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Mar 4, 2014 09:16 AM

Help choosing between restauarants in Napa Valley


Headed to Napa Valley for 6 days/nights in late March/early April.

Have searched and read through almost every thread on the subject and was able to narrow down restaurants for 5 of the 6 nights. Was hoping for assistance with the last choice.

So far, we have: Zulu, Adhoc (at my wife's insistence), Farmstead, Press, and Bistro Don Giovanni.

I've wanted to try Bouchon since our last trip to the Valley in '12 but have seen very mixed reviews. Any recommendations from the list below (or any that are not on the list?) Looking to keep the budget to around $200-$225 for two people. Thanks!


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    1. Whoops meant to write "Zuzu"; we are going there our first night for Tapas. Just having a tough time trying to pick our last stop of the week.

          1. re: maria lorraine

            Hi Maria,

            I read back through several of your posts while planning some of our stops, any recommendations for our last night out from the three options I listed above (or, a suggestion outside of those)?


            1. re: jjubinvi

              We have been doing so much gourmet cooking at home that we haven't dined out much, and when we do out it's for pizza or burgers.

              Carrie has lots of insight -- read her posts and she's a bit more current than me on Napa Valley restos.

              I'd like to urge you to do one picnic a day, weather permitting, at a winery. See if you can get into Ad Hoc on fried chicken night -- it is simply the best anywhere. I love Morimoto and would suggest you sit at the bar and watch the dishes go by and from that, decide what you want to order. It's expensive but good. I'm not as much a fan of Zuzu as others are. You might love Oxbow, strolling through all the eateries to see what appeals.

              Does Redd appeal? Goose and Gander is worth a stop at least for cocktails. I love Bistro Jeanty -- it is a charming little French restaurant -- and the tomato soup, and mussels and frites on the menu always satisfy.

              1. re: maria lorraine

                Thanks Maria!

                We are doing a Picnic Sunday on Spring Mtn. and going to Adhoc Monday for fried chicken. This is our second trip out (first was in 2012) and I'm trying to hit some of the more intimiate wineries this time around and not rush around as much as I did the first time.

                Below is our itenerary, would love any thoughts/critques:

                1145 Arrive @ SFO, stop at Marin Headlands for view
                130-230 Russian River Brewing
                4-5 Hotel
                5/6 Tapas at Zulu

                Mon (Carneros)
                10 Acacia
                11:30 Adastra
                1 Lunch @ Boon Fly
                3 Truchard
                630 Dinner @ Adhoc

                1015 Sinskey
                1115 MUMM
                1 Frog's Leap
                2 Lunch from Oakville Grocery
                3:30 Failla
                7 Dinner @ Farmstead

                Wed (Spring MTN)
                10 Pride MTN Winery
                1145-1 Picnic
                1:30 Keenan
                3 Barnett
                7 Dinner @ Press

                Day trip to Pt.Reyes Seashore
                Stop at Cowgirl Creamery
                7 Dinner @ Redd

                1030 The Hess Collection
                12 Walk around Yountville/grab lunch
                1 Heitz Cellars
                2 Downtown St. Helena
                3 Chappellet
                6:45 Dinner @ Bistro Don G.

                1. re: jjubinvi

                  That's a great itinerary. You'll have a blast.

                  Your timing on Hess Collection and Yountville at noon is tight.
                  You do know the Hess Collection is both a winery and spectacular contemporary art museum, right. The drive up to Hess is way up in the western hills -- It's totally worth it, but this is a place to easily spend an hour or more. So, you won't get to Yountville till about 1.

                  Likewise for Chappellet. Downtown St. Helena is worth strolling around - it's charming, and the drive out to Chappellet will take longer you've planned. Just build yourself a cushion.

                  1. re: maria lorraine

                    Great, thanks for the feedback!

                    I did realize that Friday is a little tight, I may end up dropping Heitz Cellars entirely so we have more free time in St.Helana/Yountville on our last day.

                    We are staying at the Napa Winery Inn, so about 15-20 to Hess, plan to spend an hour and a half or so there between tasting and taking in all of the art.

                    Thanks again for taking the time to help, both this board and your prior posts have been a great resource.

                    1. re: jjubinvi

                      It will take you longer to get to Hess from your hotel. Steep curvy mountain road. Speaking from experience.

        1. Your itinerary looks great. Love Ad Hoc, REDD, Farmstead. Bistro Don Giovanni is good, but not sure it's anything too special (you might want to consider Bottega instead for Italian). Boon Fly, Oakville...make sense. You might also want to check out Dean & Deluca, as well as Oxbow Market (including Hog Island Oysters and Fatted Calf) for casual lunch/snack options. I'd second the recommendation for Celadon.

          I live in the Bay Area, but just got back from a quick boondoggle biz trip stay at Auberge du Soleil. I'd recommend eating breakfast there for an awesome view.

          If you wanted to consider another great option for dinner, Solbar (in Calistoga) is 1-star Michelin, relatively affordable and fantastically creative in an amazing environment. They're in that same Auberge resort group, in the Solage hotel.

          Not sure if you've been before to the area. If not, you might want to also check out Bouchon Bakery in Yountville (next to the restaurant) for snacks to take home. I love their cheddar bacon scones. Macarons are good. You'll see the line outside.

          For wineries, I loved the tasting and balcony atmosphere/view at Round Pond Estate.

          There is also this great little wine tasting room/art gallery with a fantastic patio to lounge/taste, right up the street from French Laundry. It's called Masonry.

          Have a great time!

          3 Replies
          1. re: mfishberg

            Thanks so much for the suggestions!

            I was debating replacing Press with another restaurant as am not crazy about the idea of spending $70 on a steak. Was thinking either Goose & Gander or Solbar, just debating whether I will be up for the 30+ minute drive from our hotel in Napa to Solbar. I hear G&G is good for drinks, the menu didn't look that interesting however.

            We have been once before but didn't get to Bouchon Bakery so I will definitely stop this trip. We did go to Oxbow Market (I think?) last time as we went to Model Bakery for breakfast a few times.

            Thanks again!

            1. re: jjubinvi

              I think Press might work for you because the quality is so high. I usually get the Kobe burger, wonderful spinach, mac n cheese, roasted potatoes, things like that.

              1. re: jjubinvi

                I think your idea of replacing Press is a good idea and the two I would have suggested would be G&G or SolBar...

                Since you will be mostly up-valley for the day, I would suggest not bothering going back down valley to your hotel before dinner. You could head to Calistoga or St. Helena and wander around either town. St. Helena has some lovely art galleries and shops while Calistoga is a bit more folksy. You could also consider a mud bath or massage at one of the many lovely day spas in Calistoga.

                Honestly, even heading back down to Napa and going back to Press is still a jaunt going back-and-forth. Stay up-valley - you'll be happier and less stressed.