After a wonderful day of tasting wines in Napa Valley, I had the opportunity to stop in for lunch with some girlfriends at Tra Vigne Pizzeria in St. Helena. It is located right off Hwy 29, which made it the perfect place to stop and rest after a long tiring day working in the vineyards. (I’m laying it on thick here..)
The interior of the restaurant is lovely, modern and comfortable with a huge bar. I could imagine sitting there with friends enjoying cocktails and socializing.
However, as nice as the indoor space is, the outdoor patio has my heart. We sat outside on a lovely fall day and all of us agreed, it was amazing. We were surrounded by trees almost giving us a woodland feel out on the patio as we dined. It was so peaceful. I could have sat out there all day.
Looking over their wine list, I was interested to see theirs had been curated from all over California and not just kept to Napa Valley. They had quite a few interesting choices including an excellent Barbera from Scott Harvey of Amador County which I had just tasted at The Barbera Festival the previous week in Amador County.
We ordered plates to share rather so we could taste multiple things. That after all is the Italian way. Our menu between the three of us included: Frito Misto, Stone Fruit and Burrata Salad, Lemon Chicken Piadina and Pesto Chicken Panini with Fries.
We started our meal off with the Frito Misto. I was curious in the description of the dish when they said fried lemons. Sure enough, in amongst the shrimp, there were sliced, battered fried lemons. For me, they did not add to this dish. The rock shrimp and the calamari were fine – a tad under seasoned and a tad overcooked. But the biggest disappointment to this plate was the aioli that was served with it. It was like a really strong lemon mayonnaise with no other notes to it. I was expecting chili and garlic and got a mouth full of lemon and acid.
Our next dish was the Stone Fruit and Burrata Salad. I have to say this was a total winner. We all loved this plate! It looked beautiful and tasted amazing. Everything was fresh and ripe, the flavors blended in the mouth and it was just yummy. I think this was everyone’s favorite dish of the day.
The Lemon Chicken Piadina came out and I wasn’t sure what to make of it. It was explained to me that you fold it over and eat it like a sandwich. My problem with it was that the chicken was dry and tasteless. The rest of the ingredients were good and flavorful. Maybe I should have ordered more sauce to go with it. It was ok, but I wouldn’t bother to order it again. It just didn’t hit that yum factor for me.
The final dish was the Chicken Pesto Panini. This one got an overwhelming yummy from me. Big chunks of moist chicken on grilled ciabatta bread, with cheddar cheese, arugula, roasted tomatoes and pesto aioli. It was served with string cut french fries, which were nicely cooked and well seasoned.
As we sat enjoying the beautiful patio chatting over our meal, I couldn’t help it but notice all of the pizza that was going past our table and wished we would have ordered that. It looked and smelled so good. I think we missed out!
Our dining experience overall was good, but not excellent. The service was good, and the food was mixed. I’d go back and try out the pizza. The patio is wonderful to sit out and have a fun, casual lunch with friends. I’d say Tra Vigne Pizzeria was good value for money considering what we ordered. That’s always a plus in the Napa Valley. I’d go back for the Chicken Pesto Panini for sure.