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Two Nights in Napa: One at French Laundry the other at....???

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Title pretty much says it all.

I've miraculously secured dinner on our first night in Napa at The French Laundry - which was my main focus - and now I'm left to wonder where my girlfriend and I should eat on night number two. I've scoured Michelin et al., and come away with an extensive list but am curious if you all have a "must dine" recommendation?

Thank you for your thoughts!

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The French Laundry
6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

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  1. Depends on what style you want -- upscale like the French Laundry or something totally different?

    For upscale but in a modern, minimalist style, try Redd down the street in Yountville. Outside tables are wonderful. Food is less elaborate the FL, but delicious -- Michelin 1 star.

    Within the Keller family are Bouchon and Ad Hoc. I'd probably opt for Ad Hoc as a complete counterpoint to FL -- family style, one menu per nights, casual, noisy and fun.

    For the total Keller dunking, have breakfast mid-morning after FL at Bouchon Bakery ( we love the ham and cheese baguettes heated in the panini machine) at the tables just outside the bakery. Stroll up the street and see the veg gardens just across from the FL. Then, reserve an earlier dinner at Ad Hoc. You will have had the full Thomas Keller 24 hour experience in Yountville!

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    The French Laundry
    6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

    Ad Hoc
    6476 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599

    Bouchon Bakery
    6528 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599

    Bouchon
    6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

    1. Meadowood - the only other 4-star restaurant in Napa valley.

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      Meadowood Napa Valley
      900 Meadowood Ln St, Helena, CA

      1. Redd!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        1. We enjoyed Redd too!

          1. I agree with Cortez -- you should think about whether you want to have another upscale meal (especially considering it might be disappointing following right after FL) or something different. Also, what else are you going to be doing? Where are you staying? You might want to do something other than eat down the street from French Laundry in what is becoming sort of a dining themepark.

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            The French Laundry
            6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

            1 Reply
            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              We were in the wine country a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed our second great meal at Bottega in Yountville. We also loved Martini House in St. Helena. I had the 3 course Fixe Prixe meal with the wine pairing, everything was outstanding incuding the service. We sat right by the open kitchen and enjoyed watching the team of chefs prepare the food. Terra in St. Helena is another good option, in nearby Rutherford there is Auberge du Soleil where we enjoyed dining. The views from the outdoor terrace are spectacular there. Enjoy! :)

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

              Bottega
              6525 Washington Street Suite A9, Yountville, CA 94599

              Soleil Restaurant
              625 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94301

            2. We ate at Bottega twice last summer and it was great. Highly recommended. Bouchon seems to have gone downhill, unfortunately.

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              Bottega
              6525 Washington Street Suite A9, Yountville, CA 94599

              Bouchon
              6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

              4 Replies
              1. re: ElizabethReed

                Bouchon and Ad Hoc, while both perfectly acceptable by most standards, are also slightly overrated. Forget what Michael Bauer says about Bistro Jeanty -- it seems like he has an axe to grind -- it's a great restaurant with plenty of atmosphere (my theory is that the Michelin Guide was also influenced by Bauer's review, and thus revoked the restaurant's star this year). I've never been disappointed at Jeanty, but I have left Ad Hoc disappointed more than once, which is why I'll rarely ever go back.

                www.thirstyreader.com

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                Ad Hoc
                6476 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599

                Bistro Jeanty
                6510 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                Bouchon
                6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                1. re: ThirstyReader

                  Last week we really enjoyed Cantinetta Piero in Hotel Lucca. Rustic Italian with a Tuscan influence. Very good food nice, casual atmosphere. Nice contrast to the formality of FL.

                2. re: ElizabethReed

                  Second the recommendations for Bottega. You many not want to eat French/California food two nights in a row so Italian is always a good option.

                  Zuzu in Napa (Spanish, tapas) is also a good option and a bit more affordable.

