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Best Restaurants in Napa Valley


gmi3804
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For lunch I'd recommend Bistro Don Giovanni and ZuZu. For dinner check out Pere Jeanty, The Martini House, and Terra.

I second the recommendations for Bistro Jeanty and Bistro Don Giovanni. Both are excellent for lunch as well.

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Terra, hands down, no doubt

Dave Valentin

Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler

"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.

"Got what backwards?" I ask.

"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.

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Thanks for all the recommendations! I only have time for six meals!

What's the difference between Bistro Jeanty and Pere Jeanty? Is one more casual than the other? And do I want to "waste" a meal at a French Bistro? We have so many good French Bistros in Chicago, I like to try more locally-flavored places when I travel (i.e., good California cuisine. What passes for fresh produce in Chicago is pretty sad sometimes). Ditto for Italian. But then again I may be missing out on some of the best examples of these respective types. Decisions, decisions!

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What's the difference between Bistro Jeanty and Pere Jeanty? Is one more casual than the other? And do I want to "waste" a meal at a French Bistro? We have so many good French Bistros in Chicago, I like to try more locally-flavored places when I travel (i.e., good California cuisine. What passes for fresh produce in Chicago is pretty sad sometimes). Ditto for Italian. But then again I may be missing out on some of the best examples of these respective types. Decisions, decisions!

We just got back from Napa yesterday. Ate a very pleasant meal on the patio at Bistro Jeanty. However, as much as I liked the place, I didn't think it was anything too special. You can eat just as well at a French Bistro in Chicago or other cities that have good ones. So, in that respect, I'd agree with your inclination that it might be a 'wasted' meal. Again, it's a great place, but I would have preferred something more exciting and regional since I don't get to Napa much (I'm on the opposite coast).

Only other dinner we ate out was at the Martini House in St. Helena, which was good, but not exceptional. Other recommendations we got that I would have liked to follow up on: Tra Vigne and the CIA's restaurant (did go to a cool cooking demo at the CIA, though-- they have them daily-- worth checking out).

Chris Sadler

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Other recommendations we got that I would have liked to follow up on: Tra Vigne and the CIA's restaurant

A very knowledgeable foodie friend of mine ate at Tra Vigne 2 weeks ago and pronounced his meal very disappointing. I've only been there once since Chiarello left and wasn't very impressed either.

Perhaps some other locals can chime in, but for now it's not on our summer list like it was in the past (the outside patio can be wonderful on a summer evening)

Dave Valentin

Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler

"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.

"Got what backwards?" I ask.

"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.

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Thanks for all the recommendations!  I only have time for six meals!

What's the difference between Bistro Jeanty and Pere Jeanty?  Is one more casual than the other?  And do I want to "waste" a meal at a French Bistro?  We have so many good French Bistros in Chicago, I like to try more locally-flavored places when I travel (i.e., good California cuisine.  What passes for fresh produce in Chicago is pretty sad sometimes).  Ditto for Italian.  But then again I may be missing out on some of the best examples of these respective types.  Decisions, decisions!

I live in the area and would say that I rarely come across "California cuisine", as you say. California cuisine is really a philosophy that was started by Alice Waters and friends. In a nutshell, it calls for using the freshest local organic purveyors. This philosophy is applied to various types of cuisine (ie French, Italian, etc). Despite the good French and Italian food you have in Chicago, I wouldn't miss the chance to eat at Tra Vigne, Bouchon, or Bistro Jeanty - all of which apply this philosophy.

Considering this, go to Dean & Deluca or Oakville Grocery, arm yourself with plenty of local specialties like salami, foie gras mousse, cheeses, breads, olive oils, fruit, and of course wine and have a picnic at one of the quieter wineries.

Enjoy the trip! :smile:

Edited for grammar...

Edited by rdailey (log)
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Other recommendations we got that I would have liked to follow up on: Tra Vigne and the CIA's restaurant

A very knowledgeable foodie friend of mine ate at Tra Vigne 2 weeks ago and pronounced his meal very disappointing. I've only been there once since Chiarello left and wasn't very impressed either.

Perhaps some other locals can chime in, but for now it's not on our summer list like it was in the past (the outside patio can be wonderful on a summer evening)

Tra Vigne is a waste of time at this point, there are too many restaurants in the area serving better food with better service.

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I gotta chime in with the anti-Tra Vigna crowd. My last meal there was only average. Don Giovanni is good but it can be really loud if you eat inside. I may be a little burnt out on Don Giovanni though.

The Yountville staples of Bistro Jeanty, Pere Jeanty, Hurley's, Bouchon are all good options. Although I had a bad experience at Bouchon and won't be returning. Don't miss Margarita's at Compadres if your in Yountville.

In St. Helena, Martini house is the best. Cindy's Back Street Kitchen is another sure fire choice. The CIA's Greystone restaurant is good. But there are better choices. Don't miss 1351 lounge for Cosmos or Martinis. They infuse their own Vodka there.

