The Conservatory at Greystone, St. Helena, CA

My dinner experience here at the Conservatory has vastly exceeded my expectation. Not to be confused with the Wine Spectator Greystone restaurant in the main building, this new addition to the academy offers a very different experience. The prix fixe menu is strictly farm-to-table. The 6 course dinner features only seasonal ingredients that were farmed and harvested by the student chefs themselves.

Conservatory dining room is quite intimate. There were no bar area and only a handful of tables. The restaurant only open for weekend dinners therefore reservation is a must. Dinner was a fine dining affair as opposite to the upscale casual setting at the Wine Spectator. Service was good and sincere although some of the student servers still need to review their table setting guide.

Everything I have had that night was outstanding. Every dish was well put together and the wine pairing worked wonderfully. With a modest $65 price tag, dinner here is really a steal. I bet a lot of people would be more than happy to pay 2 or 3 times more for a meal of this quality. Look for a good place to celebrate your next special occasion that wouldn’t break your bank? You are looking at the right place.

The French Laundry, Yountville, CA

Part 1/4. The only place I will make an exception to the 10 photos per visit rule.

I don’t think there is much needed to be said about The French Laundry except it was the best meal I have had. The 4 hour lunch there was pure happiness that went by almost too quickly. Everything was perfect from beginning to the grand finale. Even little hiccups were quickly turned into surprises (extra dishes here and there when they brought out a wrong order or took away a plate too soon). What amazes me most is how warm and cozy the whole experience was. It was not easy to offer top notch fine dining service without being too formal and uptight.

One in a life time experience? Certainly. Sadly, dining here just once won’t be enough. I might just celebrate every single special occasions here from now on.

More photos to follow.

Final Verdict

Food: 5/5. One word - amazing.

Service: 5/5. Warm, friendly and simply perfect.

Ambiance: 5/5. Cozy little historical building with lots of sunlight.

Price to Value: 5/5. The meal comes with a hefty price tag (starts at $270 baseline) but worth every single pennies.