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                  Bottega
                  6525 Washington Street Suite A9, Yountville, CA 94599

                  1. re: arlenemae

                    The whole fish I had at Bottega was really good, we also enjoyed the Papradelle and a really good cheese and artichoke appetizer. Really wanted to try Cantinetta Piero, I looked around the Hotel Luca when we were in Yountville, it's very pretty. Bardessono where we stayed has a restaurant that is supposed to be wonderful, we only had breakfast the morning after our stay, it was really great and the dining room is gorgeous with lots of windows that look out to the grounds and fountains. :)

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                    Bottega
                    6525 Washington Street Suite A9, Yountville, CA 94599

                    Bardessono
                    6526 Yount Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                3. I would suggest something very different than The French Laundry, too much of a good thing you know, we live in St. Helena and have had two very good meals at the new Farmstead, literally farm (next door) to table, very current for our valley, they have their own grass fed beef, wine and olive oil,and . they grow most of the produce, very comfortable environment, the last time we dined there, we shared the place with Robert Redford.

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                  The French Laundry
                  6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: jaimecouchon

                    What is the style of Farmstead? It sounds very promising.

                    Like goldn3 were trying to decide on our Napa itinerary and it sounds promising. Right now we were thinking Redd for dinner and Ad Hoc for lunch. We've heard many good comments about Cyrus too and were considering it, but do you think Farmstead would be a good choice instead of Ad Hoc?

                    Thanks!

                    Tony :D

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                    Ad Hoc
                    6476 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599

                    1. re: Tony Calgary

                      Ad Hoc doesn't serve lunch. Dinner and Sunday brunch only.

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                      Ad Hoc
                      6476 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599

                      1. re: Tony Calgary

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6997...

                        Here is my post re: Farmstead. A nice lunch spot. We loved Cyrus too; that was our previous trip.

                        1. re: BubblyOne

                          Thanks BubblyOne for the review -- sounds like Farmstead might be an excellent choice for us for lunch. Apologies to goldn3 -- didn't mean to hijack their thread!

                          1. re: Tony Calgary

                            wife and i are also coming in for a few days. doing sonoma the first and napa the remainder of the time. doing the girl and the fig for lunch and bottega for dinner on day 1. then tra vigne for lunch on day 2. was going to do ad hoc for dinner, but they did not have a res at a desired time... so we are going to try farmstead. thanks for the rec.

                    2. i would say Cyrus in healdsburg is my second choice to French laundry in terms of quality/creativeness of food and service

                      Another one I would suggest would be Farm at the Carneros Inn at Napa (Across from Domaine Carneros), a little more casual but the food is excellent.

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                      Domaine Carneros
                      1240 Duhig Rd, Napa, CA

                      1. If you don't midn going a little further, the Fig Cafe in Glen Ellen is a fun, affordably priced restaurant that still uses local produce very well with a casual atmosphere, and most importantly, free corkage

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: vulber

                          Hi goldn3,

                          In looking for our dinner in Napa region, I've found a lot of support for Ubuntu, Solbar and La Toque in the forums (in addition to the already mentioned Redd, Cyrus and ad hoc). I think we're leaning towards Redd simply because of the overwhelming support for it.

                          Let us know where you decide on -- we'd love to hear what you end up picking!

                          -----
                          Ubuntu Restaurant & Yoga Studio
                          1140 Main Street, Napa, CA 94558

                          La Toque Restaurant
                          1314 McKinstry Street, Napa, CA 94559

                          1. re: Tony Calgary

                            Tony and goldn3 - I am also planning a trip to SF, coming from NYC. After perusing your very helpful threads, as well as other sources out there, I am leaning towards Redd as well for dinner for our one night in Napa, with the high end SF meal being Coi (the menu really fits our style).

                            Also looking at Perbacco in SF for an Italian dinner, and Zumi Cafe and La Taqueria for lunches. Still a lot of decisions to make, but luckily time is on our side (August trip).

                            I'll continue to enjoy these threads!

