA 94558

      1. re: Carrie 218

        Do they *still* go there, Carrie? I heard several reports that the quality of the food had taken a dive. Happy to update my info if you can vouch for its recent quality, though.

    2. Another possibility is Bounty Hunter in downtown Napa. It's a fun place, with a great wine selection, and good food at very reasonable prices. Casual atmosphere.

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      Bounty Hunter Rare Wine Co
      975 1st St, Napa, CA

      3 Replies
      1. re: kresge86

        Bounty Hunter is a good suggestion, just be aware that you will be sitting at small bar tables, not table tables.

        Uva has been hit and miss recently, especially the specials. But the salads and pastas on the regular menu are consistantly good: Spinach Salad with Walnuts and Blue Cheese, Rigatoni Bolognese, Linguine with Eggplant and Smoked Mozzarella, Capellini Pomodoro, Penne with Sausage. Small plates of pasta are about $9.

        Also: Calamari and Arancini

        Actually, my suggestion for a memorable meal would be to head to the Oxbow Market. Take out arepas at Pica Pica, or chicken from Rotisario and head out to the back patio where you can order wine and watch the sun set beautifully through the smoke (no, really the sunsets have been gorgeous and not that smoky!). Then get dessert from Three Twins Ice Cream. I would call to find out what time everyone stops serving on the night in question, because hours have been weird and changing.

        1. re: Junie D

          Could you please elaborate more on the patio at Oxbow market? I looked on their website and the only mention of a patio is the one belonging to the wine store. Is that what you are referring to? If so there is no issues with bringing other food with you? I'm assuming there are tables on the patio, but is it usually crowded. We are heading there on a Saturday night so I'd be considered that it would be full. Thanks!

          1. re: elliora

            The large patio/deck is behind Oxbow and extends from the wine merchant on the west side to the east side (Copia side) where Hog Island will be. We have on several occasions taken food from inside the market out on the patio and ordered wine from the wine merchant. Never been an issue. My understanding is that the patio serves the whole market, but I haven't directly asked. If you find out more, please report.

            Will it be crowded on Saturday night? Besides the opening party, I have yet to see Oxbow crowded.

      2. I'd do Azzurro Pizzeria on Main Street in Napa. Great crispy pizzas.

        I'm not sure you'd be able to talk at Bounty Hunter -- it's so noisy, but there are some well-priced menu items: the beer-can chicken, the pork sandwich.The wines are expensive.

        Uva, as Junie said, is hit or miss lately, but that's also a good idea.

        1. Pearl. http://www.therestaurantpearl.com/

          You can even go a little crazy with the oysters and keep it under $30...depending on your wine tastes, I guess.