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Wine country special occasion meal advice

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Hi Chowhounders,

We're going to Napa for two nights at the end of October and I'm looking for some advice on a restaurant for a tenth wedding anniversary dinner. I'm on the waitlist for FL, but not holding my breath, but that being said, my husband is not a fan of extensive tasting menus, but would happily make an exception for FL. We have a reservation for Medowood (three courses in the bar; I couldn't persuade him to do the nine course menu in the restaurant) the day before our anniversary and a lunch at Bouchon the day after, but we need a restaurant for the day itself. Really good food is the most important criteria, but also want it to be nice enough to wear a suit and not feel out of place. We went to AQ in SF last year on your recommendation and had a great time (and have returned there multiple times). Something a little along those lines would be great but I'm not sure it exists in the wine country. We'll have a car so anywhere in that area is possible.

Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions.

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  1. Suit-worthy, celebration meals in Napa could be had at Etoile. It is really elegant and the food is exceptional. Redd is comparable for food, but you won't see many in a suit.

    Pity about Meadowood - in many ways, I think it far exceeds FL in offerings, ambience, and experience.

    5 Replies
    1. re: CarrieWas218

      thanks so much for the recommendations; we ate a Etoile a number of years ago, but found it a bit stuffy--could just have been our mood that night. I've also been to Redd--also a number of years ago and did the tasting menu with my sister. Found it somewhat overwhelming with both of us getting different dishes, so ended up tasting 10+ courses.
      However, I've made a reservation at Redd and we'll stick to the a la carte! I'm happy that I'll still get to taste some of the offerings at Medowood as well, if only in the bar. My husband will not be swayed and I want us both to be happy on our anniversary dinner!

      Thanks again for your help.

      1. re: CarrieWas218

        If she wants something like AQ, then I wouldn't send her to Etoile. What about Terra? I haven't been there for a while, but I think you could dress up there and not feel out of place, and it's formal without being stuffy.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          thanks for the recommendation; we actually went to Terra to celebrate our first wedding anniversary, and I toyed with the idea of returning ten years later, but I think we want something more contemporary. I think the restaurant we're really looking for probably exists in SF and not the wine country.

          Thanks for your help!

          1. re: sportcat

            Actually, I think the most A.Q.-like restaurants in wine country are, in order:

            JoLe (Calistoga)
            SolBar (Calistoga)
            Goose & Gander (St. Helena)

            1. re: CarrieWas218

              Thanks again. I've been to SolBar, but not to either of the others. Goose and Gander looks like a great place for a cocktail!

      2. I'd call Meadowood and tell them what you'd like to do, or what would suit you. Let them know it's your ten-year anniversary. The nine-courses are not filling, or you can scale back to five. A meal there is truly is a memorable experience. The Meadowood staff is very accommodating, and the setting and service are exemplary.

        1 Reply
        1. re: maria lorraine

          Thanks for the suggestion. I'll give them a call today. I was under the impression that we would only be able to eat in the restaurant if we went for the whole nine course menu. I could probably persuade my husband to do five :)