Review: Michael Chiarello

In the last couple of months, I’ve been fortunate enough to land reservations at 2 Michael Chiarello establishments – his flagship Bottega Napa in Yountville, as well as his new foray into Spanish tapas at Coqueta on the Embarcadero in San Francisco. Here’s a run down of both meals.

Coqueta
Pier 5, The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 704-8866

The presentation at Coqueta is stunning. My friend Annie and I sat at the bar and were able to watch the chefs put magic on plates – a flurry of color, shapes, textures, smells – it was lovely!

The Pinxtos.
App

Grilled Octopus.
Octopus

Meatballs.
Balls

Grilled Branzino.
Fish

I think Coqueta was a gorgeous experience. Perched right over the water on the Embarcadero, the ambiance is warm and vivacious and oh-so inviting. I will warn that the food is not as delicious as it is stunning – I favor Alta in the West Village or Boqueria in the Flat Iron or Contigo in Noe Valley over Coqueta in terms of overall food, but Coqueta wins hands-down in experience and presentation. I recommend going at an odd hour or making reservations well in advance, as Coqueta is currently the “IT” place to be – it is trendy and crowded and caters everyone from the glamorati to the techies to the foodies.

Bottega Napa
6525 Washington Street
Yountville, CA 94599
(707) 945-1050

Bottega is classic Michael Chiarello – Italy meets Napa, all the while showcasing his beautiful Napa Style aesthetic. Picturesque and bucolic and friendly and laid back.
My friends (and bridesmaids) brunched at Bottega – we brought a bottle of Carneros bubbly and were surprised that they charged us a $25 corkage fee. Yountville restaurants typically do not charge a corkage fee (except French Laundry I think), so I was a bit put off initially. Despite the initial hiccup, we swallowed the fee and began our lovely meal outside under the Bottega awning. Over chilled bubbly and conversations with our loquacious server, our meal progressed pleasantly over rounds of fresh pasta. Here’s the spread.

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad.
BrusselSprouts

Potato Dough Raviolo.
Raviolo

Seafood Cavatelli.
Cavi

Lobster Risotto with Shaved Asparagus Salad.
Risotto

I absolutely loved the raviolo that I ordered. Seemingly innocent and subtle at first, but when I cut into it, the little raviolo bled silky egg yolk. Along with the crispy sage and sharp cheese – it was a symphony of flavors. I think the raviolo is always on the menu, while the risotto changes weekly (or bi-weekly) and the other pastas are on some kind of rotation. I highly recommend going to Bottega – it really embodies the spirit of Napa Valley. You can also head over to the Napa Style store and buy all the serving ware they use at the restaurant.

Thanks for stopping by and catch you next time!
AnhD

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