Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Dec 16, 2008 02:54 PM

Dinner in Napa- top choice?

We're foodies and will be in the Napa area for 1 night over the holidays. Where is your top choice for dinner (excluding French Laundry, I tried)?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Auberge du soleil!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PERIOD END!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. I have a few favorites. I like both Don Giovanni's and Tra Vigne for Italian fare. Don G's is a bit more laid back in terms of the amount of money that went into the decor than Tra V's is but both are great for food, wine list and ambiance. I also really, really like Martini House which serves "California Cuisine" at its very best. The wine cellar bar is excellent for a pre or post prandial drink. For lunch I like The Rutherford Grill and Mustard's. If you are tasting wine make a booking at Silver Oak and ask to taste their Belle Glos Pinot is absolutely delicious.

      1 Reply
      1. re: artychokeasana

        Last meal I had at Tra Vigne left me feeling like they've started coasting on their reputation. Sorry to say, the food was just okay. Nothing bad, but nothing to justify the prices they charge. I think back in the day when Michael Chiarello was there it was better. Calling it a tourist trap is too harsh, but it's heading in that direction.

      2. Redd is fantastic. Just down the street from TFL and much easier to get in. They have a wonderful tasting menu, which I highly recommend for foodies. They serve it in an interesting way, each course is two different dishes so the two of you get a different plate and wine pairing. It's a lot of fun to share and taste both. In effect, you get 10 courses of tasting over a 5 course meal.

        1. I'd be curious where else you are eating during your trip. Honestly, I am traveling in New York right now (having lived in Napa and eaten at 90% of its restaurants) and am learning that eating "the best haute cuisine" every night can get boring.

          In that mind, if I were in Napa for one night, I would not hesitate to head to Ubuntu. It is hands-down in my top five of restaurants in the country and is so innovative and exceptional as to make everything else seem mundane.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Carrie 218

            We have reservations at The French Laundry, Ad Hoc (been here, LOVE it) and Celadon. Celadon is a locals restaurant f in downtown Napa and was highly recommended by our hotel concierge. She also recommended ABC for breakfast/brunch/lunch. It's a locals bakery and is really popular. The concierge also recommended Pearl, Elements and Zyn's Valley.

            1. re: TNT72

              No Ubuntu?

              When I lived in Napa, Celadon was never a local favorite of mine -- I always found it a bit pretentious and overpriced for what was offered. But that was three years ago so maybe things have changed.

              The new Michael Chiarello's restaurant, Bottega, is getting good reviews.


            2. re: Carrie 218

              Ubuntu - unique and extraordinarily well done. Don't be freaked out by the vegetables, it is not "hippie" at all.

              1. re: jlfoodie

                I second Martini House. Bistro Don Giovanni is also quite good.

                1. re: kresge86

                  Personally I would recommend Ubuntu. Whenever we go to Ubuntu we love it. If it’s available the garden menu is a good way to go. I would usually wholeheartedly recommend Terra, but our last meal there was just ok, after years of going there and having it be amazing. I know lots of people who rave about Bistro Don Giovanni but honestly I allways leave there scatching my head. I think it’s just ok. Been to Ad Hoc only once but it was one of the most mediocre meals I have ever eaten.