Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
May 22, 2009 11:53 AM

Calistoga Restaurant - Casual/Not too expensive

I'm heading up towards Calistoga this weekend to do some hiking/rock climbing in Mt St Helena. After climbing, we may head back to Calistoga for some grub. Any suggestions? I'm open to anything. Something casual and not too expensive - but fit for foodies! Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I live in Calistoga and I can't think of anything that's inexpensive and great. Inexpensive and adequate is probably more like it.

    Coming into town from the Silverado Trail and turning onto Lincoln, the main street, there are in order, Puerto Vallarta (cheap Mexican), Flatiron Grill (good 10 oz sirloin burger, house salad, short ribs), Checkers (not bad but not inspired -- I did have a mindblowing garlic soup there), Hydro Bar (on the corner, with great burgers, good bar), Bosko's (unsatisfactory American Italian but great mushroom and caramelized onion pizza -- that's all I ever get), Calistoga Inn (microbrewery, great patio on the river, adequate food but may be more expensive than you want), Pacifico (Mexican and uninspired, fajitas are OK).

    More expensive restaurants I eliminated: Solage, Jole, All Seasons, and Brannans.

    Downtown Calistoga (where the restaurants are) is about two blocks long, and all the menus are posted in the window. You can just stroll around and check out the scene. Or go online. Have fun rock climbing and hiking -- lots of good spots here.

    6 Replies
    1. re: maria lorraine

      ML, just want to thank your for all your food and wine observations for all over the north area. Seeing your evaluation of Checkers made the point even more. Years ago we had a couple of really nice "variations" there, something like peanut chicken pizza and/or a pasta that were great. Again, it was our first visit, but never the less made us want to come back for more, as did another little place a block north of the main drag with a great patio (blanking on the name, see it still mentioned often). After all that, what I'm asking is what is your take on JoLe? Also plead total ignorance of Solage and All Seasons. TIA for any 4k11 and guidance.



      1. re: PolarBear

        Dave - as an aside, the place a block North with the patio sounds like Wappo which I was very disappointed to see closed down when I went to eat there last time.

        1. re: vday

          It's terrible Wappo closed down. I loved the place. The landlord raised the rent exhorbitantly rapaciously greedily (not that I have an opinion on the matter) and essentially killed a thriving business that served both locals and tourists.
          No other tenants in the building yet. Go figure.

          1. re: maria lorraine

            Thanks for the info maria lorraine. I live in Napa and am a little out of the loop about Calistoga happenings . . . so, when I rounded the corner and saw Wappo all closed up I just thought "what the F***!!!" It was one of my favorite places in the valley to sit outside with a pear cider on a hot day and have a wonderful meal. Any hints they may reopen somewhere else??

          2. re: vday

            Yes, it was Wappo, very sad to hear they were squeezed out.

          3. re: PolarBear

            Dave aka PolarBear,

            As far as JoLe, I have not had the pleasure of dining there yet. Lots of good reports, though.

            Thanks for the nice words.


        2. how 'bout Cafe Sarafornia? Not too pricy, and I've had some decent meals there - most recently had their curried chicken salad and some fish tacos with a friend. I'm not sure how late they stay open though. It's by The Hydro (haven't had such good food at that place . . . )

          2 Replies
          1. re: vday

            I didn't think of Cafe Sarafornia because they are/were only open for breakfast and lunch.

            But...but...only recently have they opened for dinner, and since they are, that is a good option for Kachoo. This is a very unpretentious place, but the flavors -- at least at breakfast and lunch -- are developed and good all-around. Worth a shot, or at least a look-see.

            Thanks, Vday.

            1. re: maria lorraine

              Good to know Maria - thanks for the dinner info on CS!

          2. How about Silverado Brewing Company a few minutes south of Calistoga (between calistoga and st helena).

            Website here:

            It was recommended to me bu the folks at Schramsberg.

            A few more minutes south in St. Helena proper, two weeks agi I had an excellent, casual and reasonably priced lunch at Pizzeria Tra Vigne. Website:

            Pizzeria Tra Vigne
            1016 Main St, Saint Helena, CA 94574

            Silverado Brewing Co
            3020 Saint Helena Hwy N # A St, Helena, CA

            1. This may be a little late, but how about packing a picnic lunch (you can pick up wonderful cheese and crackers at V. Satturi's market) and stopping at the Vincent Arroyo winery for your picnic lunch?? Consider it for your next trip. The scenery is beautiful and laid back and you will feel welcome and you will be able to enjoy yourself in relaxing surroundings, even Vincent Arroyo the winemaker might join you for a bite. This coming from a midwesterner who was a guest to this particular winery in April by a fly fishing/rock climbing fan who knows every nook and cranny in Calistoga.

              1 Reply
              1. re: CurryLover

                The OP will be hiking and rock-climbing during the day, so I'm not sure packing another picnic (in addition to the picnic lunch during the day for hiking) is feasible, or that Vincent Arroyo (nice winery and people) will be open still at the end of the OPs exploration in the hills.

                Picnic fixins: I prefer Vallergas (Napa), Dean & Deluca, Sunshine (both in St. Helena) and CalMart (Calistoga).