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Mar 30, 2009 10:39 PM

Napa Rose - for a special occasion???

It's been several years since we have been to Napa Rose, and honestly, the last time we were there, the food was terrific, but the ambiance was not. We were seated adjacent to a table where there were several very young toddlers (this is Disneyland, of course!) who were not well behaved. There was much crying, screaming, and crawling all about. It was a bad experience.

Recently, I have read several very favorable reviews of the restaurant. I need to host a small dinner partly for someone celebrating a special birthday, and have been toying with the idea of going to Napa Rose...but because of my prior experience (many years ago), I am somewhat worried. What do other folks think? Where in OC would you host a small dinner where you could depend on truly excellent food and quiet, and somewhat formal and refined ambiance?

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  1. Napa Rose has a Chef's table. It's in a hotel, no? So I'm sure they should be able to arrange a private room.

    1. Maybe you can make arrangements w/Napa Rose and ask that you require a lower noise level and if they can accomodate and ensure that? Because last year we dined at Stonehill Tavern and our problem w/the noise level were not the well behaved children, but with their inebriated parents....

      EDIT: My point being that if you can't enjoy a nice, quiet dinner at either of those places, where in OC can you?

      1 Reply
      1. re: OCAnn

        Of course, even when the kids are overly rambunctious it's the parent's responsibility. We too have more often run into noisy adults than kids. Nevertheless, when a restaurant is in Disneyland, kid's are not only expected everywhere, but should be welcome.

        Will take your advice and ask them if they can arrange a "quieter" location.

      2. NRose does have a private room-- it seats about 18 or so. My recollection on the actual capacity is dimmed by time and all the wine consumed that night a few years back.

        Also, there are some more remote tables that can seat 4-6 off to one side of the main room.

        And I agree with OP-- in that they should be happy to accommodate your need for quieter seating... providing they're not swamped with convention business.

        FYI. The chef's table is not a table, but a counter. Great fun, but not conducive to face-to-face conversation.

        All that said, some of my best 'special' meals have been at NRose. Their game is typically quite strong.

        1. Reporting back on Napa Rose...we had a very disappointing dinner there last evening and left feeling that this is an extremely over-rated restaurant. The concern that I originally had regarding the restaurant being too noisy turned out not to be an issue at all, mainly because the restaurant was not especially busy. Don't know if this was due to the economy, this being "income tax week", or because the food has slipped?

          This was a disappointing special occasion experience for a few reasons, but mainly because of the food.

          First of all, I should say that the service was friendly and generally competent, but could have been a bit more attentive at times. Secondly, the room although sort of pretty, is quite large and doesn't present itself as a special occasion place...indeed, it's sort of like a rather upscale coffee shop. This would have not been an issue had the food been wasn't.

          We started off with cocktails which were ok, however we all had martinis which were served in rather large glasses, only ~ 60% full. I always think that this looks bad. Better to have a smaller glass and fill it appropriately. Of note however, was that our guest of honor was served a martini, obviously very much smaller that the rest of our drinks. I pointed this out to the server who did remedy this.

          We each had a different salad as a first course. All were ok, but none was the least bit special, and certainly for the price (~$15 per), they were very disappointing. For entree, two of us had the "rack of lamb" which consisted of a single double rib chop, certainly not a "rack". guest's order was extremely (~30%) fatty. I would have sent it back, but he didn't wish to. One other party was served halibut which was not cooked as ordered, and indeed smelled fishy. It was likely not terrible fresh. The fourth member of our party had the filet mignon which he said was good, however it really looked quite small and there was nothing special about its presentation. We shared two desserts which were also mediocre at best, and they too were quite small.

          With drinks, wine and tip, our bill was $400 which is not bad, but we all felt that this was way too high for a pretty ordinary meal.

          Bottom line...for a special occasion, we would certainly not return here. There are many better choices for celebrating, among them I would list Marche Moderne, the Stonehill Tavern, Traditions by Pascal, Mastro's Steakhouse and even Bistango would be better.

          Has anyone else been to Napa Rose lately? What do you think?

          2 Replies
          1. re: josephnl

            I was there in March, and have been many times. While there was nothing that we ordered that wasn't well prepared and tasty, it seemed as if they are perhaps penny pinching...cutting back on portions and garnishes here and there. We had a fish course (yellowtail) and the rack of lamb, the diver scallop appetizer and the Asian salad with lobster. We had NO complaints about the food.

            I never order salads in expensive restaurants, and I tend to avoid dessert at this restaurant as I have for the most part been disappointed.

            I wonder if you had ordered the same things at the other restaurants that you mentioned, would you have spent more?

            1. re: mlgb

              We frequently order salads at fine restaurants, especially if we are have a hearty main course (such as lamb). There are many restaurants that serve exquisite salads that are worth every penny...for example, we were at Alize in Las Vegas a few days ago and both the duck confit salad that I had, and even the "mixed greens" that my guest had were superb. "Mixed greens" at Alize is a fairly spectacular presentation which is more than it sounds.

              With regard to your question about comparable prices...undoubtedly rack of lamb at Mastro's would have been more, but the rack served at Bistango is less expensive and the portion is triple the size (always bring some home!). The tagine of lamb at Marche Moderne is also less expensive and is an incredibly tasty dish with a beautiful presentation.