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Apr 20, 2012 06:56 AM

Looking for a fun Italian dinner spot in Wine Country

We are headed to Calistoga for a few days in May and are looking for a fun Italian dinner spot. We have dinner plans set for every night but one. Can y'all (yep I'm Southern) help me out with a great spot for a fun, laid back dinner with some great friends.

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  1. Bistro Don Giovanni would be my first choice. After that, Bottega.

    Whatever you do, avoid Tra Vigne...

    Bear in mind, also, that "Italian" in wine country is Cal-Italian and not your classic, Southern Italian - fresher ingredients and not red sauce-heavy...

    4 Replies
    1. re: CarrieWas218

      Thanks for the reply. I have had several people recommend Don Giovanni & Bottega.

      1. re: Phillipo

        I think Bistro Don Giovanni is overrated but some people love it. Oenotri is excellent, especially if you focus on the pizza, apps, salads and pastas. But it’s in downtown Napa. If you search this board you will find lots of reviews on Oenotri.

      2. re: CarrieWas218

        Have not been to Tra Vigne for a while, but always enjoyed the food. Has it gone downhill?

        1. re: ctscra

          Yes, Tra Vigne is gone downhill CONSIDERABLY. It is almost a laughing joke amongst those who live in the valley that the only people who eat there are tourists who don't know any better.

      3. Phillipo, I know this is too late to help you for this trip, but I wasn't sure where to put my notes about the Italian restaurant Oenotri, so I'm putting them here and hope they help others. We attended a show at the Uptown Theater in downtown Napa and went to dinner at Oenotri, which is within easy walking distance. I heartily recommend it: we had a plate of salumi (the chef picked mild pieces at my husband's request because he doesn't like the sour taste of some salami) that was excellent. It was accompanied by sweetly pickled onions and a cracker bread that worked very well in that it didn't fill us up before dinner. We then shared a green salad that would be far too much for one person with nice greens, good vinaigrette. After that, we shared a seriously good pizza - I believe it was called "panna" with a garlic cream and thin crust. For drinks, I had a well-made martini with Leopold's gin and my husband had his usual Sazerac and was very pleased with it. To top it off, they have, at the end of the wine list, "Over 30 wines, $30 & under." The one we ordered, and i don't remember what it was, was very good. It's so nice to be able to order a good relatively inexpensive wine at a good restaurant! The wait person was very competent and said she'd have us out of there comfortably before the show, which she did. The outside patio seating was very comfortable. We attend shows at Uptown about once a month and this is a perfect pre-show dinner spot.