Photo by Phil Harvey

The Napa Valley finally has an Italian restaurant to brag about: Michael Chiarello has returned to the professional kitchen at his restaurant Bottega. A master of his craft, the chef uses Yountville’s bounty to bring forth gutsy cuisine that looks to old-world tradition with a distinctly contemporary and original point of view. Heavenly creamy burrata comes with roasted butternut squash, caramelized mushrooms, brown-butter vinaigrette, and balsamic caviar, while short ribs are smoked, braised, and paired with preserved-lemon spinach. Specialties: Polenta under glass with wild mushrooms and balsamic game sauce; ricotta gnocchi with salsa di pomodoro della Nonna and pecorino.

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