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any NAPA/SONOMA, etc. suggestions? (particularly off the beaten path)

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My mother moved to napa a couple years ago and we've hit most of the restaurants in and around napa including, but not limited to, ubuntu, bouchon, angele, go fish, mini mango, bounty hunter...

i am looking for some restaurants that, unlike most of those previously mentioned, are not so dainty.
any good recs for AUTHENTIC mexican?
AUTHENTIC japanese/sushi?

any other ideas for good grubbing?

thanks!

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  1. Here's a link to the report for the chowdown at La Mixteca in Napa for Mexican/Oaxacan.
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/659254

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    La Mixteca
    2580 Jefferson St, Napa, CA 94558

    1. When I lived in Napa there were only two or three Japanese restaurants and they were all pretty bad (Sushi Mambo is SO overrated and expensive!). I was far better served driving over the Fairfield or, there was one 'decent' sushi restaurant in Sonoma (not stellar, but it fixed the cravings); Shiso in Sonoma or Masa Sushi in Novato.

      1. For authentic mexican, try La Luna. It's a little mexican market on the Rutherford Crossroad about 1 block east of Rutherford Grill. They have a hot food counter in the back. It's ridiculous.

        As far as authentic Japanese, no such luck in Napa Valley. The most delicious is a little place in the Outlet Mall in Napa. I forget the name but it's tiny and it's still there. Ambiance is non-existant. Best sushi in NV is Go Fish, hands down. But you won't be taking off your shoes and sitting on the floor anywhere in the Valley, I'm afraid. :(

        Be sure and head downtown (1st St., across from that neat new hotel...) to the new Norman Rose Cafe. It's great, fun, well-priced, loud (on a Friday/Sat night) and comfort-food-y. The same people run Pizza Azzuro on Main Street. Also great (lighter). And don't forget ZUZU! Love it.

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        Rutherford Grill
        1180 Rutherford Rd, Napa, CA 94558

        Go Fish
        641 Main St, St. Helena, CA 94574

        2 Replies
        1. re: NapaKelly

          The place is called "Fujiya" and I find it quite fine for a casual meal . . . I've eaten there for over 15 years and never had any trouble with the food. Try the Sanchez roll - maybe not "traditional", but quite delicious. Their miso soup is fine and their fish is fresh since they stay fairly busy. The owner, Eiko, is almost always there overseeing the operation.

          Also, if you like middle eastern food, try Small World Cafe in downtown Napa. They make a great falafel plate. Kind of hole in the wall-ish, but the owner is almost always there and the food is fresh and delicious.

          La Mixteca is great for mole. I also love Villa Corona for Carnitas.

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          La Mixteca
          2580 Jefferson St, Napa, CA 94558

          Small World Restaurant
          1385 Napa Town Ctr, Napa, CA

          Villa Corona
          1138 Main St, Saint Helena, CA 94574

          1. re: vday

            Got to go with NapaKelly's rec of La Luna. Order your food in the back, buy drinks and pay your tab upfront, then eat at the tables in back overlooking the vineyard (and parking lot). I often take out of towners there for a non chi-chi view of Napa Valley.

            Agree also that the only decent sushi is at Go Fish. But, it's not cheap or Japanese. If it's ethnic you want, you might try Neela's in Napa for delicious and not too heavy Indian food. It's next to Pizzeria Azzuro and a welcome addition to Napa dining.

            Lastly, don't overlook BarbersQ in Napa. It's a clean, minimalist bbq place. It's pulled pork sandwich just made the "top 40 sandwich" list in San Francisco magazine. The brisket is amazing as well.

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            Go Fish
            641 Main St, St. Helena, CA 94574

        2. Surprised nobody has mentioned these two places for Japanese/Sushi and Mexican.
          La Texanita is Santa Rosa was great when we were there last week
          http://www.latexanita.com/

          Hana in Rohnert Park, just south of Santa Rosa is the sister restaurant of Go Fish and very good. Again, just there last week.
          http://hanajapanese.com/

          Let us know where you wound up going.

          2 Replies
          1. re: tom246

            Tom, living in Napa and driving to Santa Rosa is a bit of a haul; it is faster to go to Fairfield or Vallejo than it is to cross through Sonoma over to Santa Rosa.

            1. re: CarrieWas218

              I agree but the OP said Napa/Sonoma so I thought both were good for suggestions. I don't think anywhere in the town of Napa is "off the beaten path" :)

          2. Definitely on the beaten path and probably not somewhere to take mom to dine but the pupusa truck on Soscol near the Volvo dealer was pretty good.
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/624291

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            Soscol Cafe
            632 Soscol Ave, Napa, CA 94559

            2 Replies
            1. re: wolfe

              Since autolinking pulled up Soscol Cafe, I'll put in a word for it as well with the caveat that it's been a few years since I've been a regular there. I liked the huevos rancheros, served Tex-Mex style in a deep-fried flour tortilla "bowl". The Napa Beef sandwich was also good, and whatever might be on the daily specials board. Any updates on this spot?

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              Soscol Cafe
              632 Soscol Ave, Napa, CA 94559

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                I had to reread the thread to see which poster used the screen name autolinking.(otto lincoln?)

