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Napa Valley: A List of the California Wine Country's 5 Best Italian Restaurants

January 18, 2018

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Napa Valley is known for one thing above all others: wine. But, as part of any wine-centric vacation often includes high-end lunches and dinners. If you have yet to have the pleasure of visiting this wonderful wine-focused destination, you’d be interested to know that Italian food is also something that many Napa Valley visitors seek. The great news is Napa offers the largest selection of Italian restaurants than any county of its size, anywhere outside of Italy! 

Like most wine and culinary vacation destinations though, it’s pretty easy to end up paying entirely too much for an average meal. To prevent this from happening, on this post, I’m sharing with you insiders look into the best Italian restaurants in Napa Valley.

I’ve owned and operated the Uncorked Ventures Wine Club for the past 5 years, a job that’s taken me to Napa multiple times every month.  As you might expect, those day trips often leave ample time for a decadent lunch! With that, here are some insights and what I’ve learned about some of the best Italian restaurants in Napa Valley:

 

1. Bistro Don Giovanni

 

Bistro Don Giovanni

Image credit: Bistrodongiovanni.com

 

Opened in the early 1990’s, Bistro Don Giovanni carries somewhat special significance because of its location. Sitting directly on highway 29 just north of downtown Napa, it’s the kind of spot that literally every single tourist and local have to pass (almost) every single day.

The food has long offered an interesting look at Italian fare. Expect not the Florence inspired fare that can be found in most Italian cuisine joints, but instead, anticipate lots of seafood! Dishes like the roasted octopus, scallop risotto, and even branzino are regular staples.

One of the huge positives of being one of the first luxury restaurants in the region is that they have a location that others would literally never be able to access. A covered patio on the back of the building overlooks a vineyard making Bistro Don Giovanni one of the best vistas in all of Napa restaurants. It is perfect if you prefer to dine al fresco

 

2. Redd Wood

 

brick oven pizza

 

One of the newer Italian spots in Napa Valley, Redd Wood is located at the base of a high-end hotel in Yountville.  Yountville’s become known as something as restaurant row in large part because of the presence of the French Laundry (long considered among America’s top 5 restaurants), but French Laundry and their demonstration garden have helped to recruit other restaurateurs. The city is now home to the most Michelin stars per square mile.

Redd Wood enters that intensely competitive food scene with a great location looking out in the main walkways of Yountville, as well as a series of highly prized guests within walking distance. While the pizza here might be the main attraction at lunch, their meatballs, salads, and burrata all get rave reviews as well.

 

3. Filippi’s Pizza Groto

 

Filippi's lasagne

Image credit: realcheesepizza.com

 

For quite some time, Italian immigrants in Napa tried to distance themselves from this exact look. When you enter Filippi’s you encounter a basic Italian market, then you find your table covered by a red and white checkered tablecloth, with old wooden bottles of chianti hanging from the ceiling.

Located just across the street from both Oxbow Public Market, the Napa Valley Wine Train depot, as well as, the newly opened CIA at Copia this is a prime spot. Much of the new development in Napa Valley has been centered in downtown Napa, so there’s a nice mix of new residents, long-time locals, and tourists in and out of what’s an affordable and classic Napa Valley choice. 

This restaurant is part of a small chain based out of downtown San Diego. With family recipes dating to pre-1900, Filippi’s might be the most family-friendly and traditional of the Italian restaurants on this list!

 

4. Boskos Trattoria

 

Boskos Trattoria

Image credit: Boskos.com

 

Located at the upper reaches of Napa Valley in the quaint spa town of Calistoga Boskos offers a rustic and chic look at Italian fare. Located in a walkable town, the restaurant features exposed granite walls and dark, earthy tones.

You can find various pasta dishes from rigatoni and a series of pesto offerings, along with chicken marsala show off a very American take on Italian food. It is a favorite amongst many visitors from the Midwest.

 

5. Ottimo

 

Ottimo

Image credit: Napavalleyregister.com

 

We just found this spot a week or so ago when we took a bike ride with the kids. Located in Yountville only a few blocks down from Redd Wood but it feels like a different world entirely.

Sitting in the back of an urban styled walkable center, Ottimo offers different food sections within a larger restaurant. Referred to as ‘where Italy meets Napa’, there are pizza and pasta cooked in an open oven to the back. To the left, a high-end coffee spot that roasts on site. To the right, a brewery. As you enter there’s a range of small goods, locally made products and of course, Italian made kitchen gadgets.

 


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