- Napa Valley,
- North America,
- San Francisco,
- United States
Turn your next business trip into a vacation and enjoy all that San Francisco and Wine Country has to offer. Start your stay at the Westin San Francisco Market Street; a sophisticated oasis in the heart of San Francisco's South of Market district. The vibrant downtown setting offers the height of convenience and provides easy access to many of the city's notable attractions, restaurants and nightlife. Then drive up to Napa for wonderful scenery and spectacular wines.
The Westin San Francisco Market Street
Gary Danko, California
San Francisco, California 94109
Tel: 415 749 2060
Gary Danko is the city's favorite culinary son; his restaurant is both a serious dining destination and a local favorite that's convivial, never stuffy. The intimate rooms, adorned with well-chosen artwork, natural woods, and flattering spot lighting, exude a warm, neighborhood vibe. But the menu, which combines French, Californian, and Mediterranean elements, indicates a more expansive vision. Principal ingredients such as foie gras, roasted lobster, and farm-raised lamb change accompaniments with the seasons: Summer brings cherries and chanterelles; winter, earthy truffles and root vegetables. Add details like the restaurant's custom-built cheese refrigerators and the professional yet friendly service, and you have a dining experience that works on every level and appeals to everyone from casual diners to New York food snobs.
Open daily 5:30 to 10 pm.
Slanted Door, California
San Francisco, California 94111
Tel: 415 861 8032
Now in its third location, trendy contemporary Vietnamese spot Slanted Door has found a suitably swank home in the northeast corner of the Ferry Building. The vast, modern glass-and-steel space has sweeping views of the bay and is always packed with posh diners ogling each other. Chef Charles Phan's menu is a blend of Asian street food and traditional Vietnamese dishes, with offerings such as barbecued Willis Ranch pork ribs basted in a sticky-sweet honey and hoisin sauce, or a brick oven–roasted whole fish of the day with a spicy ginger sauce. The wine list features numerous rieslings and other dry, floral wines that pair perfectly with the heady Asian flavors. Book way ahead or try for one of the 20 walk-in spots. To avoid feeling rushed through your meal, reserve a table at the last seating of lunch or dinner—with such spectacular views, you'll want to linger.—Updated by John Vlahides
Open daily 11 am to 2:30 pm and 5:30 to 10 pm.
Redwood Room, California
San Francisco, California 94102
Tel: 415 929 2372
The Redwood Room, at the Clift Hotel, can be a pickup joint, popular with rich businessmen and bottle blondes, but it also blazes with splendor. With its burnished redwood walls, tiger-striped carpet, and enormous bar carved from a single redwood tree, the room resembles an opulent hunting lodge and has been a San Francisco landmark for decades. Ian Schrager and Philippe Starck took over the place a few years ago, installing now-tired furniture and ugly plasma screens designed to look like oil paintings with shifting eyes, but the legendary room still merits a visit, if only to see the gorgeous woodwork. Just don't come on weekend evenings, when drunk suburbanites jam the place. Try the signature martini drinks; flavors include lavender and lychee.—Updated by John Vlahides
Open Sundays through Thursdays 5 pm to 2 am, Fridays and Saturdays 4 pm to 2 am.
Foreign Cinema/Laszlo Bar, California
San Francisco, California 94110
Tel: 415 648 7600
One wall of this restaurant's expansive heated courtyard functions as a screen for art-house foreign films—but most patrons don't actually watch the movies. Rather, the flickering frames of Antonioni's Blow-Up and Reggio's Koyaanisqatsi serve as a glamorous nighttime backdrop for cocktails and flirting. The California-Mediterranean cuisine is reliably good, although—again—it plays second fiddle to the scene. The adjoining industrial-chic Laszlo bar has rotating DJs. The whole ensemble makes this a great date spot.—Updated by John Vlahides
Open Mondays through Fridays 6 pm to 2 am, Saturdays and Sundays 11 am to 2 am.
See + Do
Frog's Leap, California
Rutherford, California 94573
Tel: 800 959 4704 (toll-free), Tel: 707 963 4704
Frog's Leap provides a playful counterpoint to Napa Valley's stuffier wineries. Built around a big red barn, Frog's Leap feels like exactly what it is: a farm. Outside the tasting room, wander past a frog pond through meandering organic gardens of heirloom vegetables and flowers, and pluck sun-warmed fruit right off the trees (come in August, when the peaches ripen). All of the wines are made with organically grown grapes. Though the winery produces some very respectable and long-lingering merlot, its sauvignon blanc is the star of the show: Delicate, with bright fruit overtones, this is one of Napa's best-known wines. Because of legal restrictions, you'll have to take the full tour to sample the juice, but the light-hearted staff and magical gardens will make you glad you did. Tasting fee, appointment required.
Open Mondays through Saturdays 10 am to 4 pm.
See + Do
PlumpJack Winery, California
Oakville, California 94562
Tel: 707 945 1220
A cult favorite, this medium-size boutique winery in Oakville is partially owned by San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom and billionaire Gordon Getty. PlumpJack doesn't do organized tours or allow limousines on the property, but it does have a whimsical Shakespeare-themed tasting room (PlumpJack is a reference to Jack Falstaff, the famously rotund character in Shakespeare's Henry IV). The staff pours between one and three featured varietals daily. The luscious cabernet has a rich mouthfeel and lingers long on the palate. There's also a worthwhile reserve chardonnay and a syrah rich with overtones of caramel. Unlike other Napa Valley wineries, you won't pay a fortune to taste here, just a mere $10. Don't be surprised when the tasting-room attendant opens a new bottle: PlumpJack is the winery largely responsible for the proliferation of screw tops on fine wines, claiming that these tops prevent spoilage. Tasting fee, no reservation required.
Open daily 10 am to 4 pm.
See + Do
Domaine Chandon Winery, California
Yountville, California 94599
Tel: 707 944 2280
One of the first French-owned wineries in California, Domaine Chandon opened with a splash in 1975 and is best known for its wide range of sparkling wines, including brut, blanc de noirs, extra-dry, and rosé varieties. Regularly scheduled tours guide visitors (up to 30 at a time) through the process of crafting and bottling bubbly. Purchase a flight of tastings and take your glass (included in the tasting fee) out to a café table on the terrace for majestic views of the surrounding Napa Valley countryside. There's also Étoile, a formal restaurant that's great for lunch (reservations essential). Although you'll find better sparkling wines at Schramsberg, Domaine Chandon provides more amenities, and it has one of the area's only late-night drinking permits. When the rest of the valley shuts down, drop by the Étoile wine lounge for drinks and entertainment (summer only). Tasting fee, no appointment necessary.
Open daily 10 am to 6 pm; wine lounge open Thursdays through Saturdays 6 to 11 pm, summer only.