Angele has consistent, solid, and approachable French food. It's one of our mainstays if we're in the mood for French but don't want to make the trek down to Bistro Jeanty. Onion soup is solid, the torchon de foie gras is delicious with foie gras and pistachios and a strawberry compote. But probably one of my favorite appetizers in Napa Valley is the tomates farcies appetizer which consists of these early girl tomatoes stuffed with ricotta and a basil vinaigrette. The peeled tomatoes are chilled to give the tomatoes a bit of cool rigidity as you bit through them. The vinaigrette and the creamy ricotta provide the flavor to make this the perfect summer appetizer. It embodies the warmth of spring and summer, but then you get the surprising coolness of the tomatoes.
The main courses aren't looking to push things. It's just down-home satisfying French food. Their roast chicken is a favorite of mine with its crisp skin, well-seasoned juicy meat. The beef bourgignon is a rich hearty beef stew served with a side of macaroni pasta. We've done well with their duck, magret de canard, and steak and fries (does every restaurant in Napa sign some pact to carry steak and fries?). I keep on meaning to try out their fish dishes as they have a number of them, but I always seem to turn to the heavier dishes.
Angele's desserts are fine. I like the banana gratin with the almond crust and caramel ice cream. The baked summer berry tart is fine. There's the rich, chocolat fondant for the chocolate lovers. If you want a heavier dessert, these are all fine, but a really nice change of pace was a set of poached pears with mascarpone and a caramel sauce. It wasn't as heavy as the other desserts, and I thought it was nice way to finish a heavy meal as it didn't have the butter, hot temperature, and sugar as the normal desserts. Or maybe we just have a thing about fruits stuffed with cheese.
I think Angele should probably get a bit more press than it does.
Angele setting and service
Angele is located next to the Napa River by the Napa River Inn, next to Sweetie Pies, the General Store, and Celadon. Its indoor seating area is somewhat on the small side, thanks to a full bar There is a nice outdoor seating area although the view maybe isn't as nice as you'd think. There's the river which is sometimes nice to look at it after the rains but just look brown during the drier months. There's the parking lot. Uh. The public library. And...ANYWAY, inside, it has the customary dark wood floors, beige walls, wood ceilings, and wood chairs that are endemic to homey restaurants in Napa Valley. It's nicer during the day when the sunlight really brights the place up. At night, all of that wood darkens the place in a hurry, but I suppose that gives it that late, candlelight French restaurant look. Business is usually pretty good. Not mega-crowded, but you don't find it empty too often either thanks to the Napa River Inn and the locals. It's not super loud as it fills up, and is overall a nice place to just sit back and have nice meal and conversation. We've never had a problem with the service.
Price of our meal
1 appetizer, 2 entrees, 2 glasses of wine, 1 dessert = ~$120 with tax and tip.