Yountville, CA 94599-1300
Tuesday through Sunday: 11:30 am - 2:30 pm.
Monday through Thursday: 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Friday & Saturday: 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Sunday: 5:00 pm - 9:30 pm
MIchael Chiarello's Napa Valley roots were at Tra Vigne but then he left to sell the Napa Valley mojo via his TV show, Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello, and his merchandising business, NapaStyle. His national profile really took off with his performance making the finals of Top Chef Masters. But he returns back to the Napa Valley kitchens with Bottega.
Bottega appetizerWe ordered two appetizers. The first was the Burrata Caprese which was mozzarella burrata with heirloom tomatoes, basil oil & balsamic “caviar”. For those who don't know, burrata
is mozzarella that is wrapped around a mixture of mozzarella and cream.
Burrata is something I've heard about but never had a chance to get my hands on, and it's as yummy...and uh...healthy...as it sounds. I thought this dish was a wonderful appetizer. The tomatoes were sweet, summer sharp, and juicy, and the balsamic "caviar" gave it a nice zing. And then you'd go back to the the creamy, soft, buttery, oozy (is that word?) heart-attack burrata and then return back to the tomatoes to come up for air.
The second appetizer was a bacon & egg pork belly confit in olive oil, crispy soft-boiled egg, slow roasted peppers, onions & cherry tomatoes.
This was another delicious appetizer although with this and the burrata, we were starting to fill us up because of the richness. This was almost a meal onto itself between the porkbelly and the deep-fried soft-boiled egg. If they replaced the tomato with a hearty piece of toast, that'd be a killer of a breakfast (literally...)
I was looking for something relatively light, and I ordered the risotto with scallops which had a cucumber relish on top. A good risotto with some perfectly seared scallops on top.
For dessert, we had the chocolate hazelnut souffle and some vanilla and coffee gelato to cool things down a bit. This was a fine dessert. The chocolate hazelnut souffle was moist and tender. The chocolate oozed out after you cut in. A nice end piece to a nice meal. We probably should have run a few miles the next day to get into some sort of caloric equilibrium.
Overall, we were impressed with Bottega. From this one experience, it's probably our favorite Italian restaurant for just food although Bistro Don Giovanni has a more fun atmosphere and is a good chunk cheaper. I wasn't sure what to expect since Tra Vigne, although a solid restaurant, isn't one that is frequently on my mind as a top restaurant in the area. And Chiarello's NapaStyle venture kind of put some locals off. Napa Valley in a Box as defined by Michael Chiarello.
But hey, give the man his due. That was a pretty good meal. We'll be back.
Bottega setting and service
I'm not sure if it was the lighting or what, but Bottega seemed quite large and that's not including the outdoor seating area. Its located in an old winery, but there's a NapaStyle store right next to it which sort of feels kind of off. Sure, the atmosphere screams upscale with its plush seating, what seems like a forest full of wood, etc (you can get a feel for some of it at the site's ambiance page.) But there is a sort of over-the-top-ness to it, and the merchandising feel of NapaStyle doesn't help.
The service was ok. I thought it could be better. We got a little ignored at times. One waiter pops up to ask something that another waiter just took care of. We were slow to get the menu and get our order. They might have to tighten things up here a little. I've seen similar complaints from others about the service. But I wouldn't call it terrible or anything.
Price of our meal
2 appetizers + 2 entrees + 2 dessert + 2 glasses of wine + tax & tip = $180
So, Bottega is fairly pricey. A number of locals feel fairly overpriced when you could get a meal at Bistro Don Giovanni for like 30-40% less. But we think the highs of Bottega were higher. Is it worth the premium? *shrug* I guess it depends on what you're interested in.
Other Bottega reviews and links
- Thirsty Reader review
- Chowhounds' takes (although a lot of these are from when it first opened and there are always going to be kinks at the start)
- The Cork Board review has some nice photos
- San Francisco Chronicles review
- Napa Valley Register's quickie review
- Yelpers' reviews.