A carb filled lunch is the perfect, if not necessary, addition to a day of wine tasting. If you find yourself in the area, Tra Vigne is my favorite lunch spot in the Napa Valley. Conveniently located just off of Highway 29, this St. Helena treasure serves Northern Italian cuisine using fresh local ingredients. Everything about the ambience exudes quintessential Wine Country from the vine-covered stone façade to the charming outdoor patio – you might even believe you’re in Tuscany! If you’re feeling fancy dine in the high ceilinged classic Italian dining room. For the rest of us, the shade covered patio amongst fig trees and fresh Napa air does the trick.
There is one dish that really sets Tra Vigne apart, and that is the Mozzarella “Al Minuto.” The claim to fame is that the mozzarella is handmade at the moment ordered; just thinking about it makes my mouth water. I have been known to stop in JUST for the mozzarella, so trust me that is how out of this world it is. Who knew cheese could be life changing?! The server delivers the warm olive oil covered mozzarella, and slices it into four pieces which he then stretches on top of grilled bruschetta. Hands down the best cheese you’ve ever tasted.
If you aren’t opposed to more cheese, the Arancini Alla Bolognese is a great follow up to the mozzarella. This dish comes with five crispy fried risotto balls filled with mozzarella, slow cooked pork sugo, and tomato sauce. Add in some greens with the Lacinato Kale and Farro Salad, which even those kale haters like me enjoy! The kale is so fresh and crisp tossed with seasonal fruit, gorgonzola, and aged balsamic vinaigrette.
Now for the real carbs – homemade pasta and pizza! I recommend the Maltagliati Verde – herb infused pasta, slow cooked pozzi ranch lamb, and sangiovese sugo. For a pasta dish it isn’t too heavy, and each bite is perfectly tender both the pasta and the meat. The pizza menu shifts to incorporate seasonal ingredients. If you happen to visit during the winter try the truffle pizza with fresh truffle.
Tra Vigne is the type of restaurant that makes people croon when you mention the name. It’s classy and casual all at the same time, making it great for any and all occasions. So go ahead and enjoy that boozy lunch, or heck take your grandparents! What are you waiting for? Tra Vigne will be closing its doors by end of year, yet another classic establishment bites the dust.
1050 Charter Oak Avenue, Saint Helena, CA 94574
Phone: (707) 963-4444