            2. thank you for all the recs !

              heading to fujiya tonight as we are just craving sushi and a lighter meal and i'll admit that the possibility of it being quality while in the outlet mall surely intrigues me. also, i have received conflicting reports - has shiso in sonoma closed?

              i've already been to azzuro and zuzu and love them both. i also stopped at the pupusas y mas truck the last time i was here and it was so so good. here's another question - of all the taco trucks in town, which would you recommend? (my favorite meats are cabeza and al pastor)

              i'm here for three weeks so i'll definitely visit la mixteca, norman rose and small world and report on my findings.

              any other recs not in mexican or japanese arenas?

              thanks!

              mjd

              4 Replies
              1. re: mahjede

                The truck on Trancas.
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/504708

                1. re: mahjede

                  Just a little history on Fujiya . . . it actually preceeded the factory stores back in the days when there was a hardware store, barber shop, etc there along with Fujiya. Most stuff was torn down to make room for the factory stores, but Fujiya managed to get incorporated into the new plan.
                  How was dinner?

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                  Fujiya Restaurant
                  921 Factory Stores Dr, Napa, CA 94558

                  1. re: vday

                    Fujiya was pretty good. I mean, I really do try to find the best sushi anywhere that I am and being between NYC and LA I've had some great fish. However, fujiya had some very inventive rolls that ended up being quite tasty (thanks for the sanchez roll rec by the way!), great miso soup and out of the sashimi plate, whereas the tuna wasn't all that great, the yellowtail and salmon were sublime. I'll definetely be back and am Really happy to have found a local place for my mom instead of that awful mambo place downtown. We were wondering though, did the outlet mall people build them that building or how did it end up that their restaurant fits flush in the mall's design?

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                    Fujiya Restaurant
                    921 Factory Stores Dr, Napa, CA 94558

                    1. re: mahjede

                      Thanks for posting your diinner experience mahjede - glad to hear the meal was a good one for you. Your question about the exterior got my brain thinking, but I couldn't really visualize how that exterior of the factory stores and the fujiya storefront all were merged . . . it had to be about 15 or so years ago - anyone else remember?

                2. Although I have been to La Luna easily 100 times (two years of weekly lunch-hour visits), I think the best Mexican food in the Napa Valley is at La Morenita (in Napa) and Azteca (in St. Helena). La Luna is pretty good, though. The best taco truck is Garcia's, which I believe parks behind Pancha's in Yountville (now we're really talking about the local flavor).

                  My spot of the moment is the Fremont Diner on the Carneros Highway.

                  www.thirstyreaer.com

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                  Fremont Diner
                  2660 Fremont Dr, Sonoma, CA

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ThirstyReader

                    Good tips.

                    La Morenita Market
                    2436 Jefferson Street
                    Napa, CA 94558-4932
                    (707) 253-1949

                    http://www.thirstyreader.com/la-moren...

                    1. re: ThirstyReader

                      I've had consistently tasty food at Fremont diner (thanks to rworange posts a while back) and it is now a definite stop when on the trip from Napa to SF.

                    2. forget sushi in napa valley, it does not happen. best pre-made is at sunshine market in saint helena

                      villia corona or azteca are the best bets in saint helena for mexican

                      la luna in rutherford is authentic in every sense of that word ;)

                      1. Headed to Ad Hoc tonight. Will report.

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                        Ad Hoc
                        6476 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: mahjede

                          Ad Hoc was classic, relaxed Californian dining. The fixed menu started with an endive and leaf salad with pickles and radish in a champagne vinaigrette. Perfectly dressed this could have been a perfect meal itself (with some grilled shrimp). The vegetables were at the peak of freshness. The main course was a seasoned Lamb Rack with quinoa cooked with baby asparagus, baby artichokes and black trumpet mushrooms with a mint jus. First off the lamb was perfectly cooked for us (closer to rare than medium rare) and the quinoa, with all the vegetables, was excellent. What struck us most about the dish was the size. It was huge! And our first reaction was that we'd never finish it. Alas, bones sucked dry we both joined the clean plate club. Next was the cheese plate which, of all the items, was not so up to par. It was a tome de recollette with a grilled pepper and pinenut chutney. it's not that it was bad, just that its very italian feel did not mesh well with the rest of the meal. Lastly was the sticky toffee pudding with a creme freche glaze and toasted walnuts. I'm not a dessert person, but it was good. I wouldn't imagine it being much of a show stopper though.

                          All in all the meal was $49 each and, for that price point, this was a fine fine fine meal. We brought our own wine ($20 corkage), but the wine list had a large range of prices and some very quality wines were included both domestic and international.

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                          Ad Hoc
                          6476 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599

                        2. For Calif cuisine without the attitude or trappings, check out Lucy & Food. Menu changes each week based on the seasons, order in advance, pick up your order to-go on Thursdays or Fridays and enjoy it at home. Wine for sale too.

                          http://www.lucyfoodnapa.com/

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                          Relish Good Food Napa
                          1755 Industrial Way Suite #28, Napa, CA