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“First rate meal but be prepared to spend some money!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone

The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone
2555 Main St, St. Helena, CA 94574
+1 707-967-1100
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Activities: Leisure education
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Owner description: The world-famous CIA's classrooms are home to some of the nation's top chefs.
Billings, Montana
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“First rate meal but be prepared to spend some money!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 2, 2010

As first time Napa Valley visitors, the CIA-Greystone was highly recommended. We did the tour of the building and gift shop, but we came for the food. We knew it would be costly, even for lunch, because we knew we were going there for something we had never had before. If you are used to dining on California cuisine, you might not be impressed. We were. We received an amuse bouche of salmon & goat cheese on a crouton and white wine for purchasing items in the gift shop. Then we decided to do the 5 course starter for $9.95 per person with a glass of Gloria Ferrer sparkling wine. We knew we had picked the right place to experience new types of food! From there, we ordered the Blue Cheese & Prosciutto Terrine and White Anchovy Brandade Stuffed Artichoke. (I think my husband almost signed me up for classes after this course). And as a main course we had Prosciutto Wrapped Cod and the Petite Hanger Steak. We became fans. And dessert was a molten lava cake, which seems over-done everywhere. This was really a lava cake in every sense of the word. I wished I had my own! The wait staff were very attentive and gave our compliments to the professional chef overseeing the students. It was bar-none the best dining experience we had ever had. You should not come here if you aren't willing to open your pocket book or to try new things. This place is not for children when it comes to dining. Be sure to check out the building and if you're really lucky, get the full tour (we didn't) and watch the students cook. It also has a beautful view so if you can eat on the patio, do it!

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Hollywood, Florida
Top Contributor
103 reviews 103 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
107 helpful votes 107 helpful votes
“Fun Atmosphere and Tasty Food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2009

Having wanted to come here for ages, we called up the same morning and got a lunch reservation. The place was fairly full, but we were seated in a nice table and quickly brought bread and water. The leadership of the restaurant is professional, but student chefs assist and run most of the stations.

We began by each having a three glass wine flight - I had white wines (all well chosen), and my wife had sparkling wine/champagne flight (delicious!). We started with the five tasting samples for $9.95 - a great deal for Napa! We particularly enjoyed the white bean soup (served shot glass style), the polenta with mushrooms, and the duck tostadas (delicious, bbq style duck shreds, served on a crispy mini-tostada). We followed up with raw oysters on the half shell, fresh and served with a delicious champagne mignonette. Perfect.

We then shared the butternut squash soup, which we split (and they kindly split the order into two bowls, very good service!). The soup was spiced perfectly for the season, and it was a real, fresh treat. As a lunch entree, we shared the scallops, done with crispy porkbelly, over a bed of jasmine rice and earthy mushrooms - absolutely spectacular. For desert, we shared the huckleberry crepe, which was light and bursting with fresh fruit and a thin layer of creme within. Overall, we had a great experience, and were pleased to see that the CIA is turning out qualified chefs that can cook darn good meals!

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Chicago, Illinois
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
“Do Not Eat Here for Any Reason”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2009

We thought it would be fun to bring our 9 year old here for lunch during a trip to Napa since she could watch the chefs prepare our lunch. What a huge mistake. Where do I begin? The place was not very crowded at 12:30 pm, which should have been our first clue. Prices were very expensive for the quality and completely inept service. I have been to other culinary schools where the chefs/students also must serve as the wait staff. Our service was beyond poor, but I wrote it off to the servers being students. I was completely shocked to find a note on our bill at the end of the meal that said the servers are professionals, not students, so please tip them appropriately.

We ordered the daily temptations, 5 small bites for $9.95. One was a pork wonton. When my partner bit into her wonton she discovered the pork was RAW. Not just cooked rare and still pink, but the meat was completely soft and raw. The server brought us a replacement and said he removed that charge from our bill.

I took my daughter up to watch the pastry chefs at their station and was horrified to see one chef follow a fly with a blow torch and once it landed on the counter, she "torched' it and then wiped up the counter. She looked up at us and said she was sorry, but she didn't like flies in her kitchen. It was the most disgusting thing to witness. Couldn't she have waited until we walked away?

We had 2 salads, 2 temptations, and 2 deserts and the bill was $90. I could have just opened the window while driving up Highway 29 and thrown the money out and felt better. We ate at Mustards the day before and had a great lunch for half the price.

There are so many better dining options in Napa, do yourself a favor and skip this one.

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NY/NJ
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“2 Words : NOT GOOD”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 29, 2009

Expensive, menu was all fish, service was pathetic.. I wouldn't even recommend this place on someone elses corp card.. Waitress wouldn't tell us what was on the appetizer tasting menu.."chef surprise" as we paid for our $100 lunch, another waiter gladly stated what was in the app tasting menu.. dont waste your time, $ , or gas to the restaraunt .. the worst dinning experience i had in wine country..

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mid-atlantic, east coast, major metro
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“awesome place to visit when someone else's expense account covers the tab”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2009

I was there about 10 years ago, on a business trip, with senior managers picking up the tab. I was thrilled with the service and food. I got the definite impression that the cost of this place was seriously out of my league if I was going to paying out of my own pocket.

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