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Dec 11, 2011 01:45 PM

high end dinner in napa and SF

i will be traveling to SF area and napa i early Jan. and i just LOVE to eat and i also love diferent experiences.
because of the dates, the freanch laundry and meadowoods restaurant are close :(
so i need some help on what are the best next restuarants, will be staying at bardessono.
i have read that cyrus is the next best place, my only worrie is if it is worth the drive. ?
any restaurant reccom will be great, on that line (or any other if its worth it, like the vegetarian ubunto ?)

also we will be in SF for a couple of day, and im trying to get reservation at COI and MANRESA in los gatos,
any thoughts?
and i need a 3 places, maybe something trendy and cool ?


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  1. Ubuntu is also closed for the winter.

    If it is a full-on tasting menu that you want, perhaps Cyrus is what you need to drive to (if they are open).

    Otherwise, in the valley, I would recommend:

    You realize that Manresa is as far a drive south as Napa is north; upwards of 2 hours each way depending on traffic.

    You might want to consider Atelier Crenn or Saison in San Francisco instead.

    14 Replies
    1. re: CarrieWas218

      im thinking of going to manresa before our flight home from SF (the flight leaves at 1 am)

      in the valley i also read of
      red and and botega any toughts?
      is everyhitng going to be close in winter en napa ?

      1. re: super_al

        What are your dates, specifically?

        Ubuntu closed right after Thanksgiving and will remain closed for several months; they are the extreme as they are going through a re-working of their menu and -- I believe -- whole business operations.

        Redd and Botega are two different animals; Redd is more experimental and does a tasting menu that might fit your bill. Botega is more classical Italian trattoria on the heavy/Cal-Italian side. I like both, but considering what else you are doing, I would go to Redd before Botega.

        1. re: super_al

          "Is everything going to be closed in winter in Napa ?"
          "Winter, we don't need no stinking winter.'\"
          Alfonso Bedoya, Treasure of the Sierra Madre
          The short answer is no.

          1. re: wolfe

            i will be in napa from the 5 to the 8 of Jan,
            at this point im thinkin Redd,a d Cyrus (if we are around that are)
            what would be a 3 must go place ???

            and COI and Maresa in SF

            1. re: super_al

              I would go to Atelier Crenn or Saison over Coi; all my meals at Coi have been wildly inconsistent while Crenn & Saison have been more delightfully consistent and more interesting.

              1. re: CarrieWas218

                I agree, COI isn't as satisfying in terms of what you get.

                Another extreme fine-dining contender is Benu.

                1. re: singleguychef

                  I wished my meal at Benu was worthy of a second visit... All I remember was how mediocre I found it.

                  1. re: CarrieWas218

                    so benu and atelier, are both close, during my visit, and saison, is a little complicate as we have some vegetarians.
                    so i think we are going to coi,

                    also in napa
                    we have cyrus, redd and botegga (since ubuntu is close)
                    and maresa in los gatos,

                    any thoughts in the dinners in napa ?????
                    also we will be getting to the hotel in SF around 11 pm, any good food (doesnt have to be fine dinning just good food)


                    1. re: super_al

                      I've heard good things about Bushi-Tei. If you're getting in late to SF, the best dining options late that I know of ar Nopa and Lers Ros.

                      560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                      1638 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

                      Lers Ros
                      307 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                      1. re: super_al

                        I would certainly trust Saison to accommodate a vegetarian and believe you would get a better experience there than Coi.

                        Are you wanting full-on haute meals for every dinner? You won't get that at Botegga and still recommend Terra if you want a more interesting experience. Botegga is big, expressive Italian and Terra is more wine-country elegant.

                        And unlike Weshoke's comment below, Bushi-Tei is a travesty. They have great potential but continually mis-step and disappoint.

                        1. re: CarrieWas218

                          wow, travesty is strong language. I had heard from one person about their experience, but haven't been myself. Would you mind describing what you experienced?

                          1. re: weshoke

                            There were two omakase offerings on the menu; one with meat and one vegetarian. I was intrigued with the vegetarian until I was told it was two courses with a dessert. That’s it? I’ll take the meat omakase which was five courses.

                            An amuse was brought out – a sandwich of tuna rillette between two crunchy crackers which were actually toasted slices of their house bread. Putting *some* rillette on a single slice would have been sufficient but an amuse (which in my mind should be taken in one bite) of two dry hunks of bread with not-enough fish just made for too big of a mouthful.

                            Sadly, there is no wine pairing with the omakase and so I was on my own in determining wine pairings for dishes that I had no pre-knowledge of. Big mistake. The waiter did tell me the first few courses were fish so I was fairly certain a white would work and ordered a Riesling (sorry, lost my notes on which one specifically). Also, this wine was served in a Pinot Noir glass… Bad.

                            The first course was a layered monstrosity of a giant wasabi leaf, champagne-poached oyster, blue fin tuna tartare, some coconut-based hollandaise, fresh uni, and American sturgeon caviar. I say it was a monstrosity as there was far too much going on and either the oyster or the tartare (or both?) could have been entirely left out. The flavor of the uni, caviar, and coconut was predominate so something as delicate as a champagne-poached oyster (which couldn’t be seen so maybe it WASN’T there!) was irrelevant. As was the tartare.

                            The next course was a composed salad of fresh heirloom tomatoes, topped with dressed frisée, and surrounded by slices of sashimi of Arctic Char. Recalling my disastrous visit to Valentino in Los Angeles, I wonder why chefs insist on pairing tomatoes with raw fish — the textures and flavors are so disparate and I’m curious if there exists any good examples of this sort of pairing as my two sojourns into that particular pairing have been exceptionally bad.

                            The Riesling finished and not remembering what was coming next, I ordered a glass of Pinot Noir (standby knowledge – it usually goes with everything).

                            The next course was a hot fish dish of grilled Red snapper with crispy skin on ratatouille and hollandaise. This was a real hollandaise but there wasn’t quite enough of it to pair well with the grilled vegetables and dry fish.

                            The last savory course was American Wagyu, perfectly rare, served atop sliced Yukon Gold potatoes and baby shiitake mushrooms. There was a very good sauce with it but I’m afraid I don’t exactly recall its components. Regrettably, the sauce did not make up for whatever was done to the mushrooms which were stridently sharp and peppery. I didn’t bother finishing this course.

                            Dessert was an Orange “parfait” which was actually a scoop of creamy orange sorbet in some orange soup and topped with a small tuille cookie. This was paired with a sparkling sake which was a relatively nice pairing.

                            Overall, the service was very good but I question many things about the menu. For starters, in reading through the standard offerings, there doesn’t seem to be any evolution in the menu. Similar to my Gary Danko complaints, nothing is different than what I read when I first visited, 18 months ago. The addition of the omakase is week in its lack of wine pairings and I found the dishes overall to be ill-conceived although well-prepared.

                          2. re: CarrieWas218

                            I was just at Bushi-Tei for dinner last night. The food was superb and on the level of a one-star restaurant (the service was adequate but not on the same level as the food). Not the same kind of restaurant as Manresa, etc. though.

                            Would be curious to hear what made it a travesty for you.