Mar 2011

Bottega – Yountville

Bottega Restaurant - Yountville

After spending several days in The Bay visiting loved ones and dining at some spectacular local spots, The Astronomer and I traveled to Wine Country for more of the same. We haven’t been back to the area since celebrating our engagement at The French Laundry in 2009, but the scenery and spirit of the place was just as lovely as we remembered it.

On our first night in town, The Astronomer and I snagged two seats at the bar at Chef Michael Chiarello‘s three-year-old rustic Italian eatery Bottega. I had tried to make a proper reservation a few days earlier, but the entire restaurant was fully booked. Fortunately, we didn’t wait but five minutes before two stools opened up.

Bottega Restaurant - Yountville

While we perused the menu and wine list, our waiter dropped off some white bread along with a garlic- and cheese-infused olive oil. It’s been a while since I’ve encountered bread service worth going gaga over, but Bottega’s was really outstanding. The bread was crusty without scarring the roof of my delicate mouth, while the olive oil was just plain addictive. Even though we had a feast ahead of us, seconds were requested and immediately devoured.

Bottega Restaurant - Yountville

To start, I picked the pesce crudo—“market fresh raw selection from the sea.” The day’s offering was Big Eye tuna served with spicy micro greens and deep-fried satsumas ($13). I liked the dish well enough, but thought the portion size was ridiculously small. The tempura-battered mandarin segments were the most exciting element on the slab.

Bottega Restaurant - Yountville

To make up for the skimpy starter, the subsequent courses were portioned generously enough to satisfy two hearty eaters. Our first pasta course was the hand-cut egg linguine with Manilla clams, Calabrese sausage, garlic, basil, parsley, and white wine ($17).

The toothy noodles were definitely to my liking, although The Astronomer felt that they bordered on undercooked. The clammy broth coated the strands lightly but effectively.

Bottega Restaurant - Yountville

Pasta course number two was the house-made rigatoni, sauced to perfection with a tomato-braised Sonoma rabbit and wild mushroom gravy ($18). The dish was topped with a creamy spoonful of house-made ricotta. Braised meats paired with handmade pastas is the very definition of comfort in my book.

Bottega Restaurant - Yountville

We could’ve walked out of Bottega quite content after the pastas, but decided to share half a duck to prolong the good times. The “Confit of Half Duck” ($28) was served with mostarda di frutta (fruit compote) and panettone bread pudding. The duck’s skin was taut and crisp, while its meat was juicy and tender. The sweet and fruity sides brought balance to the dish.

Bottega Restaurant - Yountville

This is what the plate looked like twenty minutes later. We liked the duck. A lot.  In fact, The Astronomer declared that it was the best duck he had ever eaten.

Bottega Restaurant - Yountville

For dessert, we couldn’t resist the “Zeppole al Lemoni”  ($10). The Italian doughnuts were fried to order and arrived at the table hot to the touch and covered in superfine sugar.

Bottega Restaurant - Yountville

The texture of the doughnuts wasn’t particularly light or noteworthy. However, we barely noticed once they were smothered in Meyer lemon curd and Earl Grey berry conserva.

Bottega is a sweet little spot for solid food and chill atmosphere. Thanks for sending me here, Danny.

6525 Washington Street
Yountville, CA 94599
Phone: 707-945-1050

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10 thoughts on “Bottega – Yountville

  1. I’m glad you liked it! I need to visit again, because my sole trip was a light lunch (to save room for a Meadowood dinner).

    Did you check out the Napa Style store right across from the restaurant? I liked the store as well, especially the variety of salts.

  2. Darin – I didn’t check out Napa Style in Yountville, but I did check out the one in Pasadena before it closed. I thought the goods were of great quality, but too specialized for my own needs. Still, very fun to browse 😉

  3. I’ve had all that you’ve had that night cept the crudo. The rabbit pasta for us was a Garganelli instead of a rigatoni, but it was one of my all time favs. Love the duck, love everything about Bottega. Glad you took my rec Cathy! 😀

  4. I’m still kickng myself for not ordering that duck when I went this past October! I should have paid closer attention to Danny’s review before I went. Boo!

  5. I wasn’t blown away here. The setting is great but the food was just average. I had the highly recommended rabbit but I swear it tasted like a giant piece of Orange Chicken from Panda Express, no lie. And it was dry, and when I said something to the waiter nothing happened – crickets. Oh well. Actually, the best thing there are the truffle fries in the bar. Now that’s worth going back for.

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