Traveling to San Francisco and Napa Valley from Los Angeles has never been easier or more appealing, especially in 2024. With the availability of frequent flights, efficient road networks, and even luxurious train services, the journey is both convenient and enjoyable. San Francisco, with its iconic Golden Gate Bridge, vibrant cultural scene, and culinary diversity, offers an urban adventure like no other. Just a short drive north, Napa Valley awaits with its world-renowned wineries, breathtaking landscapes, and serene retreats, perfect for a tranquil escape. This combination of a bustling city experience and tranquil wine country relaxation makes a trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco and Napa Valley a must-do in 2024.
We’ve meticulously crafted this guide to lead you through the best dining and accommodation options in each location, so dive in and discover the hidden gems that await you in San Francisco and Napa Valley. Now, all that’s left is planning that trip!
Where To Stay
Hotel Zelos San Francisco, a stylish boutique hotel, is ideally located in the city’s bustling shopping, dining, and entertainment district. The hotel offers a modern, elegant design with well-appointed rooms featuring luxurious amenities. The on-site restaurant and bar, Dirty Habit, enhances the hotel’s appeal with its communal plates menu and extensive beverage selection.
Despite its smaller fitness center, Hotel Zelos compensates with free bike rentals and pet-friendly features, ensuring a comfortable stay for all guests. The hotel’s central location, exclusive amenities, and excellent service make it a preferred choice for both leisure and business travelers seeking a luxurious and convenient stay in San Francisco.
Where To Eat
Empress by Boon, set in the heart of San Francisco’s vibrant Chinatown, redefines contemporary Cantonese cuisine with an unforgettable dining experience. Perched on Grant Street, this sophisticated venue enchants guests with its stunning pergola, plush red chairs, and exquisite decor, offering panoramic views of North Beach and Coit Tower. The restaurant exudes elegance, encouraging guests to dress sharply and reflecting the allure of dining in a prestigious city setting.
The heart of Empress by Boon is its meticulously curated $108 prix-fixe menu, featuring a selection of nine seasonal dishes that showcase the brilliance of Cantonese flavors. Each dish, from the house-made vinegar, accompanied by Beijing dumplings to the delicate jasmine-smoked short rib steamed buns, is a testament to culinary finesse. The pipa duck, a house specialty, is renowned for its crispy skin and succulent meat, complemented by indulgent desserts like the passionfruit cheesecake.
Empress by Boon goes beyond its prix-fixe offerings, presenting an à la carte menu that includes sumptuous mains like Beef Tenderloin and Grilled Alaskan Black Cod. The restaurant transcends the traditional dining concept, offering an all-encompassing experience that marries the artistry of Cantonese cuisine with a breathtaking setting, establishing it as a coveted gastronomic destination in San Francisco.
Z&Y Peking Duck, a storied establishment in San Francisco’s historic Chinatown, is celebrated for its authentic Chinese cuisine. Under the stewardship of Executive Chef Han, a culinary maestro since 1988 who has catered to Chinese Presidents and Foreign Ministers, the restaurant stands as a testament to Chinese culinary excellence.
At Z&Y Peking Duck, the essence of authentic Chinese cuisine is honored, with a special emphasis on the iconic Peking Duck, renowned for its crispy skin and tender meat. The restaurant’s ambiance creates a welcoming and immersive dining experience, attracting both local and international patrons. The diverse menu features specialties like the Peking Duck, a range of delicacies in the Beijing Dim Sum section, and a variety of hot and spicy dishes.
Z&Y Peking Duck is more than just a restaurant; it is a culinary legacy deeply rooted in San Francisco’s gastronomic history. The establishment is distinguished by its unique offerings, such as the Kung Fu Tea experience, blending the art of tea-making with dynamic performance. This balance of authenticity and innovation, along with the cultural significance of its dishes, makes Z&Y Peking Duck a standout in San Francisco’s culinary scene.
Eight Tables by George Chen offers an unparalleled dining experience in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Hidden in a mysterious alley, guests are transported to a world of old-world elegance and luxury. The restaurant revives the lavish ‘Si Fang Cai,’ or ‘Private Chateau Cuisine,’ a dining style historically reserved for the elite, now reinterpreted with modern flair.
Each dining experience at Eight Tables is a personal culinary adventure, with an eight-course menu traverses Chinese cuisine’s depths. The restaurant’s commitment to ‘Si Fang Cai’ is evident in its regular seasonal tasting menu, which ensures a unique experience with every visit. Priced at $250 per person, with an optional wine pairing, the menu includes exquisite dishes like Sichuan Black Cod and Prized Red Abalone.
Eight Tables distinguishes itself with its intimate atmosphere, world-class service, and an impressive wine list, overseen by Somm Genaro Gallo. Despite some variability in guest experiences, the restaurant’s dedication to pairing wine with Asian cuisine and its recognition as one of Time magazine’s 100 best restaurants in 2018 marks it as a unique destination for exploring the depths of Chinese cuisine in a setting that melds tradition with modernity.
