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Mar 1, 2010 09:24 PM

redd or la touque..... are there better restaurants besides French laundry in napa???


would like to know a real "critique" on red and la toque.
food wise which is a better experience... i'm so confused!

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  1. The only other restaurant which is generally thought of to be at the level of The French Laudnry would possibly be The Restaurant at Meadowwood. However TFL is typically considered head and shoulders above the rest. If local restaurant reviewers are any measure The Restaurant at Meadowood was just awared four stars by Michael Bauer of the San Francisco Chronicle.

    Note you will get some arguments that TFL is overrated and not that good, but it will not be from me.

    Btw, I personally would go to Solbar before I would go to Redd. Solbar is a bit casual but the food is quite good. Solbar is part of the Solage resort and is not formal. I haven't been to La touque so I can't comment personally on where it would fall in my restaurant ratings.

    1 Reply
    1. I would argue that La Toque "pushes the envelope" with flavors a little more than Redd, but I have had great experiences at both places. If you're into wine, I would have to give the edge to the sommeliers over at La Toque -- wine director Scott Tracy is very well known and somm Yoon Ha has a growing reputation. If you go purely by the ratings, both spots have earned Michelin stars. Determining which is "better" is a really a tough call between these two. Since one is in downtown Napa and one is in Yountville, I would let location be the tie-breaker.

      As for TFL, I've found that it meets the hype (which is significant, to the say the least) most of the time. Working in the Napa Valley, I get to talk with a lot of other folks who have been there to dine, and I always ask their honest opinions about the value, not just the experience. Very few people have any regrets. However, if you're not willing to pay $450 per person (that's with the optional wine pairing), then I would second Meadowood as an option.

      1. thanks everyone... i agree that it's hard to compare any restaurants in napa to TFL, that place was phenom!!

        1. I would go to the Martini House or Terra before I go to LaToque. Meadowood is exceptional and I would go there before all the latter. I also think Redd is highly over-rated.

          2 Replies
          1. re: CarrieWas218

            Meadowood is a gorgeous resort, we had lunch at The Grill last March, it was very nice. We are trying to decide between La Toque or Martini House for meal in a few days while in the wine country. If there's any way you could get up to Healsburg, Cyrus is amazing. We have dined at Terra in St. Helena, it was very good. We're excited to dine at Bottega again this year for the second time. We have only had lunch at REDD, it was excellent. :)

            1. re: syrahgirl

              I had an excellent and memorable dinner at Martini House Saturday night; would go back in a heart beat. Hope to post a full report soon....

          2. No,I don't think there are better restaurants that TFL in Napa. There may be no better restaurants in the country.

            I would let location decide between Redd & La Toque. The one caveat I have about La Toque is that I haven't been for a few year. I was at Redd a little over a year ago for dinner and liked it very much. Terra is also a good choice in the area.

            5 Replies
            1. re: HoosierFoodie

              La Toque is the equivalent of a two star Michelin in France and we have never had a less than memorable evening dining a la Ken Frank with Scott handling the wines

              Martini House is a totally different type of experience, much more casual/noisy and the food is not nearly as elegant. Must admit have never been blown away at Martini House, though we have enjoyed meals there.

              Terra is splendid, and even better when Chef Hiro is in St. Helena and not San Francisco. Quieter and more elegant than Martini House.

              Three very different restaurants.

              1. re: MRMoggie

                Those are useful notes. Given that it comes down to personal preferences at a certain point, this is another one of those impossible questions. But what the hell. I've read many of the related threads, and figured this is a good recent one to add this to, for anyone who'd like to offer a specific opinion.

                Going to Ad Hoc one night, the other night we want a truly special 15th anniversary dinner experience. Spectacular food is obviously top priority, romantic setting a big plus but secondary. Aside from the Laundry (couldn't get in this time)... which one would you personally pick of these 5: Terra, La Toque, Cyrus, Restaurant at Meadowood or Martini House? Maybe rank a #1 and #2? (I know I left Redd, Bottega, Ubuntu, et al. out. Various opinions had narrowed it down to these 5 for us.) We're staying in Napa so we'd rather not do the drive back from Cyrus, but would if it's a clear winner.


                Ad Hoc
                6476 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599

                Cyrus Restaurant
                29 North St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

                Martini House
                1245 Spring St., St. Helena, CA 94574

                Meadowood Napa Valley
                900 Meadowood Ln St, Helena, CA

                La Toque Restaurant
                1314 McKinstry Street, Napa, CA 94559

                Terra Restaurant
                1345 Railroad Ave, St Helena, CA 94574

                1. re: glenno

                  BTW, I just saw a thread with a very similar question (, but still looking for specific picks from these. (To help give an idea of what we love, since that was asked of the OP in the other thread, some all-time favorite special/romantic meals anywhere have been: Alinea, French Laundry, The Wickaninnish Restaurant, Spiaggia, Araxi, Picholine, Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn... etc.)

                  1. re: glenno

                    Meadowood would be #1 for me and La Toque way on the bottom of the list. Cyrus is a HAUL across several valleys and if you are staying in Napa, you might now want that drive after a huge meal.

                    I am also a fan of Terra and some recent reports have moved Martini House down a few notches.

                    Also, I ate at Bottega last evening and was very impressed, although it is a bit more on the loud side as it is getting a lot of press and attention, so it is always full. I'll be doing a full write-up later.

                    Martini House
                    1245 Spring St., St. Helena, CA 94574

                    6525 Washington Street Suite A9, Yountville, CA 94599

                    La Toque Restaurant
                    1314 McKinstry Street, Napa, CA 94559

                    1. re: CarrieWas218

                      Thanks for your insights, Carolyn!