Thursday, September 23, 2010

Michael Chiarello's Bottega Napa Valley Restaurant


It was our last night in the beautiful wine growing region of California in Napa Valley and my husband and I wanted to make it memorable, so we made reservations at celebrity Chef Michael Chiarello's Bottega Restaurant in the town of Yountville. Yountville is known as the culinary capital of Napa Valley as there are many fine restaurants located there, including the legendary French Laundry, but I've been a fan of Chiarello since I first saw him cook on my PBS TV station years ago, and I wanted to dine in his establishment.  He was also the son of an immigrant family from Calabria which attracted me to his style of cooking, as this is the same region of Italy my husband is from. (All photos will enlarge if clicked on once, and then again when they open on a new page)

The award winning Chiarello has built a small business empire on the idea of gracious Napa Valley entertaining. He was executive chef and partner in Napa’s famed Tra Vigne restaurant for two decades, on the Food Network with his show Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello," and is now also on the Cooking Channel show with new episisodes of  "Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello."  Michael is the proprietor of a small family winery, Chiarello Family Vineyards, making highly rated estate wines from historic over 90 year old vineyards surrounding his home in St. Helena, California.  He also owns Consorzio Flavored Oils and is a cookbook author.  His full professional biography can be read on this link.



In 2000, Chiarello founded "NapaStyle," a showcase of handcrafted home goods and artisanal foods that encourage experimentation in cooking and entertaining. NapaStyle shares Chiarello’s perspective on Napa Valley living through a catalog, website and retail stores, as well as through television shows and cookbooks.


In 2008, Chiarello found the dream location for his Napa Valley flagship store in Yountville, CA. Housed in a historic 1800’s brick building, NapaStyle Yountville includes a Panini Bar and Cafe, Wine Shop and Tasting Bar, Olive Oil Bar, Salumeria and outdoor terrace seating for forty five. Napa Style Yountville is located directly across from Michael’s new and acclaimed Bottega Napa Valley restaurant.


Bottega restaurant is part of the historic Vintage Estates, located in one of the oldest wineries in the Napa Valley, the former Groezinger Estate, and is open for lunch, dinner, and after dinner.


There are two indoor dining rooms that seat ninety and also a private dining/wine room and bar. They are decorated in warm shades of olive green, gold and browns with Venetian plaster walls, and imported Murano glass chandeliers. The ambiance is both rustic and elegant.


There are also forty outdoor lounge seats on the Terrazzo and twenty six outdoor dining seats on the Terrazzo as well, as you can see in these photographs above and below.


The outdoor bar and covered outdoor lounge is open for late service, weather permitting.


The kitchen is partially visible from the dining room. A wood fire oven is located directly behind the stack of dishes.


I was especially impressed by Bottega's signature water glasses made from stainless steel lined copper which keep their delicious sparkling water very cold. The photo was taken from his NapaStyle website where they are offered for sale.


Bottega's Italian cuisine menu highlights the bounty of artisanal and house made ingredients, as well as local produce. The menus change seasonally, and the present dinner and lunch menu can be viewed on this link.


As appetizer, my husband had wood grilled octopus olive oil braised potatoes, pickled red onion, and salsa verde (top middle photo), and I had Chiarello's famous "Polenta Under Glass," with caramelized wild mushrooms, balsamic game sauce (top right photo). They were both absolutely exquisite!  We each had a taste of each others appetizers because we were both proclaiming them to be the best we ever ate!  I was really impressed with the polenta under glass and found this video on his web site that explains how it is made.

We drooled over the descriptions of all his pastas on the menu, so our very friendly waitress Laura, who is also a talented photographer, suggested we share a portion of ricotta gnocchi, salsa di pomodoro della Nonna, with pecorino (bottom left photo), as she said they were her favorite. As she promised they were "melt in the mouth" light and delicious. We also shared a dinner special of wood-oven roasted whole sea bass with grilled white eggplant, Calabrian chili dressing, and lemon aioli (middle bottom photo). Everything was superb! 
Laura also convinced us to have dessert and we shared a chocolate molten fudge cake with vanilla hazelnut anglaise sauce (bottom right). Hot and sweet it also melted in our mouths.


