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Help narrow down anniversary dinner options (Napa Valley)

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sunshineinaz Jan 16, 2009 08:29 AM

My husband and I will travelling to Napa for the first time in March for an anniverary trip. We will be staying in Napa. Looking for an anniversary dinner with memorable food (open to whatever kind), great service in an atmosphere that isn't overly stuffy. From researching this board, right now we are looking at Redd, Bouchon, or Ad Hoc but open to other ideas. I think we will be eating at Ubuntu another night while we are there. Can you please help in narrowing down the best option? Thanks for your help!

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    Adamsimpson RE: sunshineinaz Jan 16, 2009 09:31 AM

    Bouchon would be pretty crappy for an Anniversary setting. Its loud and casual. I think Redd or would be a nice choice.

    1. j
      jlfoodie RE: sunshineinaz Jan 16, 2009 09:43 AM

      I would definitely say Redd and Ad Hoc are good, but just depends on what you are looking for. I personally enjoyed Martini House in St. Helena although it doesn't have as much of a romantic atmosphere as perhaps S-Western, but it is fabulous food - I'm still salivating over the food. Over Redd and Ad Hoc, I would say I like Redd better for romantic. Ad Hoc is just a great place I'd go any day I was in Napa - chalkboard, barstools, family style...

      1. c
        carfeng RE: sunshineinaz Jan 16, 2009 10:21 AM

        Hands down, I vote for Redd. Food is excellent (and will be very, very memorable) and the service is just wonderful (professional but casual). It's a gorgeous space, but very simple and low-key. Ad Hoc does a great brunch too (so that's an option if you also want to check it out). I've found Bouchon to be okay, but nothing spectacular. For an anniversary dinner, Redd is the best of all three.

        1. c
          cyberroo RE: sunshineinaz Jan 16, 2009 02:40 PM

          I love Ad Hoc, but I wouldn't necessarily consider it a special occasion restaurant. In my world, it's a splurge, but a Tuesday night splurge, and it's pretty casual if you're looking for a romantic anniversary dinner.

          I'd vote for Redd.

          1. maria lorraine RE: sunshineinaz Jan 16, 2009 05:50 PM

            I don't think Redd is romantic enough for an anniversary dinner. The interior is stark and noisy -- the food is good but you can get that elsewhere. For a romantic setting and wonderful cuisine, I'd look to Martini House, first; Meadowood, second, and possibly Terra as a third. More comments about these restos on the board here, if you'd like to do a search.

            3 Replies
            1. re: maria lorraine
              Paul H RE: maria lorraine Jan 16, 2009 09:18 PM

              This is excellent advice, though I would rand Meadowood above Martini House - much more elegant food, service and atmosphere.

              1. re: maria lorraine
                Shane Greenwood RE: maria lorraine Jan 19, 2009 09:55 AM

                It depends on your idea of romantic. My wife and I had a very romantic dinner there. Redd is definitely more sparsely decorated and noisier than some other places. But it is not sparse and noisy in the negative. Redd is a very very nice restaurant with excellent service and top notch food. I highly recommend the tasting menu, which is a lot of fun for a couple. Each of you gets a different dish for each course, so you actually get to taste 10 different plates over your 5 course tasting menu. Redd is fantastic.

                Ad Hoc is way more casual and probably the least romantic of the three the OP lists. I've been there when people are wearing shorts and ballcaps. Food is fantastic, served family style in a casual and comfortable atmosphere. Bouchon mimics a French Bistro, and may not be everyone's idea of a special occasion place. It might be a better choice for lunch.

                1. re: Shane Greenwood
                  rworange RE: Shane Greenwood Jan 19, 2009 12:02 PM

                  Finally got to Bouchon yesterday and I vote thumbs down on a special anniversery. Very good food, but if there is a good French bistro where the OP lives, I see no point. Also it is way too casual and way too loud with the tables very close together.

                  The other thing with Ad Hoc to consider is that there is only one set menu. If you don't like it, there's not much you can do about it. If you are there on a Wednesday or Monday, there's the chance that choice will be fried chicken ... if that is your idea of a good special occasion meal. .

              2. k
                KJP RE: sunshineinaz Jan 18, 2009 01:46 PM

                Bottega has opened in Yountville within the past month. I've was impressed with the lunch I had there last week. Redd is a great choice. LaToque has moved to Napa, I've not been so I can't comment.

