A travel journal
to Napa Valley by Barb B
Quote: Napa Valley has is a place of fantastic natural beauty, known throughout the world for its fabulous wine. Recently, it's become a destination of the rich and famous. Numerous brochures and websites are avialable, but I will try to give you some Restaurant Info through the eyes of a "Local."
Napa has world famous Restaurants, cooking schools, wineries and culinary experiences, but we also have a good share of just plain wonderful "undiscovered" places--still a good bargain, in spite of California's reputation as the land of "New Millionaires"!!
Cabs are readily available but can be expensive if you are traveling outside the city. It does not go to wineries or other areas a tourist would find particularly interesting.
Restaurant | "Downtown Joes"
An innovative menu provides some especially good sandwiches at lunch. This is also a microbrewery and offers special 'beers of the month' and selected tastings. You can even check out the on-site antique brewing equipment.
Live music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and 'open mike' on Tuesdays.
MY SPECIAL TIP: On rainy winter mornings Downtown Joes is a perfect place for breakfast...sit inside, upstairs and watch the ducks on the river while you enjoy a hearty Downtown Joes Scramble--yummy!
Be warned however--service can sometimes be slow, but there is always plenty to watch while you wait.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 6, 2000
Downtown Joe's Brewery and Restaurant
902 Main Street
Napa Valley, California 94559
Restaurant | "Genova Italian Deli & Ravioli Factory"
Over 100 varieties of Formaggio (cheeses) from all over the world are displayed and available to purchase by the pound for take-home. Refrigerated homemade sauces, ravioli, fresh pasta, torta, tortellini and gnocchi are also pre-packaged for easy take-home preparation. Long counters display imported delicacies: Italian sweets, pastries, olive oils, vinegars and coffees. Seasonal specialties such as panatone and Easter brioche are available by special order.
Friendly service is the hallmark of this favorite local lunchtime cafe. Soups, salads and a vast selection of sandwiches can be enjoyed at comfortable seating either inside or at outside sidewalk cafe tables. This is a great spot for tourists to meet locals and perhaps pick up ideas for out-of-the-way-"untouristed" favorites. Its also a great place for a stop for a quick snack while shopping.
Standard deli-sandwiches (turkey, cold meats, cheeses, etc) are all made to order at $4.75. Specialty sandwiches are $6.25, meatball sandwiches - $4.99, hot sausage sandwich - $4.99. Wines to accompany your lunch are available by the glass. Of course, all items can be prepared as box lunches for your winery picnics!
A pleasant coffee bar at the rear of the deli offers a nice selection of pastries, biscotti and of course cappuccino, espresso and other coffee specialty drinks.
OPEN seven days a week, you can call ahead or FAX your order to (707)253-2487.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 11, 2001
1550 Trancas Street
Napa Valley, California 94558
A casual and informal atmosphere pervades with homey - photos and memorabilia decorating the entry walls. The decor is understated with overhead fans, framed family photos, vases of dried flowers, small fountains and art-deco lighting. A comfortable bar is set in a separate room with polished redwoods and a friendly atmosphere.
The restaurant menu begins with a lovely list of antipasti: Bruscetta con pomadora (spicy tomato salsa on baguettes topped with mozzarella); A hearty antipasto platter of mixed olives, cheese slices, cheese chunks and pepporocini; Fried ravioli; Salads--House and Caesar(both individual and serving two) and a succulent Seafood sampling. Prices range from $5.95 to $12.95.
Main Courses consist of Pasta entrees: Fettuccini, Ravioli, Spaghetti, etc. priced from $8.95 to $12.95. A very nice selection of Chicken, Veal or pork entrees is also available for $10.95-17.95 and include either soup or salad and pasta or vegetable accompaniments. My husband and I usually share an antipasti (Brucetta con Pomadori) and he likes the Stuffed Veal Pocket while I‘m partial to the Oso Bucco.
Deserts are marvelously rich and include traditional cannoloni, tiramisu, gelato and sorbets.
The wine list is (of course) extensive offering wines by the bottle and by the glass. Since we live in Napa and have the opportunity to visit many wineries, we find it pleasant to pay the $8 corkage fee ($12 for champagne) and enjoy a fine wine that we have selected during one of our winery tasting tours. MY TIP: Tourists may find this a pleasant way to go, particularly if you cannot carry home all of the wines you have selected on your visit.
Ruffinos serves dinner Sundays from 4:00-9:30 and Tues to Sat 5:00-9:30. On Wednesday evenings they serve a Special 3-course dinner (including wine) for just $14.95 - a real bargain enjoyed by many of the locals!
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 31, 2000
Ruffino's Cucina Italiana
645 First Street
Napa Valley, California 94559
Napa, CA and Hereford, AZ , Arizona