If there’s one restaurant everyone in the Napa Valley knows how to get to, it’s Bistro Don Giovanni.
Double-parked limos and cell-phone-yacking wine barons along the sidewalk belie the fact that this friendly Italian trattoria is Napa’s communal hang-out–where everyone from the mommy-tracked to the fast-tracked rub elbows and chow on house-made focaccia, strawberry lemonade, bistro burgers and rustic pastas.
An institution since the early 1990s, the restaurant (owned by Donna and Giovanni Scala) has always fallen a bit below the radar of tourists despite having amazing patios, an impressive wine list and consistently impressive Cal-Ital (heavy on the Ital) dishes like carpaccio, lamb meatballs, lemon-cream ravioli and roasted chicken. Call it a blessing, though because even without the tourists, you’ll often have to wade through locals crammed like sardines around the bar to get to your table.
Pizzas are a must-try: Wood-fired fig pizza with gorgonzola, caramelized onions and, you guessed it, prosciutto. Ciao bella. Crispy, thin, smoky and savory with fresh slices of sweet fig. All the better with a crisp glass of rose and worth every bit of $14, mi amore.
Bistro Don Giovanni, 4110 Howard Lane, Napa, 707.224.1090.