HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >

Discussion

SF/Sausalito/Healdsburg trip plan for review

  • j

Hi all, headed to SF and wine country for a couple days in September…wanted to run my initial eating itinerary by you after reading quite a few similar threads. A bit of background, two late 20’s NYC residents. Lean towards laid-back places in NY, all genres are fair game and love fresh seafood (Marlow & Son, Locanda Verde, Pearl Oyster, Momofuku are faves)….doing one night in San Fran, one in Sausalito, one in Healdsburg and 2 in St Helena…

Arrival day: get in around 11:30AM on a Sunday…lunch at Ferry Bldg? dinner: at first, I was thinking Zuni Café but now am considering Nopa or Delfina based on an SF buddy’s advice….and totally random but is Nob Hill good area to stay in??

Monday: lunch: Tadich Grill or Sam’s or is it crazy to go back to Ferry….or is there a good, easy place in the Haight? Headed to Sausalito for the night, staying at Cavallo Point, don’t really want to do formal dinner at the hotel, what are thoughts on Fish or Sushi Ran?

Tuesday: Head up to Healdsburg while hitting wineries on the way up (quick sidetrack: any experience with Littorai Winery tour/tasting? Love their wine, and def. hitting up Merry-Edwards)…planning to have lunch at Lynmar Winery based on a good review on this site…would anyone steer me differently? Dinner in Healdsburg: Here’s the big question, originally was planning on trying to snag French Laundry rese but now I’m really debating whether the one big dinner should be Cyrus….it’s walking distance to hotel whereas we’d have to drive to Yountville if we decided on tFL. If we decide not to do big dinner, should we try Cyrus lounge or what about Barn Diva?

Wednesday: hit up some more Healdsburg area wineries...then head down to St Helena (maybe pick up lunch at Oakville Grocery before leaving?)…staying with friends in St Helena but will be on our own for one dinner…I’ve read good things about Martini House, is that the move or is there somewhere else? Any great spots for lunch at a winery or somewhere nearby St Helena?

And one more random question, what are people experiences with hiring wine country drivers? It’s tempting to do this one day so that we could kind of let loose at wineries (not total booze bags but it’s been known to happen!).

Thanks in advance and sorry for the rambling!

-----
Zuni Cafe
1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

The French Laundry
6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

Tadich Grill
240 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

Delfina Restaurant
3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Nopa
560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Lynmar Winery
3909 Frei Rd, Sebastopol, CA 95472

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

Oakville Grocery
124 Matheson St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

Sushi Ran
107 Caledonia St., Sausalito, CA 94965

Cavallo Point
601 Murray Circle, Sausalito, CA

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. hi, just wanted to bump this for some help....let me know if I need to be more specific, i've been doing research but just want some reassurance! I'm about to book the Fairmont unless others have suggestions for a place to stay....any restaurants that I should be checking out other than those listed above for my 1 dinner in SF proper? thanks!

    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. For your lunch at the Ferry Building (hint - across the street from Hotel Vitale), you might want to consider Hog Island Oyster. Alternatively, purchase cheese from Cowgirl Creamery, pain epi from Acme Bread, salami from the salami place then take these items and enjoy lunch al fresco on a bench overlooking the bay. Slanted Door is also nice but receives extremely polarizing opinions on this board. If you choose SD, make sure you research which items to order/avoid.

        Given all the great Italian available in NYC (we recently returned from a 10 day trip), I'd remove Delfina from your list since you can get similar food at home. Ditto for Sushi Ran.

        We love the cioppino at Tadich. For something different, you might try the S&P crab at R&G Lounge. We also like their three treasures dish. Again, do a search since ordering well is critical for a good meal at R&G.

        Have you considered Le Garage in Sausalito? Yes, you can get similar food at home but not with that view. It's a small restaurant so definitely make reservations and request an outside table.

        In St. Helena we prefer Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen and Rutherford Grill to Martini House. Yes RG shares the same owner as Houston's, but their food and service are excellent and they don't charge corkage.

        We're not allowed to comment on non-food related items like accomodations, but see my hint above. Hope that helps and you have a great trip!

        -----
        Slanted Door
        Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

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

        Le Garage
        85 Liberty Ship Way Ste 109, Sausalito, CA

        Rutherford Grill
        1180 Rutherford Rd, Napa, CA 94558

        1 Reply
        1. re: cvhound

          Madrona Manor > TFL

          sorry it's my opinion - I enjoyed my meal better at MM (final bill, setting, and taste of food all included)

          -----
          Madrona Manor
          1001 Westside Rd, Healdsburg, CA 95448

        2. Littorai makes remarkable wine. Good inside knowledge. Lynmar makes excellent Pinots, and does (or used to do) Pinot and wood-fired pizza on Friday nights. Check the website, or call if it's not listed. Yes, to Merry Edwards. If you know about Littorai, you probably have the inside track on other small quality producers rarely mentioned on Chowhound.

          Fine (probably better) to switch to Cyrus instead of FL, especially since you'll be in Healdsburg anyway. That would be my vote.

