Napa and San Francisco: Need Dining Ideas.

On Friday we’re having dinner at Zazu. But we need some help for Thursday and Saturday…

The Thursday goal: Gordon’s Wine Bar in Yountville, which is apparently closed. Damn. We’re having a long Wednesday night meal, so a relaxed, decent-food-in-a-good-wine-bar kind of meal would be ideal. Something with local character.

The Saturday goal: An early dinner in San Francisco before we fly home at 10pm. While Michael Mina is probably a hair too much, we’re open to anything. Have enjoyed many lunches in San Francisco, but never a fine dinner.


For Yountville, there’salways Bouchon. Good food. Nice bistro vibe.

While not a wine bar, I highly recommend Redd in Yountville. Went there again this past Saturday. Superb.

For SF, my current fave is SPQR. The chef came from the French Laundry. The place is casual and execution of food is perfect. Owned by the same people who run A16, another favorite but I give the nod to SPQR. Nice affordable wine list too.




Another place in Yountville is Bottega. They have a Bar Menu in addition to their dinner menu. If you go, get the
Truffle-Parmaggiano Fries, awesome. I believe they only do Apps in the bar. Nice wine list and not out of sight.
I wish we had food to offer you in our wine lounge but we don’t . If you want a wine bar, there is one in downtown Napa called The Bounty Hunter, they are on First Street.

We haven’t been into San Francisco in so long I couldn’t give you a good recommendation." onclick=";return false;" onclick=";return false;

Evan - if you are looking for a “fine” dinner in SF. I would consider either Incanto or Quince. Both are amazing restaurants and among the best in the city but won’t set you back Michael Mina prices. The Incanto menu can be a bit adventurous but the food is really, really good. The chef Chris Cosentino also runs a website dedicated to Offal and is part owner in a salumi company, Boccalone (they have a store in the Ferry Plaza Bldg in SF).

I am not a fan of A16. It’s too inconsistent too me and what is really disappointing is their pizza. IT should be awesome but I find it undercooked every time.

SPQR is a fun place but I haven’t been since they revamped the menu a bit and changed chefs.

As far as Napa Valley goes, Carrie’s suggestion for Bottega is a good one. Michael Chiarello is a great chef and the restaurant is really good.

Redd is fantastic but more of a fine dining experience, although, you can sit at the bar and eat.

Ad Hoc and Bouchon are both Thomas Keller restaurants in Yountville. Ad Hoc has a set 3 course menu (best to see what 3 items are being served that day) good wine list and is fairly casual. Bouchon is also fairly casual with a decent wine list and right across the street from Bottega. Actually you can do a bar/food crawl by starting at Ad Hoc, moving to Redd, then Bouchon then over to Bottega and get an appetizer and glass of wine from each place!!!

If you are staying closer to Napa, Bounty Hunter can be fun for a wine bar experience although I would skip the food and head over to Ubuntu which is a vegetarian restaurant. Great food and a fairly unique meal for Napa.

  • 1 for Quince. I’ve only been once, but I have never seen a happier room of customers stateside. I was dining solo and had a fantastic time as well." onclick=";return false;

I understand they moved recently and one of the main players was reported to be a really serious wine-oriented fellow. The locals know the full story no doubt.

Mitch - they did recently move into the old Myth restaurant space so they have a little more room now. Also, David Lynch (formerly of Babbo) is the wine director and has stated his goal to build the best Italian wine list in SF. Should be fun.

Thanks Tony ! The following isn’t the article I was recalling, but googling David Lynch and Quince discloses several worthwhile reads." onclick=";return false;

Great stuff, Tony et al. Quick take: I thought restaurants were supposed to be hurting with the weak economy. Hard to get a reservation! (…said the idiot who waited a bit too long.)

Supposed to be but at certain restaurants around the bay area, you’d never know. Quince and Incanto are both tough reservations.

You should try getting a reservation short notice at one of our fine restaurants in the Oakland, Berkeley area…almost impossible as a friend from Marin found out a month or so ago.

As for the Keller restaurants, love Ad Hoc, Bouchon not so much.

As others have said, Bottega is a good option. We have had good success at Celadon in Napa as well.

One of the best moderately-priced restaurants in SF is La Ciccia. Italian with an emphasis on the cuisine of Sardinia. Kick-ass wine list with a great selection of wines from that region.

My last experience at Quince was mixed. I thought my app and pasta were very good, however at the prices they charge, I expect my socks to roll up and down. Sandi and I had the Dungeness Crab & Prawn timbale. Pristine ingredients, but not real exciting. Next was the house speciality, one large ravioli with 6 distinct fillings. Again very good, but not earth-shaking. We had the lamb loin as our main course and THAT was absolutely stellar. Service was outstanding.

Kokkari, Kokkari, Kokkari =) never had a bad meal there and the atmosphere will always remind you of SF…you can practically live off their appetizer menu, well at least I use to every Tuesday hahahaha

Jonathan - good to see you playing around these parts. I agree Kokkari is pretty terrific.

Gary Danko comes to mind! More similar to the level of Michael Mina.

You want something more casual or more of the true experience?

While we are on the subject of SF, does anyone know of a good Ethiopian restaurant there?

Linda - I have to profess ignorance of SF and Ethiopian.

However, there are quite a few really good ones in my neighborhood of North Oakland/Berkeley. If you are willing to venture to this side of the Bay

I’ll be there at the end of the month for ZAP, and will unfortunately be tied up with work and work people most of the time. I was just thinking of hitting someplace on the way home. I’m craving Ethiopian.

while I haven’t been to any of 'em, there are a handful in Berkeley…if you make it out to the East Bay, hit me up as I’m moving there this weekend

Moving? Wow.
Well, we’ll have to have an east bay offline sometime soon.

I’ll see if I can find any. Linda, pardon my ignorance, but who do you work for? I won’t be at ZAP (at least I dont think so) but my fiancee Traci and her friends will. I’ll have them stop by.

If you ever have time to hit Oakland/Berkeley, let me know!