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                            Perbacco
                            230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                            La Taqueria
                            2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                            1. re: metfan630

                              Metfan, all great choices! :)

                              1. re: metfan630

                                Sure it is just a typo but if not search is easier with Zuni. Those guys in 69 were amazing.

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                                Zuni Cafe
                                1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                1. re: metfan630

                                  Just a thought when I was reading your selections metfan630 -- maybe you'd be more interested in doing Bottega in Napa if you were interested in Italian? I think it's been the most complimented Italian restaurant in either Napa or SF that I've come across, so maybe doing something more classically Californian or seafood based (since it's probably more unique versus what you can find in NYC) while in San Fran?

                                  Or maybe even passing on any of the Italian inspired cuisine? When I was doing research for our recent trip to NYC, I found many, many great recommendations for Italian there (including the famous Babbo) so you might find west coast Italian disappointing if you've had amazing Italian in NYC.

                                  Just a thought. :)

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                                  Bottega
                                  6525 Washington Street Suite A9, Yountville, CA 94599

                                  1. re: Tony Calgary

                                    tony, thank you for "paying forward" the information you gained in your active thread, even though you've yet to arrive here. your generous spirit helps remind me of the purpose of chowhound.

                                    without having a specific OP in mind, i must say it can be very tiring to get what seems like the same general question in three new posts from upcoming visitors every day. there's been such a rash of these on napa recently that, at least for me, the inclination to assist starts to be overcome by the urge to ignore or link to the results of obvious searches. so, thanks for help carry our torch. i'm really looking forward to your reviews.

                                    as for italian, bottega is hot right now, but in SF delfina is wonderful too. i'm also in a months-long infatuation with flour + water.

                                    1. re: Tony Calgary

                                      Tony, I will look into Bottega, thanks for the tip!

                                      I was raised on pasta at least twice a week, no exceptions. Too hard for me to pass up trying some in SF :)

                                      I do need to add a seafood place in SF...and classical Californian would be great also. Still have plenty open meals to book!

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                                      Bottega
                                      6525 Washington Street Suite A9, Yountville, CA 94599

                                      1. re: metfan630

                                        Metfan:

                                        For seafood in SF, you may want to consider Swan's Oyster Depot on Polk St. It's a San Francisco classic for lunch: sit at the counter-- no tables; menu on the wall; cash only. Go for the oysters, clam chowder and a crab/shrimp Louie. Anchor Steam on tap. Great friendly service from the family behind the counter. Casual, noisy, fun. Favorite of tourists and locals alike.

                                        1. re: cortez

                                          Cortez, thanks for the suggestion, that sounds like perfect place to work into our trip for a casual lunch.

                              2. Come on over to Sonoma.! Just 20 minutes away and enjoy Wonderful Italian food al fresco and not at Napa prices. We eat in Yountville a lot and love it, but if you miss Sonoma and our Plaza, you'll be sorry.

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                                Della Santina's
                                133 E Napa St, Sonoma, CA 95476

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: jayGardner

                                  What I like about Sonoma is that it's more normal. You could imagine yourself in Sebastapol, or San Louis Obispo, or any of a number of pleasant smaller and older californian towns. Napa's a little too large, Yountville et al is too precious. Sonoma's just right - and it gets the western sonoma food, produce, and attitude. Yum.

                                  To be fair, if someone had only one day I'd say Yountville. Two days I'd say stay in sonoma or glen ellen and day trip over to napa / Yountville.

                                2. Faced with a similar dilemma earlier this year we chose Meadowood for the second night, mainly because of the Michelin 3* rating. We had an exceptional meal there and I'd recommend it highly.

                                  We've been fortunate enough to dine at 13 restaurants the past year that were rated either Michelin 3* or Forbes 5* and I'd rate Meadowood 4th of those 13, behind only Alinea, Per Se and French Laundry.

                                  -----
                                  The French Laundry
                                  6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599