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Nov 8, 2012 06:21 PM

Where do locals go for dinner in Napa? Looking for one more place to eat....

After all the input I've already gotten from some of you, I'm almost hesitant to ask for

I had figured to just wing it on Sunday, Nov 18th, and find somewhere downtown Napa using the "walk around and find somewhere that smells good technique", but I'm finding that the better restaurants fill up fast.

I think somewhere in the valley that is casual and friendly, but not too casual (brew pub noisy casual), but yet not too stuffy either where jeans are frowned on, and a dinner jacket is required. Something reasonably priced at around 40 per plate max (plus wine of course).

We already have reservations booked for our seven night visit in the area at: The Farm at Carnaros, Morimoto's, JoLe, Brunch at Auberge du Soleil and three dinners at the CIA with celebrity chefs cooking during the Flavor Napa event. So, we just need one more place to go.

I was told that Grace's Table is a local's favorite. Then I heard that Bistro DonGiovanni and Redd are also quite good and places that local's go. Out of these three, what do you think? or, is there somewhere else we should go? We have pretty eclectic pallets for food, so anything goes as long as it's good.


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  1. Redd is definitely more high-end and the locals eat at Richard Reddington's pizza joint, Redd Wood vs. Redd. Bistro Don Giovanni is great and we eat there for lunch, when it is a little cheaper.

    We also eat a LOT at Grace's Table (especially during their happy hour when the appetizers menu is half-price), Oxbow Market (especially on Tuesday's, when there are lots of discounts to be had), Pizza Azzuro for good wood-fired pizza, and Zuzu for tapas.

    Oenetri is a favorite, but a little more expensive, Tarla is Mediterranean-inspired cuisine that I enjoy more for lunch (again, the price), Angele and Bistro Jeanty.

    Currently avoiding:
    - Carpe Diem for being wildly inconsistent
    - Bouchon for having slipped severely in the past few years
    - Celadon for being very, very dated
    - Fish Story for being overwrought with heavy sauces that do not showcase the fish well enough
    - Cole's for being just a steakhouse that charges too much money
    - Press for pretty much the same reason as avoiding Cole's

    Hope this helps!

    4 Replies
    1. re: CarrieWas218

      That input does help! I was hoping you'd chip in as I appreciate your input and enjoy reading your posts on this board. I'm beginning to think that I owe you and miss Maria a drink for all the help you've given me.

      One of the guy's in the group said he's always wanted to try Redd, so I went ahead and made reservations there. Hopefully the planets align and we can grab a lunch at Grace's and a couple of your other recommendations.

      1. re: akmike

        I'm mostly in agreement with the above recommendations. I'd further whittle down the list by offering my faves among them: Bistro Jeanty, Redd Wood, Goose & Gander (my vote for the best burger in the Napa Valley), Pizza Azzuro, and Zuzu.

        1. re: akmike

          Grace's Table is also open for breakfast and brunch . . . although I have only been there for lunch and dinner . . . their food has always been excellent.

        2. re: CarrieWas218

          Agree with Oenetri, very very good. Love Oxbow Market too.

        3. Small world - my husband and I will be "winging it" in Napa on that same Sunday! I think we'll likely end up at Grace's Table. I'm dead set against getting into the car and driving anywhere that night, so we'll be hoofing it somewhere. We have Morimoto booked one night, and lunch at Redd also.

          I love the "currently avoiding" input - thanks, Carrie.

          1. On our last trip to Napa in May, we had a mediocre lunch at Don Giovanni. The pork chop was tough and chewy, the service indifferent.

            Brix, OTOH, gave us some superb food for our final lunch. Also a much prettier dining room, and excellent service.