The ZuZu suggestion is a good one and you could eat only in downtown Napa for your entire stay and have some really good meals. Cole's Chop House, Celadon, Tuscany, Allegeria, Belle Arti, Pearl's, Uva, Kelly's all serve excellent food. Another newer place in the Hatt Building that I can't remember the name of is supposed to be pretty good. I haven't been there yet, but my wife thought it was good. Maybe another local can help me out here.

For a really good meal that in my opinion rivals the French Laundry, check out La Toque in Rutherford. Same sampler style as the Laundry at a fraction of the cost. They also have a great wine pairing for each course and an incredible optional cheese course.

Andy Szmidt

WineMiles.com - great wines! low prices!

The early bird may get the worm. But it is the second mouse that gets the cheese.

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Don't miss Margarita's at Compadres if your in Yountville.

Ahhhh, the Backbar Marguerita....

My son has a friend who is a bartender there. I am rarely in any condition to drive home after we visit him.

Dave Valentin

Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler

"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.

"Got what backwards?" I ask.

"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.

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The Yountville staples of Bistro Jeanty, Pere Jeanty, Hurley's, Bouchon are all good options. Although I had a bad experience at Bouchon and won't be returning.

What happened?

For a really good meal that in my opinion rivals the French Laundry, check out La Toque in Rutherford. Same sampler style as the Laundry at a fraction of the cost. They also have a great wine pairing for each course and an incredible optional cheese course.

La Toque sounds amazing. Can you give more details about your meal there?

Thanks!

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One more vote for passing on Tra Vigne years ago it was my favorite, can't begin to tell you how diappointed we were last time we ate there a few months back.

Phil mentioned Wappo. I will have to second that one and suggest you have lunch on their patio. The atmosphere is wonderful, as is the food. We have sampled pretty much everything on the menu and never been disappointed. I even love their water - typical spa water infused with cucumber, mint, and citrus fruits.

Haven't been to Martini House yet, but friends have and raved. I've also heard good things about The Farmhouse but have not gotten there myself yet.

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For a really good meal that in my opinion rivals the French Laundry, check out La Toque in Rutherford. Same sampler style as the Laundry at a fraction of the cost. They also have a great wine pairing for each course and an incredible optional cheese course.

La Toque sounds amazing. Can you give more details about your meal there?

La Toque only rivals the French Laundry in price. I haven't found it to be significantly cheaper, though the food and service isn't anywhere near as good. If you can't get a table at the French Laundry it's a good backup plan, but the food isn't even in the same ballpark. The one advantage La Toque has is that they offer wine pairings with their tasting menu.

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a bit of a drive away, but you might want to try The Farmhouse in the Russian River Valley in Sonoma (near forestville). i had dinner there last week and it was really, really great. steve lietzke is the chef and he's doing a really good job. we did a long tasting menu, but probably the highlight was a beef carpaccio topped with a small salad of crisp sweetbreads and fresh porcini. an unexpected combination that really worked. awesome wine list, too, and not exorbitant. definitely my second-favorite restaurant in the wine country and not all htat far behind the first.

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Have to also raise a hand to Tra Vigne being So Over.

If you do manage to get in to TFL, skip Bouchon, as it's the "little sister" restaurant, and the preparations may be a bit redundant. In addition to the standouts of Terra & la Toque, try Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen (Cindy Pawlcyn's newish place) or Martini house. Both would make great lunch stops.

Bon appetit!

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a bit of a drive away, but you might want to try The Farmhouse in the Russian River Valley in Sonoma (near forestville). i had dinner there last week and it was really, really great. steve lietzke is the chef and he's doing a really good job. we did a long tasting menu, but probably the highlight was a beef carpaccio topped with a small salad of crisp sweetbreads and fresh porcini. an unexpected combination that really worked. awesome wine list, too, and not exorbitant. definitely my second-favorite restaurant in the wine country and not all htat far behind the first.

I'll be in that area this summer, Russ. Is this the place?

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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I'm an out of towner as well and am visiting Napa Valley this summer. I was told to eat at a place called "Market". Can anyone give me some feedback on this. I've looked for threads but have come up empty handed. I was told it's one of the best local places. Please help. Thanks for any feedback

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I'm an out of towner as well and am visiting Napa Valley this summer. I was told to eat at a place called "Market". Can anyone give me some feedback on this. I've looked for threads but have come up empty handed. I was told it's one of the best local places. Please help. Thanks for any feedback

I've not been, but here's what Zagat has to say:

While its St. Helena storefront suggests a simple joint, this newcomer’s pedigree hints at potential greatness: Nick Peyton (a front-of-the-house veteran of Gary Danko and the Ritz-Carlton Dining Room) and chef Doug Keane (ex Jardinière) present an all-American menu, while sommelier Bob Stuckey (ex French Laundry) oversees a wine list of both notables and little-knowns.

No ratings yet, as it's too new.

But it sounds good!

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I'm an out of towner as well and am visiting Napa Valley this summer. I was told to eat at a place called "Market". Can anyone give me some feedback on this. I've looked for threads but have come up empty handed. I was told it's one of the best local places. Please help. Thanks for any feedback

Several friends have been there, none have reported it to be outstanding. I can't get motivated to go there when Terra is down the block.

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