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Celebration dinner -- Sonoma, Napa, etc

Old Feb 28th, 2008, 12:24 PM
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Celebration dinner -- Sonoma, Napa, etc

Looking for some advice/help in deciding on where to hold a 30th birthday dinner in Sonoma/Napa (we are renting a house in Sonoma but will be traversing the general area) -- a group of friends and I are headed to northern California wine country for a four-day long weekend. At this point, I have narrowed it down to The Farm at Carneros Inn, Martini House, Terra, and Meadowood. We are foodies, but I do not want to be in a stuffy/snobby environment. Any recommendations amongst these restaurants or any other suggestions?
Thanks much!
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Old Feb 28th, 2008, 02:17 PM
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Terra is very good, it is in St. Helena. You may want to consider Ad Hoc in Yountville, a fairly new venue that offers a Fixed Prixe menu each evening, very good food and really fun ambiance here, not stuffy at all! ***kim***
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Old Feb 28th, 2008, 02:53 PM
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Your list is good. I particularly like Martini House. I'm not sure what exactly you mean by stuffy/snobby but if its what I think, you might not like Meadowood.

Other places you might want to consider for a special dinner are Bouchon, Bistro Jeanty, and Domaine Chandon, all of which are located in Yountville. Bistro Jeanty would have the most relaxed atmosphere.
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Old Feb 28th, 2008, 04:52 PM
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It really depends on how many people are in your party. And there are so many great restaurants.
Recently we reconnected with Brix (just north of Yountville) and have had 2 wonderful meals there and really outstanding service. If you are there when there is still some daylight, the view out back is lovely.
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Old Feb 28th, 2008, 06:06 PM
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Thanks for all the feedback, very helpful. It is a group of 7 and while we all love food and wine (and all types and varieties thereof), we are definitely a fun bunch who don't take ourselves too seriously, so I just don't want to end up at a place that is uptight and stuffy atmosphere/service. I've heard great things about the space at Farm, but sounds like the food isn't as good as Terra, Ad Hoc, Martini House etc...does that ring true with any of you? Thanks again for the help.
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Old Feb 28th, 2008, 06:30 PM
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While I've stayed at Meadowood and loved it, even with the $800 a night price tag, I wouldn't have dinner there. Meadowood's grounds and rooms are not intentionally stuffy, but at the price you pay for a room, there are more than a few people who stay there who are stuffy and that comes across in the public rooms, including the dining rooms.

For our 25th anniversary, we had a great dinner on the patio at Tre Vigne, brought a bottle of Caymus Reserve and left happy as can be. It's not stuffy - on the casual side. We told the waiter, just blow us away with a little of everything and he did. At the end of a day on the trail wine tasting, it was the right place for a couple of pretty tied "tasters"...
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Old Feb 28th, 2008, 09:08 PM
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I'm glad Wherenow had a good experience at Tra Vigne. The best part of that place is the atmosphere on the patio. However, we have fond the food to be less than thrilling and the ervice at times unnecessarily condescending.

I love Bistro Jeanty, but it can be pretty noisy in there. If you are here during warm weather the patio is nice, though, and the service is very good. Our experiences with Martini House included good food but some of that snootiness we dislike.
From your list, I'd choose Terra. Otherwise Brix. Haven't tried Ad Hoc yet, but kimamom says it's fun.
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Old Feb 28th, 2008, 09:12 PM
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Don't forget to enjoy Sonoma, walk the square, find some great french bread at the bakery, pick up some cheese at the cheese store, open up your wine. Sonoma has lots of good places to eat and drink.
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Old Mar 19th, 2008, 12:39 PM
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Thanks for all the recommendations, I ended up choosing Terra. For our last night there, I am thinking of Cafe la Haye or Farm at Carneros Inn. Haven't seen much feedback on either of these places on this forum, any opinions would be much appreciated.
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Old Mar 19th, 2008, 06:19 PM
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Lots of great recommendations here.

One place that often is overlooked is La Toque in Rutherford. It's one of the best restaurants in the Wine Country and I believe Zagat ranks its service just below that of the FL. It's one of our favorites when we want to splurge.

Another overlooked place is Auberge du Soleil. (I really don't mean to promote Rutherford.) Auberge is an exceptional restaurant and has the best views in the Wine Country especially at lunch. I'm surprised more people don't recommend it. Their wine list is one of the very best.

Brix too is a great place for lunch as ElNap says with fine views of the Mayacamas Range and the Oakville Bench. Peter Halikas was recently the chef there after closing his Napa place, NV. But, I've heard that he just moved on. So, stay tuned.

There are many great places to dine as you all know and Terra is a great choice.
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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 09:08 AM
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I'm probably in the minority, but I really don't like dining at Cafe La Haye. Its not that the food is bad, its the atmosphere. The place is very small and I just don't feel relaxed dining there.
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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 09:22 AM
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The General's Daughter in Sonoma is the best in town! We just dined there a few days ago, perfect in every way! ***kim***
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