In the heart of San Francisco’s Marina District, Blue Whale emerges as a stylish culinary destination under the guidance of celebrity Chef Ho Chee Boon. Renowned for its seasonal, authentic Asian cuisine, Blue Whale’s menu is a testament to Chef Boon’s extensive international experience and Michelin-starred background. The restaurant’s interior design, featuring a modern bar and lounge area, large blue booths, and a lush garden oasis patio, offers a versatile dining experience.
Blue Whale stands out for its casual sophistication, presenting an array of Chinese one-biters, dim sum, and seafood entrées. The restaurant’s emphasis on seasonal ingredients, creative plating, and a sophisticated beverage program, led by experts Haley Moore and Brandon Clements, elevates the dining experience. Despite its higher price point, Blue Whale’s central location and unique blend of casual elegance and innovative Asian cuisine make it a must-visit destination in San Francisco’s culinary landscape.
Nestled in the bustling Fisherman’s Wharf of San Francisco, Scoma’s stands as a cherished culinary landmark, offering an authentic taste of the city’s rich seafood heritage. Renowned for its fresh, locally-sourced seafood, Scoma’s menu is a celebration of classic flavors and innovative dishes that pay homage to the bountiful Pacific waters. The restaurant’s ambiance, with its warm, nautical-themed decor, invites diners to indulge in a relaxed, yet elegant dining experience. Signature dishes like the Dungeness Crab Cakes and the sumptuous Clam Chowder have become favorites among both locals and tourists, making Scoma’s a must-visit destination for anyone seeking the true essence of San Francisco’s seafood culture. Its commitment to sustainability and support for local fishermen further cements its status as not just a restaurant, but a steward of the city’s maritime legacy.
NAPA VALLEY, CALIFORNIA
Where To Stay
Napa Valley Lodge, located in the serene surroundings of Yountville, offers a sophisticated and luxurious experience in the heart of Napa Valley. The hotel’s classic boutique style, complemented by its tranquil green spaces, makes it an ideal destination for couples and wine enthusiasts. The lodge’s proximity to local breweries and the Silverado Trail adds to its appeal.
The hotel’s rooms and suites, adorned in neutral shades with high-end amenities, ensure a comfortable and relaxing stay. The garden pool, spa, and complimentary champagne breakfast, along with amenities like a small gym and afternoon tea, enhance the guest experience. Despite the absence of an in-house restaurant for lunch and dinner, the lodge’s location near Yountville’s restaurants compensates for this.
Napa Valley Lodge’s focus on comfort, its wine country charm, and convenient location make it a perfect retreat for those seeking to explore the heart of Napa Valley in a tranquil and beautiful setting.
What To Eat
Located in Downtown Napa, The Bungalow by Gentleman Farmer is an intimate venue offering an experience akin to dining in a winemaker’s home. This 1926 craftsman bungalow has been transformed into a private space for Gentleman Farmer Wine Club Collective members and their guests, offering a unique blend of food, wine, and diverse activities.
The Bungalow hosts a variety of culinary experiences, including bespoke breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, all paired with Gentleman Farmer Wines. The space is known for its private experiences, salon soirées, and engaging events, providing a homely environment that reflects the personal touch of its creators, Joey Wołosz and Jeff Durham. Pricing varies depending on the chosen experience, with options like the “Breakfast in Wine Country” and the “Gentleman Farmer’s Lunch,” offering a range of culinary and wine-tasting experiences.
The Bungalow’s focus on personalized culinary journeys, the expertise of its vintners, and its wellness-oriented offerings, combined with its prime Downtown Napa location, make it a unique and unforgettable destination for those seeking an exclusive and enriching dining experience in Napa Valley.
Nestled in the Howell Mountain region of Napa Valley, CADE Estate Winery is a paragon of sustainable winemaking, blending tradition with innovation. As Napa Valley’s first LEED Gold Certified winery, CADE is committed to environmental stewardship, using recycled materials and avoiding wood in production. The winery, under Winemaker Danielle Cyrot, specializes in Modern Howell Mountain-style wines, including exquisite Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc.
CADE offers a range of tasting experiences, from its Tasting Lounge & Courtyard with stunning views to the immersive Wine Cave. Becoming an Elevation Member at CADE opens doors to limited-production wines and exclusive events. The winery’s dedication to sustainable architecture and organic farming practices positions it as a pioneer in Napa Valley’s wine industry, offering an experience that blends exceptional wines with breathtaking views and a commitment to eco-friendly ethos.
Odette Estate Winery, located in the Stags Leap District, epitomizes contemporary elegance and environmental responsibility. This LEED Gold Certified and organically farmed winery is dedicated to sustainability, from its organic farming practices to eco-friendly construction. The winery’s focus on organic methods ensures healthier soil and more complex wines.
Odette Estate offers a range of spaces for wine tastings and events, catering to various preferences and group sizes. While specific pricing details may vary, the winery is renowned for its high-quality wines that embody the unique characteristics of its estate vineyard. Named after iconic female figures, Odette Estate Winery represents a seamless fusion of luxury winemaking and environmental commitment, making it a special destination in the Stags Leap District.