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Jun 10, 2009 07:14 PM

Dining in Paradise

I have a business trip to San Francisco coming up June 21-23. I was able to sneak in one day of fun and I can think of nothing I would rather do than enjoy a fabulous wine dinner at one of the wineries in Napa/Russian River/Sonoma.....Is there anything like that available? I have been to the area since I lived there when I was 7 years old, so I am a "babe in the woods". I would sincerely appreciate any suggestions.
Thanks for your time.

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  1. Winery restaurants are rare but there are a few. Similar question from a few years ago:

    2 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Robert, thanks for your reply. I think I have a couple of great options in mind, The CIA in St. Helena, Signorello, or Auberge du Soleil! I appreciate you pointing me in the right direction.

      1. re: mustangchaser

        I don't know where you got that list, but those restaurants wouldn't make the top ten in the wine country (probably not even the top twenty for the Napa/Sonoma/Russian River area you mentioned). And none of them is a restaurant in a winery (Signorello is a winery without a restaurant, and the other two are restaurants without wineries). If you don't insist on a restaurant actually in a winery there are many, many great options that have been discussed ad nauseum on this board.

    2. In re-reading your original post, I'm thinking maybe you are really interested in a great restaurant with views of the vineyards? Please let us know if this is the case, and I think the hounds will have some good suggestions for you. I'm not aware of a winery with great views of the vineyards and a restaurant with excellent food all at the same location in the Napa area.

      19 Replies
      1. re: vday

        Yes, you are right. I am interested in a great restaurant with views of the vineyards. No, I don't need to be eating in a winery. Just want great food, great wine and a great view...."the whole enchilada".


        1. re: mustangchaser

          That should make it easier:-)

          Looks like you are coming to SF Sunday thru Tuesday. Which day will be your "fun" day? Might make a difference in recommendations . . .

          1. re: vday

            I fly in on Sunday and have that day and all day and night Monday for my meeting on Tuesday.

          2. re: mustangchaser

            Seriously .... have a glass of wine at Auberge du Soleil! at Sunset for a great view and then eat somewhere else. The question to ask is which restaurants have great food and wine pairings.

            I like the food at Brix a lot which has a lovely view of their own gardens and vinyard outside. However, I never had wine pairings there.

            1. re: rworange

              I appreciate your suggestions. I really like the menu and pictures of Brix. Sunset at Auberge.....sounds absolutely delightful! That will be my plan.

              Thanks mucho!

              1. re: mustangchaser

                Are you planning to stay in wine country on Sunday night? Or will you be driving up there one day?

                If you are getting in early on Sunday and driving up,to wine country that day, then just off 101 is the Sunday San Rafael farmers market (until about noonish). Lots of prepared food vendors and just a fun place to walk around.

                The Oxbow Public market in Napa has a lot of casual restaurants ... think upscale food court. The Wine Merchant there has some nice small plates and good wine.

                It is difficult to make recs not knowing what day you are planning to go. Some places close on Monday.

                If you stay in the city, The Dining Room at the Ritz has an excellent tasting menu and supurb wine pairing. I'm no wine expert so take that rec in that way. However, it was the best food/wine pairing I've had in my life.

                Other nice restaurants to consider of a Sunday night in SF would be the more casual 1550 Hyde. Very nice neighborhood place right on a cable car with a good wine list. The point was to provide good wine at reasonable prices. It is not really wine-oriented but the Cal-Morracan menu at Aziza is very nice.

                You can find reports and websites by plugging in the name on Chow's restaurant database

                1. re: rworange

                  Unfortunately my flight doesn't get in until early Sunday afternoon and I am staying in Palo Alto as that is where my meeting is on Tuesday. I am planning on throwing my suitcase in my hotel room on Sunday and heading north. I was thinking of spending Sunday afternoon and evening in San Francisco and then Monday in wine country. I have had such fun looking at restaurants and ideas for how to spend my brief "vacation". I haven't even made this trip yet, but I know that I will have to plan another, with lots more time, very soon.

                  Thanks so much for your suggestions.

