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Napa suggestions for an east coast visitor

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A friend of mine from high school sent me the message below on Facebook. I figured I'd ask CHOW readers for some suggestions! Here is her message:

Hi Jenny & Happy New Year! ..... Hope u can help......If someone from the East was going to spend 5 days in the SF/Napa area would you have any recommendations? Does 2 nights SF & 3 Napa sound good. Restaurants, hotel, tours & vineyards not to be missed? I do have the French Laundry on my list. Have ya been? I hear its very hard to get a reissue there. Any tips? Thanks so much for any insight! :))

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  1. If you don't have reservations already (and $1K to blow on dinner for 2) cross FL off your list.
    2 nights in Napa and 3 in SF would yield more great meals.
    There are many fine restaurants in the NV, and some not so great. I've had great (affordable) meals at Redd Wood and had a great time at Ciccio across the street in YV.
    St. Helena: Great ambiance at Farmstead. Tra Vigne was great then got not great, but I haven't been for a couple years. Bistro Don Giovanni had very good Italian food, not life-changing, but the ambiance makes up for any food shortcomings. Pearl in Napa is a great lunch spot, but better is La Esperanza Taco Truck, usually parked on Soscol/McKinstry. I had one of the best burgers ever at Boon Fly, and their bacon bloody mary hits the spot.
    Wineries? That's a tome on its own.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mr_morcilla

      Is La Esperanza Taco Truck usually open on Saturdays, do you happen to know?

    2. The bigger question is what are their daytime intentions for the entire trip? If they are heavy wine lovers, than three days in Napa is more desirable. If they have never been to San Francisco and want to play tourist, than perhaps two days in Napa is sufficient.

      Unlike Mr. Morcilla, I am not a huge fan of Pearl in Napa, finding it just meh...

      The current hot spots in downtown Napa include Angele, Oenetri, Zuzu, and Oxbow market.

      Up valley, Bistro Jeanty in Yountville.

      In St. Helena, Goose & Gander, Cook and Terra are my favorites.

      I have had friends stay at both Auberge and Carnerios (expensive) or Silverado (more affordable). I have used Silverado and Westin for corporate booking and many people like the Napa River Inn for downtown walking.