          No need to seek out Oakville Grocery in Oakville. Merely another gourmet deli -- nothing that stands out -- and there's an Oakville Grocery in Healdsburg anyway. The Oakville location is good for a quick coffee and sweet thing. Do not go if it's crowded -- not a bit worth it. I think Dean & Deluca is better, and Sunshine Market in St. Helena the best of all (when you consider value). D&D does have some exotic foodstuffs not found elsewhere, but is expectedly quite pricey. These are lunchtime options.

          Martini House is excellent, especially in September. Much, much better than Cindy's and Ruth Grill. I like all three, but comparing them against one another doesn't work -- it's apples to oranges to pears -- they're all at different levels. The food is excellent at Martini House, especially in September for their heirloom tomato dishes. Nobody does tomato dishes better than MH; they even put together an entire tasting menu that is excellent -- do not miss it if it's available. The outdoor patio at the Martini House is very lovely, so I'd stick with MH.

          In SF: Sunday lunch at Zuni is excellent: roast chicken with bread salad, the best polenta with mascarpone of my life, excellent hamburgers, shoestring fries, great bubbly by the glass. Overall great ambience. If you've never been, go. I'm not much impressed with the Ferry Building anymore; though you can stroll through at lunchtime and grab wonderful bread, cheese, fruit and wine, and then picnic overlooking the water. (Pack your own corkscrew and cups, and carry them with you.) Tartine, wonderful for breakfast or lunch. For dinner, I like Delfina and Bi-Rite Creamery as an excellent pizza and gourmet ice cream combo (they're near one another). Don't know why you're overlooking dining at Cavallo Point. If you've never eaten Mexican food in the Mission, check that out, for lunch or dinner -- it's a cultural phenomenon and easy on the wallet. Thai food, same deal. In Sausalilto, Sushi Ran is excellent, even if you've had good sushi elsewhere. .

          With any of these mentions, take the time to do a search on Chowhound. Read a good number of posts on each place, and take note (even write down) the best dishes at each place. Do a search on other options in St. Helena as well. This will enhance your entire experience. I've directed you to my favorites and to where I would go were I a visitor. Good luck.

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

          Oakville Grocery
          124 Matheson St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

          1. Just my two cents, based on where I'd take visitors.

            I like lunch at the Ferry Building followed by dinner at Zuni. Nopa and Delfina are great, but Zuni is the place I take visitors and then wonder to myself "Why don't I come here more often." I get that feeling every time, without fail.

            Tadich is good, I second the suggestion to look into Le Garage in Sausalito. You really cannot beat the view, and the food is delicious but the location is casual. I have not been to Ran, but Le Garage beats out Fish by a long shot for me.

            Lynmar is lovely, as is Cyrus. The Cyrus vs. French Laundry debate is one that will not end in a definitive answer, but I can't imagine wanting to do the drive over to Yountville and then driving all the way back stuffed, tipsy, and in the dark. But you are coming a long ways, so if it's something you want to check off your bucket list then go for it! I loved the meal and service at Cyrus, so I have no hesitation recommending it. But I haven't been to TFL. What I would definitely do since you're nearby is stop at the Cyrus bar for some cocktails. Their mixologist is AMAZING! I had one that involved strawberry and balsamic, and it was really unique and well-balanced.

            I will defer to others for the rest of your trip. Have a great time!

            -----
            Zuni Cafe
            1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

            The French Laundry
            6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

            Delfina Restaurant
            3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

            Nopa
            560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

            Le Garage
            85 Liberty Ship Way Ste 109, Sausalito, CA

            4 Replies
            1. re: Pei

              I'll leave the suggestions to the local experts but one word of advice from a fellow traveller to SF/Bay Area: 'ware Monday resto closures. They are legion, and I've been caught out more than once :-).

              1. re: grayelf

                I can't help but wonder if you realize that French Laundry is in Yountville which is maybe 10-15 minutes from St. Helena - but a very very long drive from Healdsburg. Maybe you could do that for your night out in St. Helena??

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

                1. re: Mariana in Baja

                  thanks for all the helpful suggestions...after looking at the menus, I think Le Garage is a great call for Sausalito. I'm sure the restaurant at Cavallo is great but I think we'll want to explore the town and/or eat in a casual setting...regarding the blow out meal, if we did French Laundry, it would be for when we were staying in St Helena, so the drive may be less of an issue...that being said, that is why I'm leaning towards Cyrus, we could really just relax and enjoy ourselves but am I missing something by skipping out on FL? i know its not an easy answer....

                  since i have only 1 dinner in SF, i really want to make the right call...Zuni looks fantastic and i know its legendary but i just want to make sure its not resting on laurels and/or if there is something along the same lines that might be a bit "fresher"....

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

                  Le Garage
                  85 Liberty Ship Way Ste 109, Sausalito, CA

                  1. re: JT007

                    Being able to walk to Cyrus is a big plus. Should you be able to land a reservation at TFL, you could still enjoy some bites at the Cyrus bar with a cocktail or two during your time in Healdsburg. here's the bar menu, http://www.cyrusrestaurant.com/pdf/me...

                    Scott Beattie's new place, Spoonbar, is in soft opening right now. Some friends went to the "friends and family" last weekend. You'll surely want to grab one of his drinks too.
                    http://sanfrancisco.grubstreet.com/20...

                    -----
                    Cyrus Restaurant
                    29 North St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

                    Spoonbar
                    219 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448