This is the perfect spot in idyllic Yountville, Napa Valley, to enjoy an indulgent dinner.
After a day visiting different wineries, and hence a day of sitting out in the summer sun and enjoying a few (maybe more) glasses of wine, a hearty meal at Bottega is like the crowning jewel at the end of a vacation day.
As it was our last day in town, we had already had a chance to explore the rest of the town and select wineries on our list, so we stopped by for an early dinner around 5:30PM. Our hotel had warned us that Bottega is extremely popular amongst locals and visitors, so we felt lucky when we were quickly seated next to one of the beautiful arched windows.
We started off with a Tagliarini Bolognese, with veal, pork, and porcini mushroom sugo with rosemary and Parmigiano Reggiano. The pasta was cooked perfectly al dente, with appetizing sweet tomato sauce and crumbly meat morsels - so perfect to go with, of course, you guessed it, more wine. What else would one do while in Napa Valley?
We decided to share all the dishes to ensure we got to try a wide variety of items. This gave us more room to order two appetizers to share. The grilled short rib meatballs with pine nuts in Sicilian tomato sauce were topped with fresh ricotta and served with sweet Italian peppers in agro dolce and coal-roasted eggplant. A dish recommended by one of the servers at Duckhorn Winery was the "Polenta Under Glass", with caramelized wild mushrooms, balsamic game sauce and a Parmigiano frico - a creamy indulgent dish best for sharing if you want to leave room for an entree.
A classic Italian past dish, the Raviolo di Uovo is a pasta filled with potato, farm hen egg yolk, ricotta, and topped with swiss chard, truffled brown butter and sage. If you are a fan of heavier pastas, then you would love this dish. To give you a sense of how filling this dish is, the four of us shared the pasta and felt it was the optimal portion size for each person.
Last but not least we had the Ricotta Gnocchi della Nonna, described as Ricotta “pillows” with old hen tomato sauce and Pecorino Romano. If you are used to chewy, doughy and filling gnocchi dishes, you must try this heavenly creation; each bite is an airy, light texture mixed with the hearty meat sauce, creating a delightful dish that is not overly filling.
As we took our time savouring each dish, the restaurant quickly filled up, and lively chatter filled the space. We discovered a private dining space where cabinets up cabinet of wine lined the walls - a great spot for an intimate dinner when travelling with a sizeable party.
The surprising dish I will always remember from this visit would be the authentic, airy texture of the gnocchi pasta. If you are in Napa Valley over the summer months, make sure to drive out to Yountville to indulge in these tasty Italian dishes!
V Marketplace, 6525 Washington Street, Yountville
Photos: Florence Leung