Visiting Napa Valley on a Budget

GDP shares great tips on where to eat and stay at a moderate cost

 


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Pizza in Napa

Napa's culinary scene has really grown over the years and now the city is full of great dining options. As I mentioned earlier, I usually prefer something simple for dinner, so I decided to try two of the brick oven pizza restaurants in town, pizza being one of my three essential food groups!

The first stop was at Azzurro Pizzeria and Enoteca, a simply decorated place that felt convivial and friendly. The pizza here is personal size and brick oven baked, but had more of a New York pizza feel to it. In general it was delicious and affordable, great for groups or family dining. I also enjoyed their house made meatballs and a wonderful baby arugula salad along with a very modestly priced She Bang red wine produced by Morgan Twain Peterson of Bedrock fame.

The next day I made my way up 1st Street to find out for myself how good the pizza was at Oenotri. I've heard great things about this fashionable spot and my visit there supported most of them. I enjoyed the daily selection of house-cured salumi; the varied and delectable assortment makes a great start to the evening. The pizza, always a Margherita by the way (it's the pizzeria's roast chicken after all), had excellent flavors though it was a cooked a little unevenly. I'm going to chalk that up to my being the first customer of the day. I've worked a brick oven before and I know it take awhile to get one’s rhythm and the temperature of the oven just right. A glass of Carignano for Sardinia and crisp kale leaves rounded out my meal. Though a bit more expensive than Azzurro, Oenotri also offers fine value and should be tried.

 
Azzurro Pizzeria
1260 Main Street
Napa, CA 94558
 
Oenotri Restaurant
1425 1st Street
Napa, CA 94559
 
 

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Comments

  • Snooth User: napagirl68
    Hand of Snooth
    87843 2,684

    Good recommendations, especially the recommendation to stay in Calistoga. In addition to reasonable accommodations, there are a few Calistoga tasting rooms that do not charge a tasting fee, and many that charge a minimal tasting fee. This information can be found through the hotel/inn you are staying at, or the local Chamber. Also, ask your hotel or inn for complimentary wine tasting passes for wineries that normally would charge a fee. Folks on a budget can practically taste all weekend with little to no charge using these methods. And Napa Valley tasting fees can be quite high- $20/person is not uncommon, and perhaps on the low end of the price range.

    Calistoga is also quieter and less crowded during tourist season than the other parts of Napa Valley.

    Personally, I would recommend a trip to Sonoma instead, with many fine wineries, low to no tasting fees, and less crowds. Many Sonoma wineries also have free tastings with Visa Signature card.

    Feb 25, 2013 at 2:34 PM


  • Snooth User: Richard Foxall
    Hand of Snooth
    262583 3,007

    Alas, we were just up in the Dry Creek Valley this weekend, and the prevalence of tasting fees is rising rapidly. Holdredge was $10, reimbursed with purchase, Ridge was $5 for a lesser flight, $10 for pricier wines, and $10 for a pour of Monte Bello. (Depending on the size of that pour, that could be a cheap way to try Monte Bello.) We bailed at Ridge, I can take a chance on their wines because it's not much of a chance anyway.

    I've stayed at the Comfort Inn, although it's been a long time. It was right before the Napa Valley Marathon--if you're a runner, that's a great weekend to go up there, and the Inn is up on the end of town by the starting line, so you can walk to warm up. Glad to hear it's still nice.

    Feb 25, 2013 at 4:52 PM


  • Snooth User: winenana
    685466 29

    Join ATC. http://www.affordabletravelclub.net for low cost accommodations, including breakfast, with friendly folk. Napa and Sonoma areas and others have numerous members. Many are very familiar with the wineries in the area. They have a printed folder of members or an online program...all over the world. We have belonged for years and have stayed all over the country. Comfort Inn has gone way up in price the past few years.

    Feb 25, 2013 at 5:32 PM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 212,757

    Napagirl is telling folks to go to Sonoma!

    I'll be in Sonoma next week so more goodness to come on that front.

    If anyone has suggestions on little known options for great food I'mm all ears!

    Feb 25, 2013 at 5:51 PM


  • Snooth User: EMark
    Hand of Snooth
    847804 6,088

    This is a great article, Greg. When I go to Napa Valley, I heave a big sigh and figure I am going to pay through the nose. Now, I know I am going to spend serious dollars at some of the restauarants, and those are dollars very well spent . But the alternatives that you have listed sound really great.

    One idea I may have for you in Sonoma County is Mary's Pizza. The one I've visited is in Rohnert Park, but I think they have other locations. Warning, it does seem to be family-oriented. So, if this is the night to take out the soccer team, then it won't be peaceful. We've picked up pizza and taken it to our hotel, and for us, who do not have kids, that works out well.

    Feb 25, 2013 at 8:29 PM


  • Snooth User: jeffhoo
    1134367 40

    Don't know if this is "little known" or not, but the wife and I had an AMAZING trip to Napa last May. Decided to head over to Sonoma one afternoon to check out spots for "our next trip." Had lunch at The Girl and The Fig and it ended up being my favorite meal of the week. I can still taste the pork belly and poached egg sandwich. Two words - yum and me!!

    Feb 25, 2013 at 9:12 PM


  • Snooth User: JNAI
    521428 10

    You can't do napa without a visit to Taylor's refresher. It's a napa legend and super yummy. Also, longmeadow ranch's resto is good and reasonable. Mustards grill as well. None of these places are too spendy, and they're great for first time visitors to experience the essence of the valley, albeit tourist style. To stay? The el Bonita motel is a popular choice if you don't want to break the bank. I've never stayed there, but I hear it's a good value choice. And it's right in st. Helena!

    Feb 27, 2013 at 12:53 AM


  • Snooth User: Al Faison
    196612 155

    Greg, I hope you get a chance to read this before you go to Sonoma. I really strongly recommend that you stop by my favorite winery there, Ravenswood, and enjoy some of Morgan Peterson's dad's great Zinfandels. The range from Joel Peterson's bargain priced Vintner's Blend Zin to his Single Vinyard Designates has something to tantalize any palate. Hope you'll review some of his wines soon. Al Faison

    Feb 27, 2013 at 5:44 PM


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