                  1. re: mustangchaser

                    OK, this might be a help to you since you will probably be in different parts of the city

                    Visitng SF. Eat like a local not a tourist.

                    Again, if you click on the restaurant name it will tell you whethe it is open on a Sunday.

                    You might drop by the Ferry Building on Sunday afternoon. It's not the most jumping part of town on Sunday, but still some great food and a really nice view. You could walk along the Embarcadero.

                    Another thought is driving across the Golden Gate Bridge to Murray Circle which is at the foot of the bridge practically. The military bases have been converted to private use and beautiful officers homes renovated.

                    The Farley Bar at Murray Circle has a lovely outdoor veranda with wicker couches that looks over a large lawn and has a set-back view of the bay and bridge. The pastry chef there once worked at the French Laundry and is brilliant. The desserts may sound simple but they are delicious.

                    A different strategy for Sunday is to drive over 92 from Palo Alto to Half Moon Bay, drive down the coast, come back over the mountains and have dinner at Manressa.

                    Whatever you decide for Sunday, make sure you have a reservation or two as it is Father's Day.

                    1. re: rworange

                      On Sunday, when my plane landed, I dumped my luggage off at the hotel and headed north....I went over the mountain to Half Moon Bay and continued up to San Francisco along the coast. Fabulous!

                      Thank you!!

                    2. re: mustangchaser

                      If your plane gets in on Sunday afternoon, by the time you drive to Palo Alto and back to San Francisco it's going to be evening.

                      With no traffic, it's about two hours from Palo Alto to any of the Sonoma and Napa wine regions.

                  2. re: mustangchaser

                    Brix is REALLY beautiful . . . was just there yesterday. Cocktails on the terrace were perfect. The squid appetizer was tender and tasty. I tried the filet with Moroccan spices for lunch - meat was kind of tough and there was very little spice. Wouldn't have it again, but there are other interesting things on the menu to try. There's always the hamburger . . . Really the thing here is the setting and it was worth the price of admission just to sit there for a few hours under the rose covered terrace for a leisurely lunch and soak it all in.

                    1. re: mustangchaser

                      Here's my dream eating plan for a day immersed in beauty: An early lunch at Brix on the terrace for 2 or 3 hours, . . . explore a bit for a few hours after lunch ending up at the bar/deck at Auberge around 6 or so. Nab a table for a leisurely wine/cocktail session with a light snack. Sunset will be late that day, so will need to plan to hit a high end restaurant for a later dinner . . . Many to choose from if you search these boards - paying attention to days the places are closed as some are closed Mondays. After sunset, it won't matter what the view is of vineyards and such and you can focus on the fine food available.

                      1. re: vday

                        I got goosebumps when I read your post. That is a dream of a plan and that is what I am going to shoot for as it sounds perfect to me. Unfortunately, Monday is my day in the wine country, so I will double-check to see what is opened. I would like to spend some time at Chandon as I am a big fan of their wines. I do sincerely appreciate your advice. I know I will be in heaven. Thanks!!

                        1. re: mustangchaser

                          I found Chandon expensive and boring, and that Carneros region's really not a great choice for a Monday wine-country tour.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            I made it to Chandon and you were so right...expensive and boring. It was so hot the day I was there that I didn't even finish my wine tasting.

                            Thanks for your response.


                    2. re: rworange

                      Just wanted to drop you a note to say that I followed your advice and am so grateful to you for taking the time to steer me in the right direction. I toured around Napa until the sun began to lower and found Auberge.....what a fabulous view from the deck......exactly what I wanted. I had a lovely glass of wine and just thought I was in heaven. From there I wandered over to Brix and ate out on the back patio....after lounging out in the was simply perfect! Thank you, again! I won't soon forget my free time in Napa.

                        1. re: mustangchaser

                          Ditto on thanks for reporting back. Glad it worked out so well. I love California and want visitors to have a great time

                          1. re: mustangchaser

                            Was just at Auberge yesterday for sundown - spectacular Fall day. glad you enjoyed that and Brix as well!!