Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Best Restaurants in Napa Valley


gmi3804
 Share

Recommended Posts

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!

I was just there last week and had a very respectable meal. It was recommended to me by a couple of different people so I stopped in. If you are looking for a very good meal in a comfortable atmosphere, by all means stop by. If you are looking for a wow experience, keep on looking.

Wearing jeans to the best restaurants in town.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dined recently at Bistro Jeanty and had a disappointing meal. So disappointing that recalling it is actually a tad nauseating (particulars posted in another thread on this topic). Terra was fine, not fantastic. Martini House was excellent. Wappo Grill was very good.

There's a new place in Calistoga that may be open by now. It's in the slot previously occupied by Catahoula's (so right around the corner from Wappo). I can't remember the proposed name at the moment. Anyway, you could post an early report.

Can you pee in the ocean?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chefwoody,

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.

My wife took me there for my 40th. It was incredible. Because it was a surprise, I brought my own bottle of '86 BV George La Tour. Next time, I would go with their suggested wine pairing at $50 additional. We had a wonderful 3 hours where I had the opportunity to try things I wouldn't normally see elsewhere. I recommend and will be returning as soon as I can.

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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My recommendations would be Bistro Jeanty, Martini House and Wappo Bar and Bistro.

I'll totally agree with all of those..if you go to Wappo, be sure to have the chili relleno if they're still on the menu..and don't expect the regular heavy batter covered things....I think Wappo is only open for dinner; not sure. The others are open for lunch and dinners.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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?

Another great place in that area is River's End in Jenner. Excellent food and drinks and a great environment.

If you're up to it, Mankas Lodge is also open for dinners....a very special place and a little off the beaten path....it's sort of a well kept secret but it's very romantic and the food is as good as any IMO. You can check it out here: http://www.mankas.com/mankas/home.html

Mankas is located in Inverness on Tomales Bay....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would second the recommendation for Martini House in Santa Helena. I was there over Memorial Day Weekend with my girlfriend. The Rainbow Trout was very well prepared and my girlfriend's Duck Confit was equally spendid. The Lemon Custard/Tart that I had for dessert was worth breaking the diet for. Great dessert chef. This place was in order--food, service, a great outdoor space...wonderful.

I was less impressed with Don Giovanni in Yountville, where we headed for dinner ( I know, I know ...this was the place to go for lunch, not dinner...but it was a friends idea and we went along with it). The Porchetta was solid, the Liguini with Clam Sauce was a bit to oily for my girlfriend. The special dessert Fruit Trifle was pleasant. The service was sincere and prompt. The waiter was excellent, yet I had the same feeling, regarding atmosphere at Don Giovanni as I do when I am at some Italian restuarants on the Upper West Side, namely "cattle call". It was so busy that the waiter should have gotten a purple heart for his struggle to get the food to our table.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Had dinner at market 2 weeks ago...4th tiime eating there. Their concept is basic food at moderate prices...including the wine list. There is a section on the menu consisting of "American Classics"...such as macaroni & cheese, fish & chips, 1/2lb. hamburger & fries, fried chicken, etc. Other dishes are more inventive and change seasonaly. There is a $21.00 prix fixe 3 course dinner available every night. On Sunday, they feature pot roast, and on Monday prime rib.

Cute gimmick for dessert is the s'mores served with a small hibachi at your table. Another fun after-dining experience is the Flaming Groovy, again prepared and poured tableside.

Wines are marked up no more than $14.00/bottle...something nearly unhearad of in the Napa Valley.

All in all, if you're looking for gourmet fare, stick with Terra, French Laundry, Domaine Chandon or Pinot Blanc. If you're looking for good, simple, hearty food at down-to-earth prices, you can't go wrong with Market.

"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti."

- Dr. Hannibal Lecter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Wappo is only open for dinner

Wappo also serves lunch. Very pleasant-looking patio that we didn't get to try on our last visit.

Wappo has also opened some sort of taqueria establishment on the main street in Calistoga. I've not tried it, but if you wanted a quick meal it might be worth a try.

Can you pee in the ocean?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
Tracked down the thread that mentioned the name of the new place in Calistoga, Crush 29. Open yet? Anyone been?

From Paul Franson's column in the June 23 2004 edition of the Napa Valley Register:

"Sprout Restaurant quietly opened last Tuesday at the old Catahoula location in the Mount View Hotel in Calistoga.

Once to be called Bistro 29, the restaurant features California cuisine mostly inspired by Mediterranean cooking. It offers many small plates (and bowls), as well as interesting sounding seafood and meat main courses. Entrees are in the $20s (except a $15 vegetable plate), small dishes $5 to $13. A special feature is many cheeses for dessert or whenever you want them.

It's open each day except Monday. The old bar is open and welcoming."

Edited by samgiovese (log)

"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti."

- Dr. Hannibal Lecter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  From Paul Franson's column in the June 23 2004 edition of the Napa Valley Register:

"Sprout Restaurant quietly opened last Tuesday at the old Catahoula location in the Mount View Hotel in Calistoga.

Paul Franson corrected this article on June 30, 2004. The name of the restaurant is "Stomp".

"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti."

- Dr. Hannibal Lecter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks to all for their suggestions. I'm back from my trip and about 40 pounds heavier! :shock:

In Napa:

Terra - A quiet, refined dinner. We had a 6:00 reservation, and though we were among the first to arrive we were seated in the Tap Water room (as I like to refer to it). The service and food, however, was wonderful, and the waiter perked up after we ordered a pricey bottle of wine.

Wappo Bar & Bistro - Enjoyable lunch on the patio. Delicious Duck taquitos and efficient, friendly service.

