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Mar 25, 2014 11:55 AM

Help me with my choices in SF and Napa

We will be in SF early April and have two dinners and two lunches. Last time we dined at SPQR, Barbacco, Atelier Crenn and Commonwealth.
This time I have reservations for Verbena and AQ for dinner and Bar Tartine for brunch. I know AQ just changed their menu format and wonder if anyone have tried their new menu? I like creative food that tastes good and looked at Stone's Throw (a little far from Vitale), Central Kitchen, Outerlands (chef change), 1760 and Nico. Aveline looks interesting, but they are not open yet. So what do you think? Should I stick with my choices or change AQ for something else?

What is a must order at B. Patisserie besides the Kouign Amann?
Same question with Craftsman and Wolves?

We are staying in Downtown Napa and I really tried to find something interesting and creative, but I didn't come up with anything I was looking for. It seems like most of the Napa restaurants are on the rustic side. Right now I have reservations for Angele and Redd for our two dinners. I also looked into Jole, Farmstead, Torc, Napkins, LuLu's Kitchen at 1313, Goose and Gander, √Čtoile and Auberge du Soleil (my uncle recommended).
I need two breakfast places and since we are staying close to Oxbow Market, Model bakery would be one of the choices. As far as French bakeries is Bouchon the best we can do?
Is Frati gelato any good?

I appreciate any help and thank you for reading.

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  1. The dishes at AQ are similar, they just dropped a la carte and are now only four- and ten-course prix-fixe.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      How did you enjoy your meal there since they changed to the new format. I found it good but I do think it's different than what it was before. You didn't find it different when you went?

      1. re: tjinsf

        They only changed a few days ago and I haven't been yet, I was just going by what the chef said about their plans. How did you think it was different?

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          I think the dishes are getting more refined and he is experimenting more. They aren't get more complex in terms of how they are made but on focusing on only 1-2 ingredients and making it exceptional. Also now the dishes are more harmonious but that's probably because they are set from the get-go.

    2. For downtown Napa that is not quite rustic, I would recommend Zuzu for tapas or Tarla Mediterranean.

      For breakfast, I would suggest driving out of town a few miles to Boon Fly Cafe (love the Green Eggs & Ham and doughnut bites!)

      I'm a huge fan of JoLe and Farmstead, but think of Auberge as $$$$ special occasion dining only.

      1 Reply
      1. AQ with the new menu is still quite good and one of my faves. I probably spent less for the 4 course. I didn't find the 10 course to be as developed but we also had some dietary restrictions. If you haven't been before I'd stick with the 4 course.

        I totally biased with your choice though since Verbena is my favorite new restaurant so far of this year in SF. I've been there way too often.

        2 Replies
        1. re: tjinsf

          Thank you. I will stick with Verbena and happy to hear you have been there many times. What are your favorites there?
          As far as AQ I wish I could see some pictures of the new dishes. I still have a little over two weeks so I can decided on that.

          1. re: mrsjoujou

            The dishes look similar to past dishes with simple but artistic plating.

            Verbena I love because I can go there with folks with almost any dietary things and they can make dishes or already have dishes.
            Here's a thread where I talked about some of the food as do others