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Oct 11, 2009 08:15 PM

Napa/Sonoma on the Cheap

I've scoured the boards for dining options in Napa and Sonoma, but haven't found quite what I'm looking for: great cheap options. Most of the discussions have focused more on higher end experiences. While we've planned a few of those (Bouchon, Ubunti, and Panisse in San Fran) for our trip, we're also looking to balance it out with a few great low-rent places.

Any recommendations for a great pizza, burger, taco, diner, etc? We've got a few blank spots on our itinerary: Saturday lunch and dinner in Napa Valley and Sunday dinner in Sonoma (the town). Appreciate any thoughts.

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  1. There are mixed reviews here on the quality of the wine (I happen to love it), but V. Sattui has a great deli.

    There's also Sonoma Cheese Factor in downtown, although I feel it's better for lunch than dinner.

    1. There are many threads on inexpensive dining in Napa. Here they are:

      4 Replies
      1. re: maria lorraine

        Thanks, but I had seen these and they didn't seem to hit the nail on the head. Most have only a stray reference to something being inexpensive. Others are inexpensive in the sense that you can get a $14 hamburger or a sub-$20 entree. I'm looking for even cheaper, but still fun and tasty. More along the lines of a side of the road type places, the reliable taco truck, the drive up hamburger joint with the picnic tables. More in line with what vulber recommended (thanks btw).

        1. re: dinersaurus

          "a side of the road type place ... the drive up hamburger joint with the picnic tables"

          You just described Fremont Diner in Sonoma to a T. It's literally on the side of the road, has picnic tables, and serves hamburgers (and a lot of other stuff). And, it's a diner, dinersaurus.

          I think there's only one item on the menu that's over $10 - Nashville Hot Chicken. They used to have a $10-11 fish sandwich (halibut cheek !), but when I spoke to them in September, they said it wasn't moving, so they dropped it.

          It's been mentioned in several other threads.

          1. re: dinersaurus

            The threads do have Taco truck listings, and there's a current thread on La Mixteca.
            IN 'n' Out burger is also a possibility.

            1. re: maria lorraine

              Yountville has a taco truck behind Panchas. Its there from 11 to around 8 every day but Sunday. You can take your food into Panchas eat and have a drink. Its the only inexpensive watering hole ,left in Yountville unless you go up to the Vets home and have a beer or glass of wine in their bar. Andies cafe in Napa next to the car wash by the outlet stores for a great hamburger. Sit at an outdoor table and get your car washed.

        2. BarbersQ might be a good option for either Saturday lunch or dinner in Napa. If you were there on Sunday you could get their great fried chicken; the BBQ isn't the best that I've had, but it was good, and you can all share a few things. You can also get burgers at either Taylor's Refresher location.

          Chez Panisse is in Berkeley, FYI.

          3900 D Bel Aire Plaza, Napa, CA 94558

          1. Try Small World Mediterranean place in downtown Napa. Very casual. Great freshly made felafel and other treats - owned and operated by a local man who is very sweet and makes an effort to always keep things delicious. I usually get the felafel plate which is a generous serving for one, or a nice dish to share.

            1 Reply
            1. The Black Bear Diner in Sonoma, just two blocks W of the town square is a nice comfortable family-style place much patronized by the locals and ignored by the tourists and restaurant reviewers.

              If you have a hankering for a chiliburger, BLT, cobb salad, chicken fried steak, meatballs and spaghetti, fish and chips or fried chicken, this is your place. No cutting-edge cuisine here!


              Black Bear Diner
              201 W Napa St Ste 34, Sonoma, CA 95476