Napa >Food & Dining > Bistro Don Giovanni
4110 Howard Ln, Napa, CA | Directions 9455838.344479 -122.326633
Monday To Thursday From 11:30 AM To 10:00 PM Friday To Saturday From 11:30 AM To 11:00 PM Sunday From 11:30 AM To 10:00 PM
Tourist Trap Ripoff – I've dined at many restaurants in and around Napa since I moved to the area and I've come to the conclusion that there are three types of restaurants to be found here: Places that the locals eat at but aren't good, places that tourists eat at that aren't good, and places that not too many people know about and are excellent. Don Giovanni is located right off the highway to attract tourists and it serves expensive over-salty food to cater to them. My girlfriend had a pizza that was ok but my pasta dish was entirely too salty and I only ended up eating part of it. For two of us for lunch was $70, and that would've been fine if we had eaten at Etoile or something but this wasn't worth the price at all.
Best Italian in Napa – This restaurant has been around for a long time and I was happy to see if was still as busy as ever on a recent trip to Napa.
I dined here 15 years ago and loved it, so I was pleasantly surprised that it was every bit as good as I remembered from the atmosphere, to the service and especially the food. I was also surprised at how reasonable the wine list was. Of course they had some pricey local wines, but they also offer some reasonable Italian wines that were just fine with us.
All in all it was a great evening, great meal and I will definitely be back again!
cute place, easy to find, but too salty – the place is pretty cute and very easy to find. the food was salty. stick w/ a brick oven pizza (we had the basil and mozzarella pizza- yum!). the porcini linguine was too cheesy and salty- skip it. we also had the ravioli (skip it-only 6 on the plate and quite bland; we did the half lemon sauce half tomato sauce) and the seared salmon (try it- the salmon is pan fried golden brown and crunchy on one side and served with mashed potato which were pretty light compared to how mashed potatoes are normally served). we skipped the dessert- at $8.50, we thought it was a premium considering the size and presentation of it (we looked over at a neighboring table that ordered the tiramisu, gelato, and trifle).
Overrated!!! – We were in Napa and decided to try Bistro Don Giovanni after reading a lot of rave reviews. We went there on a Tuesday night for our 8 o'clock reservation. The waiting time was a good 45-50 minutes before being seated inspite of the reservation. The place was crowded and we spent the time waiting in the garden over a few drinks. For starters we ordered Fritto Misto -- it was one of the best fried calamari. It was rightly seasoned and the taste fantastic. Next, they messed up our order of pizza and the nearby table was served the pizza. We were kept waiting for some more time, with no proper apologies. Just that the next table got the pizza -- so oops!! When the order arrived, I almost lost my appetite but had some hopes that the food will do the trick. The chantrelle Risotto and the fig pizza were greatly disappointing. The server said the risotto was their specialty, and the figs were from their garden. The risotto was tasteless and tasted like a medicinal potion, the pizza - nothing to write home about. The only saving grace was the use of fresh ingredients, atleast in the pizza and the fritto misto. We ordered a dessert to make up for the food, as we had to leave the risotto. The dessert was a bigger disppointment. I didn't even care to know what it was - a few spoons and it was left alone. We had better food at the Oakville Grocery store or even chinese food at San Francisco tasted a lot better. Seriously, DID this restaurant really garner so many good reviews??? Or were we just having a bad night out. The saving grace was that we were seated in the patio, where the ambiance was better, and the views nicer. I have been to restaurants from east to the west coast, the meal at BDG ranks as one of the worst.
GQ rated hamburgers gets reviewed – 12/11/06 Went for lunch to check out one of the top 20 hamburgers that was rated in GQ magazine. The top ten burgers are all on the east coast mostly in the NY and Philly area. So how could Napa measure up? Well it does not. The grilled bistro burger , $12.50 came with cheese, a piece of ribbed lettuce, red onions, small bowl of mild pickles, and 4 lightly battered onion rings; no tomato. You can request fries as a substitute. The onion rings are among the best I ever tasted. The burger was a hand formed patty around 6 ounces which was seasoned meatloaf style. The chef added either ketchup and other sauces to the raw mix. I know this because my hamburger tasted very similar to my mother's. The burger was very moist and salty, and it did ooze the added ingredients. It wasn't greasy just wet. I will say that this burger is unique in preparation. We did not make reservations so we were put in the patio which was deafening. I requested to the host to seat us somewhere quieter, but he told me this is were you are put without a reservation. The main dining room has better acoustics. The other reviews are accurate about the patio with the fire place, but unless you enjoy shouting over your dinner I would recommend sitting elsewhere. Do not go here without reservations. In terms of value, I would say that for the type of place this is, it is fairly priced. They only charged $2.00 for a single serving of coke. Overall the food was average, but the noise overshadowed the dining experience. The waiter did his job and served us with adequate attention. He did ask how our meal was, but did not refill our water glasses unless asked. The burger was ordered medium, but it came medium rare. So with the improper cooking and noise I sadly must give this establishment a below average rating.
Must try – This is a local favorite and for good reason. Of the 10's of times I've been I've always had a great meal. I love sitting out on the patio both in the summer and winter - in the fall/winter try to get a seat close to the fireplace. A bonus is that they have a full bar. In my opinion a couple of the must-try items are the Frutti di Mare (calamari, shrimp beans & fennel - nobody does it better) & the salmon. I'm getting really hungry....
A little bit of Italy – 7 adults 3 kids a receipe for disaster, right? Not at Bisto Don Giovanni. Everything went off without a hitch. A few calamari appetizers along with some heirloom tomatos started us off on the right foot. Couple that with Risto fungi, penne, and a hamburger (yes a hamburger) made for a delicious late Sunday afternoon lunch. Did I mention the 3 bottles of wine that the serrver recommended. They went perfectly with all of the dishes. If you're going to Napa....Bistro Don Giovanni is a must.
Hard to find but amazingly crowded place – It might be hard to find on Highway 29, but apparently everyone else found their way there with no problem. We arrived well after 8pm and still had a 40-minute wait. If you don't mind crowding around it bar, it may eliminate some waiting time, which was what we did. The bartender was attentive enough to make sure we had our food and take care of everyone else's drink requests.
From the look of the menu, the pizza selection didn't look impressive. But we later found out that you can make own requests for ingredients to be added. The pasta is good, even though the serving looks small at first it can fill you up once you get to the bottom of it. My order of the risotto was a little disappointing because it was too salty. Maybe they forgot to compensate for the saltiness of the sea scallops in the sauce. Appetizer was great, the tiramisu was superb.
Eat outside, it's the best – The food is excellent. Service is good, very knowledgeable, wine suggestions are spot on. Highly recommended for friends, family and business associates!
A Fun Time Out – Bistro DG's is not a haute food experience. It's menu is really a notch above what you might find at Olive Garden. But what they do they do well and it is always fun. Pizzas are wood fired and thin crusted. Pastas are made on premises daily and feature sauces made from Italian tomatoes. The roasted leg of lamb is superb and could stand up to anything found down the road in Yountville.
The wine list is up to Napa standards and DG's also features many creative cocktails as well, a rarity in the valley.
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