We can honestly say this was one of the most delicious meals we have ever eaten and the perfect culmination of our four days in the Sonoma and Napa Valleys.  We returned to our hotel under the light of this bright full moon, sad to say goodbye to this segment of our trip that began in San Francisco. The next day we were headed to Yosemite National Park, one of the most beautiful national parks in the United States. I hope you'll join me on future blog posts to see some of the outstanding sights we saw!

I'm linking to Michael Lee's blog Designs by Gollum for "Foodie Friday." Visit her today to see links to all the participating blog and their wonderful foodie posts!





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37 comments:

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

What an amazing trip, I know you had a great time! Thanks for sharing!

Cheryl D. said...

Okay, now I'm really hungry! But I'm stuck with my cooking. Thanks!

Ginny said...

Oh, gosh, this is outstanding, and so enjoyable!! You took so many photos of all the facets of the restaraunt! I used to watch his show on the Food Channel. Your photos look like they were taken by a magazine. I love the ones of the terrace and the comfortable and elegant seating inside. And the FOOD! I went to your link and read the currant menu. I don't travel, but I really do now that I've found you. I feel almost like I've been there myself!

Claudia said...

The opening photography hypnotized me. I am thinking I would love a wall of your photos in my work room for inspiration. Just a romantic, tantilizing post. (And now I need another cookbook). The world needs to know about your blog, Pat - just so you can give pass on sweetnesses, lusciousness and bright spots in days.

GardenofDaisies said...

Wow, this dinner sounds amazing! I have seen his tv show a few times and I love the casual freshness of it all. The restaurant looks wonderfully inviting!

Dishesdone said...

I absolutely love this part of your trip! I enjoy his cooking shows and would love to go to his restaurants and shops, but in the meantime, I have a couple cookbooks!

It all looks delicious and your descriptions make me want to go there even more!

Sarah said...

Pat, this trip just goes on and on. You two must have had a fabulous vacation. I'm envious! Seeing all these photos makes me want to go back to the wine country to spend some time. Delicious food!
Thanks for sharing with us. And thanks for the link to those copper cups. I think these will be great to put in my husband's Christmas stocking. ;-)

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

I hope you bought (or borrowed) some of those fabulous drinking cups! Aren't they something very special?
YOur trips sounds extraordinary! I love the pictures.
And what a fabulous meal! This has to be an experience of a lifetime!
Yvonne

Kathleen said...

Those glasses are amazing, as is your trip! Octopus, uh, no thanks. Baked clams, ok!

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Now that sounds like the perfect culmination to your time in Napa Valley. We were in Yountville not so long ago...but we missed out on Michael Chiarello's copking!

Pondside said...

What a treat that must have been.
I've enjoyed one or two other blog posts about Yountville, and yours just makes me want to visit even more.

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

Beautiful! Those water glasses are amazing~ me thinks I need a set.
Another friday's favorite for sure :-)

Jacqueline said...

Absolutely gorgeous. My favorite part of travel is the food. I love it that others take photos of the places and food. My friends think we are a little whacko, but they are missing out by not recording the best part of a vacation. Thanks for sharing this lovely location and food.

Melanie said...

What a lovely way to end your trip. The meal sounds so delicious with a friendly and helpful waitress too.

Edie Marie's Attic said...

Oh Pat, what a great trip! The photo of the grapes & vines is award worthy!! You should enter it in a photo contest... really!! Thanks for taking us with you once again on a great adventure.

Big hugs, Sherry

diane said...

What a fabulous dining experience. You had my mouth watering. The photos are great. Looking forward to coming with on the next leg of your journey.

Blooming Rose Musings said...

You have had an amazing vacation and you have been so kind to let us experience it with you. As always, your photos are magnificent. I have been to Yountville but have not been to this restaurant...you have now made me want to make another trip!
Thank you so much for your wonderful photos and taking us along.

Gracie said...

It looks really a great place to dine at! The dishes look so delicious.....

Allie and Pattie said...

Pat, I'm so behind on my blog reading (trying so hard to find some work). NapaStyle is one of my very favorite catalogs and I've used their accessories in the homes of several clients. AND he is one of the few FN stars whose recipes I'm actually a fan of. This sounds like an event of a lifetime!
xoxo Pattie

Jeanne said...

Good morning Pat, your Napa Valley dinner sounds heavenly. The surroundings are awesome. Beautiful place and beautiful and delicious food sounds wonderful to me. The moon pic is outstanding.

