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Jun 6, 2012 06:04 PM

Need Quick Help for a 4 Day Itinerary in Sonoma/Napa

Hi Hounds, I'm planning a babymoon trip with my wife next week in Sonoma/Napa. We're staying at the Fairmont in Sonoma and are willing to drive around in the area to make it to all of the incredible wineries and restaurants. Most of the morning will be filled up with massages/bike rides, so mostly looking for lunch/afternoon/dinner activities.

As for meals, we like our food but also like a great atmosphere. Some of the restaurants I've reviewed look incredible, but I'm worried the clientele might be on the older side. We lived in NYC so the french bistros look amazing but not as authentic as I'd hope. Below are a few of the places I'm focusing on so far and would love some insight on places that are too good to pass on and places I can leave off the list. I haven't mapped out the route quite yet so this is still a starting point and I'll cluster them as necessary once we get our plans finalized. The idea is to find a lunch spot, follow it up with a winery stop, and then head to dinner.

As you can imagine, wineries won't be high on the list with a pregnant wife, but we're compromising on 3 wineries that have great views, beautiful estates and art would be a plus. High quality wine is nice to have but I have to focus more on the experience for this trip (Cabernet lover by the way if that helps).


Dinner Options:
Barndiva (hoping for a good meal and great scene)
Dry Creek Kitchen - for a higher end meal in Healdsburg
Cyrus if we're in the mood for a quality high-end restaurant - won't be going to FL, so this might be our ode to Michelin
Estate - looking for a more casual spot near the hotel when we arrive
Ad Hoc - if we can't get FL, is this a good compromise to taste some of Kellers' cooking?
Don Giovanni - seems like a great option for a relaxed Italian meal
Tendejon de la Calle - haven't been able to connect on this one, mailbox is full, is it worth trying?

Lunch Options:
El Molino - this is a must, love the look of it
Auberge du Soleil Bistro/Bar - looking to have lunch and chill out with a nice view
Bouchon Bakery
Grace's Table - looks like a great in between restaurant
Solbar - would like to visit Solage and stop in for lunch if it's worth it

Wineries with incredible art/views/estates:
Spring Mountain Vineyard

Any help is greatly appreciated!!!

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  1. Redd should be added to list.

    Maria Lorraine recently compiled a great list of wineries with views/estate/art in this thread:

    Please come back when you have your itinerary more planned out by day, as right now your options are all over sonoma and napa and as much as a 3 hour drive away from each other.

    5 Replies
    1. re: goldangl95

      Thanks Goldang, here is a more solidified itinerary:

      Afternoon in Sonoma Town Square
      Dinner in Sonoma, possibly Estate or El Dorado, looking for any other reco's on a great/fun place to eat in Sonoma

      Lunch in Napa, possibly Auberge du Soleil
      Visit Hess Winery
      Dinner in Napa, possibly Don Giovanni, Grace's Table, or any other reco's for something a bit nicer, on par with a Barndiva type of menu/atmosphere

      Lunch El Molino
      Drive to Yountville, visit Duckhorn Winery
      Dinner at Ad Hoc or similar restaurant in the area

      Lunch in Healdsburg, looking for a nice outdoor spot to eat
      Visit Jordan winery or similar style with great views/estate
      Dinner at Barndiva or Dry Creek Kitchen

      Any reco's in the area or preferences between the options listed would be greatly appreciated!

      1. re: Coco T.O.

        On Tuesday I hope you are considering the lovely over mountain lovely twisty shortcut from El Molino to Napa, Trinity Road.

        1. re: wolfe

          Great idea, just looked up Trinity road and we'll definitely be taking it as a respite from the highways. Thanks

        2. re: Coco T.O.

          For your Wednesday in Healdsburg, Barndiva has a beautiful back garden, if that is available (they often use if for private parties). And to make things even better, on Wednesdays they have a 3-course prix fixe dinner.

          With the nice weather we've been having, an evening meal would be nice outdoors too. It's a beautiful setting (the indoors are nice too). Their food may sound simple but everything is exquisite.

          1. re: Coco T.O.

            We enjoy Don Giovanni. Is Grace's Table part of the chain? Grace Balducci? Also loved Dry Creek Kitchen.

        3. Just got back...

          Healdsburg: We were impressed with Dry Creek Kitchen. Cyrus was outstanding in every way. Pretty good wine pairings, too. If you can get into Scopa I'd highly recommend that for some seriously good Italian food. I'm a huge fan of Copain winery and they have a pretty nice view-great people.

          We spent most of our time in Yountville. We've been to Bistro Jeanty a few times and have had mixed results but this last time was very, very good. Nice lunch at Etoile at Dom. Chandon. Redd Wood has some killer pizza & pastas. We also went to Lucy for dinner and were very, very impressed. Had dinner at Bottega and can't recommend it.

          Auberge is a great place for lunch and the view though not cheap. Hess is worth the drive.

          3 Replies
          1. re: HoosierFoodie

            Great, thanks for all the help. We're changing things up just slightly and making our way to Lucy for their Supper Menu on Sunday night and sitting on the patio, should be a great experience. Now we'll probably spend Monday night in Sonoma. Any reco's for restaurants in Sonoma? Also, looks like Ad Hoc is full on Tuesday, so any other recommendations in Yountville that are similar to Ad hoc? Appreciate the help!

            1. re: Coco T.O.

              Yountville is super small so really the only other options are Redd, Redd Wood (casual sister restaurant), Bottega (Italian), and Bistro Jeanty (classic french bistro).

              Morimoto's in Napa (a 15/20 minute drive from Yountville) is getting stellar recs from people on this board.

              1. re: goldangl95

                Love Bistro Jeanty for lunch, not to much dinner. The tomato soup in puff pastry is killer!

          2. Sonoma:
            Girl & The Fig (right on the square - fun/lively). I've never had a bad experience! Indoor & outdoor seating.
            A newer spot is Olive & Vine (it's not too far - romantic dining room). Lovely food, very personal service.

            1. Hi there. You can almost not go wrong with any of your options, unless service is having a bad day. Having lived in Yountville for a while, and then visiting with my wife every year since then, the obvious "elephant in the living room" is quite overlooked: Hurley's, which is literally in the center of town, and driven past in search of FL, AH, BJ, etc. Even during a 2-1/2 day trip, my wife and I will often go there for dinner one night, then lunch before heading off to the airport. Friends who live there love its local flare. Everything is fantastic, down-to-earth. If you're lucky to be there during wild-game time, you'll find boar, elk, etc. Tomato salad or beet salad is a wonderful pick. They also have a great bar to eat at, and patio dining.

              1. Now is a good time to stay in Sonoma. The season is a bit slower. El Molino has good food.

                Estate I believe is either closing or closed...if your talking about the Sonoma place. I would recommend spending time in Sonoma and Petaluma. It's much less of a drive than going to Healdsburg or Dry Creek Area.

                Petaluma has some great Italian food. If it's a great view you are after then look no further than Sonoma...Also check out La Salette in Sonoma. It's portugese food. Much fun and very good when everybody else is doing quasi french stuff.

                Bartholemew Park Winery has the best views in Sonoma. They have hiking trails on the grounds that give you a full panoramic view of the SF bay. You will not get that kind of view anywhere else. The wines are okay too.