                3 Replies
                1. re: KJP
                  rworange RE: KJP Jan 19, 2009 11:57 AM

                  Hmmm, I was looking at Bottega yesterday. Could you tell me a little more about it/

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                  Bottega
                  6525 Washington Street Suite A9, Yountville, CA 94599

                  1. re: rworange
                    k
                    KJP RE: rworange Jan 19, 2009 05:10 PM

                    The restaurant seats 160, so it is the largest in Yountville. Michael Chiarello is IN the kitchen overseeing everything going on. As the owner and because he has a very able chef de cuisine, it surprised me to see him there. The space is divided into four areas. Two outdoor fireplaces with comfortable conversation areas, the bar area, the dining area with some limited view of the kitchen and an area that is has a lighter feel.
                    The food is highly flavored southern Italian. I had the goat braised lamb with orcchiette and roasted root vegetables, my dining companion the ricotta gnochi, both were excellent. The portions are comfortable. The servers are skilled in the menu offerings and specials. The wines are small wineries offered at minimal markups. He spoke at an event I attended and said that this was to encourage people to try things they may not otherwise have an opportunity to try.
                    It is not a quiet, but not obnoxious. You enter from the courtyard. While I was there Chiarello was greeting people, asking about their experience. There is a very good dinner review posted on egullet that was more extensive than my business lunch. I will return for dinner soon.
                    I hope this is the information you were looking for. There are pictures posted at the bottega website as well as on Chiarello's blog.

                    1. re: KJP
                      rworange RE: KJP Jan 19, 2009 05:36 PM

                      Thanks

                2. j
                  Jaybird141 RE: sunshineinaz Jan 19, 2009 08:03 AM

                  My wife and I have gone to Hurley's in Yountville for our last 2 anniversaries. Food is great! Atmosphere is nice, warm and quiet. Ad hoc/Bouchon are also great places but can be loud. If you do Hurley's, stop by Cosentino Winery, about 2-3 miles up 29 next to Mustards. They are friends with Hurley's and if you bring a bottle wine from there, they don't charge a corkage.

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                  Cosentino Winery
                  7415 Saint Helena Hwy, Napa, CA

                  Hurley's Restaurant & Bar
                  6518 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                  1. Shane Greenwood RE: sunshineinaz Jan 19, 2009 09:57 AM

                    Depending on your idea of romantic, you might want to look into Auberge du Soliel. I haven't been personally, but it is generally regarded as one of the nicer settings, and the food rates very highly.

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                    Auberge Du Soleil
                    180 Rutherford Hill Rd., Rutherford, CA 94573

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Shane Greenwood
                      rworange RE: Shane Greenwood Jan 19, 2009 12:00 PM

                      I'd just suggest the usual drink outdoor at sunset as far as Auberge and that's it. There are scattered positive reports but even with one very positive report, it seemed like it was obscene amounts of money that ... given the price ... would be better spent elsewhere. I still haven't been moved to actually eat there when there are so many places higher on my list to try.

                    2. s
                      sunshineinaz RE: sunshineinaz Jan 26, 2009 02:46 PM

                      Thanks everyone for all your input. I wish there was time (and $) to make it to all of these. We decided on Redd. The menu looks great and sounds like their tasting menu is defintely worth a try.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: sunshineinaz
                        c
                        cortez RE: sunshineinaz Jan 26, 2009 03:46 PM

                        Great choice! It's by far the most romantic of the 3 places you mention. Elegant, minimalist.

                        If you want to continue your date on foot into the later night, you can definitely swing by Bouchon for an after dinner drink in an active environment at the friendly zinc bar. Very fun people oriented space. You're likely to get in a conversation with someone pretty interesting. Open pretty late for a Napa Valley place.

                        Ad hoc is very casual family style only. Fun, delicious, huge portions -- but noisy and not romantic. You can eat a la carte at the bar with no reservations if you choose to go there another night.

                        Looking forward to your report if you write up the places you visit.

                        1. re: cortez
                          maria lorraine RE: cortez Jan 26, 2009 06:47 PM

                          <<It's by far the most romantic of the 3 places you mention. Elegant, minimalist.>>

                          True, of the three places sunshine mentions in her OP, Redd is the most romantic,
                          but that's not saying much because the other two are decidedly unromantic. Redd would never quality as romantic per se. Urban, minimal, stark, yes, but not romantic or elegant. At least not to me. I understand that romantic means different things to different people, and there is often a marked difference between what men and women think is a romantic setting. While I like the food, I maintain Redd is not an anniversary dinner spot. I'm a woman, and for an anniversary, I want candlelight or soft lighting, I want ambience, I want mood, I want to be beguiled. I don't want frou-frou, but I do want romantic.

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