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Jun 16, 2009 06:01 AM

Transport to/from The French Laundry from/to San Francisco


I may be going to San Francisco for a week at the end of August and if I can persuade my other half, will try to get a table at The French Laundry. Could someone let me know what the transportation options are like when coming from/going to San Francisco? I assume if we have dinner a cab ride back is the only option? Roughly how much are we talking here? If we go for lunch are there public transport alternatives?


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  1. There is no public transportation that I know of. Plan on going by car. You could hire a car through any one of the limo companies. It'll probably be a few hundred dollars. Yountville is 56 miles away from SF, so a city cab would be out of the question unless you were willing to buy out the cabbie's whole day. FIgure an hour drive up, 4 hours waiting time while you dine, an hour drive back.

    I HIGHLY recommend getting a hotel room closer to the restaurant. If you don't want to pay to stay in Yountville, there are lots of options in Napa. From there it's only 20 minutes to Yountville.

    1. You could take the ferry to Vallejo and then the Napa VINE route 10 bus. The trip would take around two hours. Most of the route is scenic.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Works for lunch but what about the ferry at night? TFL dinner would last until after the last boat.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Actually, looking at those schedules it is over 3 hours one way. Ferry is 1:10, and bus is a shade under 2 hours unless there is an express I'm not seeing. Factor in travel time from SF hotel to ferry building, and wait time for connections and you could easily hit 7 hours of total transit time taking this route.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Since the ferry is infrequent, it may or may not be more efficient to do the SF <-> Vallejo legs by taking the BART to El Cerrito del Norte or Richmond (you may find the former more pleasant to hang around), then taking the Vallejo Transit 80 bus to Vallejo.

            Main Bay Area transit site:

            1. re: bradluen

              The bus from El Cerrito to Vallejo would certainly give a slice of Bay Area life and scenery that few tourists encounter.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                TFL really should have some deal for anybody who takes public transportation over say 15mi to get there. For this particular route though Richmond, you should get
                something like a free glass of champagne with proof. Maybe free caviar if you walk (a la Werner Herzog) from SF.

              2. re: bradluen

                Now that I think about it, I don't think the 80 stops at Richmond. From memory (caught it a few years ago) it leaves the El Cerrito del Norte station and goes more or less straight on to the freeway, which may be for the best for the OP.

                No question that the ferry would be more pleasant, even to dirty hippies.

            2. That's a very good question, as anyone who does wine "pairings" is likely leaving TFL legally drunk under California standards.

              1. If you take the ferry/bus up, maybe try an airport shuttle service for getting back after
                dinner? If you can get to Oakland or SFO, you can get BART back to the city.

                I know nothing at all about shuttle service up there, but google turns up a number of options.

                Napa's a lot further than it seems on a map ... you're talking pretty much a full day adventure here.

                1. rent a car, stay in a hotel up there. if you can afford FL, you can that. be safe.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: melly

                    Sadly we are dirty hippies who don't drive.

                    1. re: Danada

                      Assuming you are rich, dirty hippies, you might search out a local foodie who will chauffeur you to and from Yountville in return for dinner at TFL.

                      1. re: OldTimer

                        Actually we're fairly poor dirty hippies. I just like food. Maybe the bus and ferry is doable for lunch...

                        1. re: Danada

                          Getting to TFL without a car is quite a trek. There are many very nice places that you could try in SF instead. You could for example, try the Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton or Gary Danko.

                          1. re: sfbing

                            I'm with sfbing here. While TFL is definitely a worthwhile destination, it's tough to get to without a car. And when there are so many other fantastic options within convenient walking distance of BART stations and Muni stops, you have to wonder whether it makes sense to try to get to Yountville.

                            Then there's the issue of cost. Given that you don't have money to burn, consider whether you might prefer to have several meals at other Michelin-starred restaurants for the same price as dinner at TFL.

                            If you've got your heart set on the place, then by all means find a way to make it happen. But keep in mind that it's not the only game in town.

                          2. re: Danada

                            If you're used to traveling without a car, you've probably done worse.

                            Another possibility might be to rent bikes. It's about 25 miles each way from the Vallejo ferry terminal and the route is flat.

                        2. re: Danada

                          So, are you taking the ferry + bus and staying overnight (several hotels within a short walk) like mr lauriston recommended, or renting a limo?