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I need some differnent dining ideas - be creative please

Petaluma, California
Level Contributor
1,157 posts
134 reviews
I need some differnent dining ideas - be creative please

I would like some creative ideas for dining. Let's just suppose I get into French Laundry - cross your fingers for me - and we will do Bistro Jeanty. We have a fondness for Tra Vigne too.

But let's say we have a couple more lunches and a dinner to pick something wonderful and fun. We are already doing the ultimate in price and excellence. So, where else should we go in the area for good quality - fun atmosphere - relaxing, you know a memorable kind of place.

Thanks.

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San Francisco, CA
Level Contributor
379 posts
6 reviews
1. Re: I need some differnent dining ideas - be creative please

Terra...one of the best places in the valley. For something at the other end of the spectrum, The Bounty Hunter and their beer can chicken with lots of great wines by the glass.

Napa, California
Level Contributor
101 posts
29 reviews
2. Re: I need some differnent dining ideas - be creative please

Lunch- I know this sounds weird, but in St. Helena on the main street, try Taylor's refresher- an outdoor hamburger stand that is immenseley popular becuase it is GOOD! beisdes a great hamburger, their grilled ahi sandwich is incredible.

If you're staying in Napa, I'd recommend Coles chophouse for a great steak (Just won the local chamber's award for best business last night) or Greg's other restaurant "Celadon". My 2 top choices for Italian in Napa are Belle Arti and Allegria.

I have heard good things about Redd in Yountville. Fairly new, located where Piatti used to be. I ate at Zares (site of the old Reh Hen) last week. It was good, lots of cumin used due tothe middle eastern flavors. they've done a nice job and the food was good. Cindys backstreet Kitchen in St. Helena is another that might meet your needs. Not sure where you're staying in the valley. If you want more suggestions email me.

Danvers...
Level Contributor
912 posts
83 reviews
3. Re: I need some differnent dining ideas - be creative please

Two places in down town Napa that I thought was fun was THe Bounty Hunter also for the Beer Can Chicken and Zuzu for tapas.

Petaluma, California
Level Contributor
1,157 posts
134 reviews
4. Re: I need some differnent dining ideas - be creative please

These are great. I have heard of some of these, but not all which is just what I was looking for! We are coming in late March.

I have heard about a place called Market in St. Helena. Is this very good? What kind of food? Is sounds like a relaxing atmosphere, correct?

Also, when we were there in December we took a picture of a giant cow dancing in front of this diner type place. What was that? Is it anygood?

Thanks for all your help gang!

Napa, CA
Level Contributor
4,740 posts
2 reviews
5. Re: I need some differnent dining ideas - be creative please

Gourmand-

The giant cow is in front of the Ugly Corner Cafe.

We haven't been there, but I'm sure some of the other local contributors have!

For unique suggestions, here are a few:

Russ loves to pick up an Acme Sweet Baguette, a few slices of Willie Bird Smoked Duck, and some Fromage d'Affenois at the Oakville Grocery. Park on the Oakville Crossroad overlooking Opus One, or (if the weather is nice), have a picnic at a local winery.

Taylor's Refresher is an *excellent* suggestion. On a sunny Sunday, the back picnic area is a "playdate" area-- local parents bring their kids, who organize games amongst themselves while the parents chat. It has a wonderful wine country ambiance that you won't often see.

Last but not least, we both love Table One at Julia's Kitchen. You get to sit and watch the Chefs as they prepare the meals (wonderful eye candy for any foodie!). Table One comes with the Taster's menu, but they are happy to accomodate food restrictions. And the wine pairings are wonderful.

You may want to consider Kelly's No Bad Days Cafe in downtown Napa (one of our favorite foodie hangouts). Beware, though: IF you are offended by anti-Bush and anti-Hummer H2 sentiment, you're not going to like it here. It's like a little slice of Berkeley in the middle of the wine country-- run by an amazing cook who single-handedly prepares *all* of the entrees (so be prepared to wait if it's busy). She uses organically grown veggies (some of the best we've had anywhere), and her desserts are, in a word, perfect: Never too sweet, but bringing out the best of each component part. Her many ribeye is the best steak deal in Napa (not cheap, but a HUGE piece of meat, w/great mashed potatoes and veggies). And her salads are the best we've ever had, anywhere. She is truly a culinary artist. Highly recommended, if you can handle the *very* liberal decor and attitude!

-Russ & Sharon

Innkeepers

Napa Old World Inn

Napa, CA
Level Contributor
4,740 posts
2 reviews
6. Re: I need some differnent dining ideas - be creative please

Oops-- that's "Manly Ribeye", not "many ribeye"!

-R & S

St Helena, CA
Level Contributor
177 posts
63 reviews
7. Re: I need some differnent dining ideas - be creative please

Gourmand-

I would definitely go to Market on main street St. Helena. There is just something so homey, relaxing about it, yet it is upscale and special feeling. It is a rare combination in a restaurant. I never fail to take my guests there. For lunch they have a special every day for around $10 of soup, salad, and treat, (usually a rice krispie treat.) We always always get the tableside smores (a little flame you toast your own marshmallows over).

When I think good quality and fun atmosphere, in my own town, I head up to the Silverado Brewery (just north of St Helena) for fresh housemade beer and burgers, if I want to spend $10-15 pp. Ditto for Taylor's refresher. For about $20 pp I head to Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen, on Railroad, just behind Main Street (they have a little alleyway off of Main). Mushroom tamales, grilled artichokes, meatloaf to die for, pineapple upside down cake.

If you eat at Market and Cindy's it will be memorable. If you go to the brewery or to Taylors you will be among locals, food will be slightly cheaper, and also memorable . have fun!

Santa Clara...
2 posts
8. Re: I need some differnent dining ideas - be creative please

The Rutherford Grill is not a bad choice--great staff, an incredible Grilled Artichoke, a good chophouse. A nice benefit is no corkage--so if you want to try the wine you just bought, feel free. If it's a nice day, dine al fresco on the patio as it can get noisy inside.

Napa, CA
Level Contributor
4,740 posts
2 reviews
9. Re: I need some differnent dining ideas - be creative please

Update: The Manly Ribeye is off the menu at Kelley's. :(

We second the recommendation for Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen, if only for dessert: Her Campfire pie is like a S'more, only *better*-- served toasted and burn-your-fingers hot. It's amazing. (Cindy Pawlcyn is one of the founders of Mustard's Grille, and has developed many of the recipes there, and at the Fog City Diner).

All good stuff!

-Russ & Sharon

Innkeepers

Napa Old World Inn

Level Contributor
39,086 posts
1,014 reviews
10. Re: I need some differnent dining ideas - be creative please

I'll second the suggestion for Terra. You may also want to consider Domaine Chandon. La Toque gets good reviews, I would like to try it sometime, located in Rutherford. Auberge du Soleil is also one of our favorite places for lunch out on the terrace, also in Rutherford.