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Need recs for Napa Valley and Sonoma for end of Jan/2012

There are a group of 7 women who will be traveling to that area. We would like recs for places for lunch and nice dinner places. We don't want crazy expensive, but expensive is fine for evening. Thanks in advance.

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  1. Suggest you start with a search of the board - there are multiple threads going right now about Napa and Sonoma.

    You will see many of the same recommendations: Grace's Table, Angele, Bouchon, Brassica, Boon Fly, La Salette, etc...

    1. For Napa Valley, you may want to consider checking out Alex, Angele, Bistro Don Giovanni, Oenotri, and Pearl.

      If by "Sonoma" you mean the city of Sonoma, I suggest Cafe La Haye, El Dorado Kitchen, and Hot Box Grill.

      7 Replies
      1. re: TwoGuysFromNapa

        I'll be a dissenter on Alex and Pearl.

        For exceptional Italian in the Napa valley we have places like Oenotri and Don Giovanni and Alex barely comes close them for quality and consistency.

        Pearl - on the other hand - is just plain mediocre. It is more of a locals place but there is no single stand-out dish of note and there is something to be said for a restaurant where you can always get a seat, even at the busiest time of the season.

        1. re: TwoGuysFromNapa

          We will be all around the Sonoma County. We are staying in the Petaluma area. We will have a dinner there and will have a dinner in Healdsburg for sure. There will be a dinner in Napa, and Oenotri and Don Giovanni look wonderful. One of my friends say there is live music downtown Napa on Friday nights and lots of fun activities. Is that the case and if so is it a really young group? We are a group of active women in our 60's.

          1. re: tealea

            The live music in downtown Napa on Friday nights is at Uva Trattoria and would be perfect for your group; it is not a young crowd there and the hipsters tend to go to Morimoto which does not have live music but just ramps up their stereo.

            Unfortunately, the "fun activities" on Fridays are limited to Uva as this is sort of the dark season for tourists. The wild nights are really May through November.

            1. re: tealea

              In Petaluma, I would suggest Central Market.

              In Healdsburg, I would suggest Scopa (assuming you've already considered Cyrus).

              1. re: TwoGuysFromNapa

                Do you realize that the drive from Petaluma to the town of Sonoma is not easy - at least 30 minutes on two-lane roads - and the city of Napa is a good hour or more away. Healdsburg is also a good 45 minutes north from petaluma.

                1. re: Mariana in Baja

                  Yes, we know the distances. We are from TX, and drive that much just to get to work everyday.

                2. re: TwoGuysFromNapa

                  Central Market is seriously overrated and full of itself.

                  Went there for dinner with my wife and a buddy last week. I'm sorry to report that none of us enjoyed anything about the appetizers or entrees we ordered. Tasteless and pretentious. The oysters on the half shell that I ordered were pathetically tiny. Perhaps somebody should inform them about Drakes Bay Oyster Company. We took a chance bringing my buddy from out of town there without first checking it out ourselves.

                  Although we are locals, we cannot think of any reason to go back. Too many other solid alternatives in the area, e.g. Afendi's, Namaste, Avatar's, Yanni's...

            2. suggest you also stop in at Della fattoria on one of hte main streets down town petaluma for breakfast or coffee - they do great bread and morning pasteries. it's not a large place but you should get room to sit maybe over two tables

              1 Reply
              1. re: sonomajom

                Della Fattoria is great for lunch as well

              2. Thanks to everyone for your wonderful suggestions. I love this group because everyone is so full of knowledge and is willing to share their finds. I will give a report when I get back, but keep suggestions coming. A friend of a friend said to go to Dry Creek Kitchen in Sonoma, which really looks great. We will have 2 cars, and one group wants to go to Mendocino on Sunday, so if anybody knows a good lunch place there or anything fun I will pass that on.

                1. I really love Oenotri when I dined there around Thanksgiving. Really beautiful room and friendly service, good charcuterie selection and good pasta dishes. It's also a large dining room so they can easily put a table together for 7 people.

                  Just a warning, many places in wine country take a break during this month because it's such a slow time in the area. So you should call to check that a restaurant is open, Sometimes they might not update their websites.