Sunday, September 7, 2014


Bottega showcases Chef Michael Chiarello's signature bold Italian flavors with a refined twist. Bottega's menu highlights the bounty of artisanal and house made ingredients, as well as local produce. Bottega is part of the historic Vintage Estates, located in one of the oldest wineries in the Napa Valley. Chef Chiarello has created a menu of micro-regional Italian cuisine, selecting the best dishes from across Italy and anchoring them with artisanal, heritage, or house-made ingredients.

The interior reflects the food: celebrating both the rustic and the refined. Olive greens, chocolate browns and deep reds create a warm palette. Design elements include distressed leathers in butter, Venetian plaster, imported Murano glass chandeliers and Donghia fabric.  Keith and I had our last dinner in Napa here, and had an enjoyable cozy evening.

To start, we ordered the Hamachi Crudo served on a huge bar of pink salt.  Though fresh, the serving size was too small. I thought the presentation was pretty, but we've had slightly better at some Japanese restaurants. Perhaps it was not the best choice to order at this Italian restaurant, yet we still enjoyed it.

A better representation of Chef Chiarello's wheel house was the Ricotta Gnocchi della Nonna.  Incredibly decadent ricotta "pillows" were topped with old hen salsa di pomodoro and pecorino.  The gnocchi melted in my mouth and the sauce was so complex.  This dish was both hearty and light.  I could have had an entire bowlful.  It was one of the most memorable dishes of everything we ate while in Napa.

For my main dish, I was enticed by the seafood offering of Frutti di Mare in Acqua Pazza.  Roasted black cod, Gulf prawns, savory clams, Monterey calamari and mussels were stewed in a white wine tomato broth topped with saffron aioli.  I happily dunked my piece of buttery toast in the savory broth.  The calamari and cod pieces were my favorite.

Keith enjoyed the Costolette Brasate e Affumicatesmoked and braised shortribs with grilled Treviso smokey jus and polenta-speck polpette.  The meat was super tender and the little polenta "balls" were a nice spin to the typical starch side.  

Of course, we couldn't leave without having dessert.  The Zeppole a la crema stood out to us.  Ricotta cream filled doughnuts were cooked-to-order and rolled in sugar, then served with tutti frutti confiture.  The doughnuts were fun and did not feel too heavy, especially with the fresh berries.  It was the perfect bite to end our meal.

Total Rating: 4.45
Food: 5, Price: 4, Service: 3, Ambience: 3.5, Accessibility: 5

What I ate:
Hamachi Crudo

Ricotta Gnocchi della Nonna
ricotta "pillows" with old hen salsa di pomodoro and pecorino

Frutti di Mare in Acqua Pazza
roasted black cod, Gulf prawns, savory clams, Monterey calamari and mussels
in white wine tomato broth, saffron aioli

Zeppole a la crema
ricotta cream filled doughnuts with tutti frutti confiture

Plus Keith ate:
Costolette Brasate e Affumicate
smoked and braised shortribs with grilled Treviso smokey jus, polenta-speck polpette

Bottega on Urbanspoon

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