We have not been to Yosemite National Park. It is definitely on our list of places to visit. I know your tour via your blog will be awesome. I can't wait.
Hugs, Jeanne

Vee said...

Way too much of interest to see for my quick morning tour. I'll be back!

Old Kitty said...

Oh Pat!! That Polenta in a glass!! I've just watched the video of how Chef Chiarello cooks it and it's amazing - it's like all these different flavoured stock and then that ancient red corn polenta!?!? What was that about?! And putting it all in this glass... do you get to keep the glass? i hope so!!!

And his plates are lined with the ash of his vineyard or something like that! LOL!!! Fantastic! Thank you for the info on Mr Chiarello! He truly lives and breathes his passion and Napa Valley is the richer for his restaurant and shop - and those gorgeous copper tumblers - beautiful but hey $99 but at least you get 4!!! :-) Oh I could see me lounging on the Terrazzo of his Bottega.

Oh and isn't Laura Norcia Vitale such a find!!!! Wow!!! What a talent and so nice of her to make your dining experience very very special! We like Laura!! And I wish her all the very best with her photography. What can I say - her images are joyful and evocative! Lovely!

Thank you so so so much Pat for sharing your awesome trip to the Napa Valley region here. It;s been such an enlightening experience and a fab intro to Napa Valley wines! Take care
x

Maria M. Boyer said...

Of course we love Michael in our family too. He's Calabrese!! I'm jealous you were inside Napa Style. I've only ever been inside the pages of the catalog ... and I've spent plenty of money there too. A great travel log, Pat! Very enjoyable.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

Another wonderful post! I am SO ready to travel to places I've never been! And the best meals and good wine? Sounds perfect! Enjoy your day! ♥

steviewren said...

Don't torture me like this....I haven't had breakfast yet!

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

you got me good with this one..i LOVE Tra Vigne...been there a couple of times...have his cookbook too...isn't it all wonderful?

can't wait to see your Yosmite trip too...i think i told you my brother was married in the White Chapel in the meadow and reception was at The Awanhee...it was beautiful...needless to say

Happy to visit here today...my friend

kary
xxx

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I am so envious of your trip and dinner at this wonderful restaurant! It must have been so sad to leave but what beautiful memories.

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

Hi Pat....happy to see you today...

well, it is going to be about 104 here today !!!! i was just out watering my garden...it is HOT !!!

Teddy is a TOY...i guess he looks kinda big in that picture..and he is a LOVE BUG !!!!!we ADORE him...

Happy Fall Weekend, my friend

i'll be back to visit you very soon



kary and teddy
xxx

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Gorgeous restaurant Pat! Love the uniqueness of it too. This was some fantastic trip that you guys took. Just wonderful!

PEA said...

Oh my, I'm drooling on my keyboard here! The food looks absolutely amazing and what a gorgeous place to eat at!! As usual, with your photos and words, you make me want to go to all the places you've been:-) xoxo

Pie Lady Pat said...

What a fabulous trip in a beautiful region! You'll never forget it. Thanks for sharing.

Sheila said...

Pat - your explanation and photos are outstanding. It was almost like being there with you. That worked well because yesterday was our anniversary and the farmer was swathing barley so we'll be waiting til harvest is finished to celebrate.

Oliag said...

I may have to stop reading this blog! It's killing me! Your food descriptions and photos are mouth watering:) I'm not sure when but I will get to that winery and restaurant someday!

Mary said...

What a wonderful evening & post! You could be hired as his publicist! I am DROOLING over Polenta Under Glass...we popped in the bar at his restaurant for a glass of wine & truffle fries, to keep our strength up for all those grueling wine tastings :-)

Thanks soooo much for your comments, I so appreciate it!

La Petite Gallery said...

Ambiance, good compand and good food. What an evening. Thanks for this interesting post.
yvonne

RNSANE said...

Pat, what a thrill it was to visit this fabulous restaurant via your post since, thanks to my job loss, I don't think I will know its pleasures otherwise. It looks absolutely fabulous and you have done an incredible job of portraying all it has to offer.

-Check out the link for info on my blogaversary giveaway:
http://rnsane.blogspot.com/2010/09/flash-55-friday-happy-anniversary-to-me.html#links

Jenny said...

I envy you this! I have always wanted to go to his restaurant! The polenta has always intrigued me and someday I want to serve his family style polenta (he dumps it on the table right onto butcher paper)!

Wow!