Bistro Don Giovanni - An 8:00 dinner reservation bought us a spectacular sunset view from the north patio. The discomfort of the cramped two-top was soon forgotten after a delicious caprese salad and the porchetta. Sublime.

Bouchon - Taking 2-1/2 hours off for lunch during a blazing hot day was quite a treat. Wonderful rabbit rilettes and a sublime peeky toe crab salad. And my nose hairs are but a fond memory after sampling the spicy French mustard served with the perfect baguettes. As the room filled up, service slowed to a crawl, but after two Grey Gooses (Geese? Goosi?) I didn't notice. After waiting over 20 minutes for our lemon tart, however, we raised the white flags and asked for our check. Mixed feelings about this one. Perhaps dining at off-hours is the answer.

Martini House - The best dinner of the trip. Exquisite Arts & Crafts bungalow, solicitous and helpful service, and a braised then grilled kobe beef short rib made me a happy camper.

From Napa we ventured out to the fairy-tale Chateau du Sureau and Erna's Elderberry House for a couple of wonderful days, then down to LA for some glitz. All in all, a relaxing, filling trip.

Thanks again for everyone's suggestions!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 8 months later...

We too had a disappointing dinner at Bistro Jeanty--especially the very fatty daube de boeuf. Quality seems to be slipping.

However, our lunch at the CIA Greystone restaurant was very good: asparagus and fava-bean salad, Nantucket Bay scallops with black mussels and artichoke hearts. Definitely worth a return visit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 6 months later...

I ate at Restaurant Budo on Tuesday. They have a menu if you like those things. There is also an 8-course chef's tasting and a 16-course chef's tasting (with wine pairings, of course).

Here's a re-cap of the 16-course tasting:

Amuse of Japanese melon with olive oil and micro cilantro. Sounds simple - tasted amazing.

1. Taco salad (the fish) with donburi and octopus and a Thai basil oil served with 02 Domaine Chandon Brut.

2. Hearts of palm with quince paste, avocado puree, and micro basil. Servd with a Gruner Veltliner.

3. Soy-poached duck on slices of squash with micro bok choy, pomegranate glaze, and pomegranate seeds. Served with an 8-year Kijosh Hanahato sake that was like a dark, tawny sherry making the combination in one's mouth like an erotic hoison sauce. Outstanding.

4. Lobster tuna roll with micro bok choy and sturgeon caviar. Served with Villa Wolf Vin de Pinot.

5. Panko-fried oyster on a paintbrush-smeer of reduced strawberry and beet juice with candied ginger. Served with a '99 Wunncsh d'Mann Gewurtztraminer. Astonishing.

6. Roasted Chinese chestnut puree with Marin chanterelles and shaved Himalayan truffles. Served with Lustau dry Montillado. Erotic.

7 - 10. Seafood sampler; Sashimi fluke with OVOO, Hamachi with mango and yuzu, big eye tuna belly, and Thai snapper in lemon juice. served with Haru Totai sake.

11. Miso-crusted foie gras on top of a big eye tuna with black truffle ponzu. Served with '03 Piesporter Treppchen Riesling.

12. Thai-style lobster bisque with uni foam and a American sturgeon caviar. Full of lobster chunks and a few scallion spears and thin slivers of shiitake. Served with 01 Spelletich Carneros Chardonnay.

13. John Dory with potato puree and sake bueurre blanc. Served with '3 Cote Broville.

14. Black pepper squab, pan seared, with pomegranate glaze, roasted beets, and Japanese sweet potato puree. Served with 03 Smith Wooten Syrah.

15. Dry aged Summerfield Farm New York Prime, soy-marinated with garlic choy and verjus puree. Served with '02 Mi Sueno Cabernet.

Palate-cleanser. Verjus sorbet with ripe Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Served with Gramans 10 year-old tawny port.

16. Sharffenberger fallen chocolate cake with Saigon cinnamon ice cream. Served with Elio Peroni Bigaro.

Mignardise of cashew cookies with caramel, prickly pear pats de fruit, and orange-chocolate truffles rolled in cashews.

The 16-course taster menu is $115 -- $125 if you want all seafood. An extra hundred for the wine. That made this dinner for two to be around $500.

Personally, I prefered all the fish courses best, especially the earlier ones. The John Dory, squab, and steak courses seemed pretty standard for haute cuisine. Perfectly prepared and all that, but after the subtleties of the earlier Japanese-influenced fish courses (mostly raw), the later courses actually seemed heavy. By and large the wine pairings were brilliant with the exception of the Syrah and Cab but ONLY because the wines were too young. Don't get me wrong - they are great wines... or will be in 5 years or so.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

SiseFromm:

Redd may be open by that time. On Washington in Yountville.

True - they are currently scheduled to open the week before Thanksgiving... However I'm one to stay away from a restaurant until it is in month three or four of operation and had time to iron out difficulties.

My current favorite low-key restaurant in Yountville is P.J. Steak -- a new iteration of Philippe Jeanty's Pere Jeanty. Ostensibly a steakhouse, but not the kind that makes you order all of the sides separately with no thought to the personality of the meat. Heartily recommend the Kobe beef short ribs and quail frisee salad!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen sounds really great. Casual, sophisticated yet simple California cuisine in the wine country. I can't ask for much more than that. As for our other plans, honestly, the big multi-coursed tasting meals spanning several hours don't appeal to me much on this trip. I don't want to do the Laundry or any other similar dining experience. I want to tuck into rustic food with big fat California wines. I'll probably do Bouchon, because, well, it's Bouchon. A lunch of steak frites sounds perfect.

R. Jason Coulston

jason@popcling.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...