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SF/Napa Valley 4 Day Itinerary - Help Needed


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Restaurants & Bars San Francisco Bay Area Napa

SF/Napa Valley 4 Day Itinerary - Help Needed

Rich D. | | Aug 11, 2010 09:57 PM

Hello SF Chowhounders-

Longtime reader, first time poster. I'm a native NYC resident headed to beautiful San Francisco with my girlfriend during the second week of September, Wed night through Sunday morning. I visited the Bay Area once a couple of years ago and introduced myself to Zuni's Caesar salad, the Ferry Market, some chinese food in Chinatown, Fish in Sausalito and a couple of other restaurants in the city of Napa (Angele and Ristorante Allegria). I was really impressed with the local food scene and have decided to make our meals one of the focuses on this trip (as I'm sure every Chowhounder does when traveling).

So far, after scouring the boards, Bauer's top 100 lists, and certain food blogs, I came up with some tentative lunch and dinner plans. Please let me know what you all think of the meals we have set up and give any advice on some of the currently open dining spots that I have. As guidance, my girlfriend and I are pretty adventurous eaters. In NY, we've really enjoyed Marea, Wd-50, Recette, and Momofuku Ssam. In Chicago we loved Graham Elliot and MK. We don't do all that much italian when we dine out, but we would if the place is NOT pizzeria italian (see Marea). We don't dig offal (probably rules out Incanto right?) but are not adverse to regional cuisine. We like french bistro fare, seafood, new american, asian influenced cuisine, middle eastern, etc. Also note, this entire trip is subject to change, depending on whether we get in off TFL's waiting list. Doubtful I know.

So far here is what we have lined up-

Wed night - Free. Looking for a late-ish dinner reservations, 8:45 or 9 oclock due to our flight landing at SFO at 7:15. Certain places have appealed to me: Bar Crudo, Aziza (both of which I see are highly regarded on this board), Range, Nopa, or maybe something I'm not considering! It will be a later meal, so this rules out any tasting menus or anything super rich.

Thursday morning- Travel to St. Helena where we are staying. We will probably try to get to the Napa Valley as soon as we can. We aren't big on breakfast, but wouldn't mind if there were someplace good that we could stop at for an early lunch along the way... I don't quite grasp how picnicing works at the different vineyards, but picking up some food at the St. Helana market (don't remember the name) and picnicing is something we would definitely do.

Thursday night - We currently have Cindy's Backstreet Bistro reserved for 830. We also considered Martini House and Terra. Any thoughts on this?

Friday day - Wing it for lunch because we are wine tasting all day. Any must see wineries in the St. Helana/Yountville area?

Friday night - Reservations at Redd for 8:30. The menu at Redd really did it for me. We debated Bottega and Bouchon, but Redd seemed to fit our flavor profile. Is it a stuffy atmosphere? We are in our late 20's and would prefer if we weren't the youngest people in the room. That is definitely not a deal killer though.

Saturday day - drive back to SF, 12 or 1 oclock'ish lunch at Zuni Cafe. Like I stated earlier, we went to Zuni for dinner a few years back and really enjoyed it. We wanted to go back to get the Caesar and some oysters (and from what I read they have a killer bloody mary), but we didn't want to re-do one of the precious few dinners we had! Thus, presto, Zuni for lunch.

Saturday dinner- Ame 8:30. I figured that the previous 4 days we will probably have beaten the New American/California/farm to table cuisine to death, so this would be a good change of pace. For some reason, I don't know if I'll love this place though. I keep having second thoughts. Would this and Bar Crudo be too similar (if we do both)?

Also, this is likely to be the most extravagant meal of the trip so I want it to be something tremendous. Coi, Frances, and Spruce are all pretty much booked for that night. Any thoughts on a suitable alternative or is Ame a good choice? I've looked into Saison, Quince, and Prospect and all of them interest me. I don't want to do a super formal dining experience like Michael Mina or The Four Seasons. Something that's hip, delicious, and somewhere that I'll be able to brag about/recommend to everyone back east.

Anyway, please help me out SF Chowhounders and I promise to do the same if you end up on any NYC or NJ boards.

Zuni Cafe
1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Bar Crudo
655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Martini House
1245 Spring St., St. Helena, CA 94574

Four Seasons Restaurant
1163 S De Anza Blvd, San Jose, CA 95129

Ristorante Allegria
1026 First Street, Napa, CA 94559

6525 Washington Street Suite A9, Yountville, CA 94599

2124 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94110

6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599