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Casual Napa Dinner and SFO Sunday Brunch

Oklahoman Apr 17, 2010 01:55 PM

We are visiting Yountville/SFO and are looking for a casual counterpoint dinner to TFL. We will only be staying in Yountville for two nights and will do Thur night at TFL and a Friday lunch at Bottega. I am looking for a fairly casual Wed night dinner.

While we are staying in Yountville, I am not opposed to driving a little. Looking for great food, good atmosphere and something fun. We have given consideration to Hurley's and Mustard Grill, so thoughts on these would be appreciated. I am not crazy about the menu that will be served at Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen, so that would not be an option. Something like Redd seems too formal and similar to TFL. Bouchon and Bistro Jeanty are possible options, but neither of these really excite me. Something like Ad Hoc would be great, but is closed on Wed. I would like to stay around the 100 price point for dinner for two inclusive of tax and tip, but this is somewhat flexible.

Additionally Sunday I am looking for a good breakfast/brunch in SFO. We have given consideration to Mama's, but I really have no interest in standing in line for over an hour. Also considered Canteen, but given how small the place is, I am also hesitant about it.


Ad Hoc
6476 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599

Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen
1327 Railroad Ave., St. Helena, CA 94574

Bistro Jeanty
6510 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

6525 Washington Street Suite A9, Yountville, CA 94599

6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

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  1. wolfe RE: Oklahoman Apr 17, 2010 03:40 PM

    SFO is San Francisco Airport and is a deceptive title. May be hampering responses.
    Consider a dim sum brunch, probably not an Oklahoma specialty.
    Yank Sing, Rincon Center.

    1 Reply
    1. re: wolfe
      grayelf RE: wolfe Apr 17, 2010 03:54 PM

      If you're okay going for breakfast a bit earlier, Canteen has not been a problem for us on the weekends when we've visited (9/9:30 we've encountered no line).

    2. maria lorraine RE: Oklahoman Apr 18, 2010 01:05 AM

      Just a few quick comments -- my personal responses -- to your post. I live in Napa Valley and consider Hurley's and Mustards Grill quite weak. Mustards has slid far downhill -- the three most recent dining experiences there were all greatly disappointing. Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen makes a wide variety of food (from excellent short ribs and duck burger to Nueva Latina items like the rabbit tostada) and nearly all the preparations are excellent and very flavorful -- what menu items are off-putting to you?? It's really very good. Read the other posts on Cindy's. Bouchon is fine for dinner at the bar, but only at the bar (where you can see the raw bar menu items). As I've said repeatedly, do not sit elsewhere -- the regular dining is both a service and an acoustic nightmare. I like the moules frites very much -- I get it every time -- and the raw bar. I very much like Bistro Jeanty -- the mussels, smoked trout, legendary tomato soup with puff pastry dome, tarte tatin and wine list -- are all good. Bottega has slid downhill and was already overpriced, and I will not return unless others have chosen it.

      There are many casual options in the city of Napa -- Oenotri (new -- great pizza), Norman Rose, Pizzeria Azzurro, and Bounty Hunter, known for ribs and excellent "beer can" chicken. In St. Helena, the lovely Martini House has a dinner special if you dine on the early side. I like Press very much -- I sit at the bar and have dinner. The wine is very expensive there, but corkage is free on Wednesday so bring a bottle you have purchased. (My info on Press's corkage is recent, but call ahead just to check.) I love Press's Kobe burger, their truffled mac 'n' cheese, roasted potatoes (cooked with duck fat), sauteed spinach, steaks, utterly amazing banana cream pie. It's a swanky interior, great music, professional staff.

      Agree about the use of the airport code SFO -- which means the airport rather than the city of San Francisco. You may wish to begin a new thread about brunch in San Francisco if that is what you're seeking. Several threads already on brunch in SF, and the recommendation of dim sum is a good one if you've never had the experience.

      Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen
      1327 Railroad Ave., St. Helena, CA 94574

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

      Bistro Jeanty
      6510 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

      Azzurro Pizzeria & Enoteca
      1260 Main St, Napa, CA 94559

      587 St Helena Hwy, St Helena, CA

      Bounty Hunter Rare Wine Co
      975 1st St, Napa, CA

      6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

      Norman Rose Tavern
      1401 1st St, Napa, CA 94559

      1 Reply
      1. re: maria lorraine
        ThirstyReader RE: maria lorraine Apr 19, 2010 12:43 AM

        Lots of good advice above. As a fellow Napkin, I'll jump on the Hurley's bashwagon all day long. For SFO, I like Cinnabon -- the aroma draws me in every time.


        174 Great Mall Dr, Milpitas, CA 95035

      2. tvham RE: Oklahoman Apr 18, 2010 01:57 PM

        For Sunday brunch I would strongly recommend Foreign Cinema. Definitely make a reservation though! I also had a nice brunch today at Absinthe.

        Foreign Cinema
        2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

        1. m
          Mariana in Baja RE: Oklahoman Apr 18, 2010 07:30 PM

          Fume Blanc used to be quite good - north end of Napa - but I haven't been there in over a year and have not seen any reviews lately. What about Don Giovanni - anyone been there lately?

          1. j
            JBurnsPatersonIV RE: Oklahoman Apr 18, 2010 08:42 PM

            I don't like in the area but vacationed there...

            Redd is formal, however we sat outside and really enjoyed ourselves. Our table wasn't ready when we got there and we had to wait 15 minutes. As a result, our corkage was waived. The service was excellent and the food was awesome - we really enjoyed everything. My girlfriend wasn't as hungry as we'd done TFL the day before so she was able to select some lighter dishes that she really enjoyed (the tuna tartare in particular). I went all out and really enjoyed the experience. Inside is certainly more formal.

            Agree 100% on Bouchon - sit at the bar, we loved it - very low key, great food, good service.

            Bistro Jeanty - We had a blast sitting outside. We didn't care too much for the entrees however there were several appetizers that interested us so we split 5 between the two of us. Our bill wasn't too much, the food was amazing, the service was super friendly and knowledgeable. I cannot wait to return.

            A bit of drive...UBUNTU - despite losing Jeremy Fox the restaurant seems to be doing well. I was opposed to it to begin with because its vegetarian only, but found myself ordering more and more while I was there because it was so good. The atmosphere was casual, no white table clothes, and prices are reasonable. A unique experience that really made me appreciate the ingredients. I will absolutely return. If you're looking for lighter fare, but you don't want to feel 'cheated' - this is a great option 15 minutes from Yountville.

            Bistro Jeanty
            6510 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

            6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

            1 Reply
            1. re: JBurnsPatersonIV
              maria lorraine RE: JBurnsPatersonIV Apr 18, 2010 10:17 PM

              Good post.

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