Sidle Up To The Bar At Bistro Don Giovanni

Top Shelf Butterscotch Pudding -- good to the last spoonful -- at Bistro Don Giovanni.

Top Shelf Butterscotch Pudding — good to the last spoonful — at Bistro Don Giovanni.


You know the rare restaurant that always makes you feel warm, welcome and satisfied time and time again — no matter if you’re dining solo, too?

That’s Bistro Don Giovanni in Napa to me. I’ve eaten there many times, and never ever had a bad meal.

When I find myself on assignment traveling solo to the Napa Valley, I will often plant myself on a bar stool at the end of the day at this long-time Italian favorite established in 1993 by Proprietor Giovanni Scala and his late-wife Chef Donna Scala.

The glowing strings of light at night in the courtyard can’t help but beckon, as does the on-point Italian food.

The entrance.

Th entrance.

The dining room.

The dining room.

I took a seat at the end of the bar last week (paying my full tab) to enjoy a glass of 2015 Whitehall Lane Sauvignon Blanc while I contemplated the menu.

Asparagus Saltimbacco ($16) was a must-order since it gave me my first bite of this year’s crop of asparagus. A stack of thick spears wrapped in Prosciutto, plopped into a pool of thick melted Fontina with sage — what’s not to love about that? I mopped up every bit of cheese sauce with bread, too.

First of the season asparagus.

First of the season asparagus.

The nightly risotto.

The nightly risotto.

Next, the evening’s preparation of risotto ($26) crowned with spot prawns and wild mushrooms. The risotto was nicely al dente with the perfect loose texture on the plate. After a long drive, it was a taste of luxury and comfort that really hit the spot.

For dessert, I made a beeline for the Top Shelf Butterscotch Pudding ($11), which the bartender said was his favorite. I can see why. This is a fancy version — served in a martini glass with a swoosh of chocolate and dollop of whipped cream, as well as a sizeable chocolate-almond biscotti on the side. This is a thick, dense yet incredibly creamy pudding — just the texture I like — with a slightly boozy finish and a deep butterscotch taste that wasn’t cloying. I told myself I was going to eat only half. What a lie. Of course, I finished it.

Why do I always return to Bistro Don Giovanni without hesitation? For meals like this.


More Good Eats in the Napa Valley: Miminashi


And: Two Birds One Stone

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