Winemaker's favourite

A spot frequented by some of Napa's top winemakers, Oenotri focuses on excellent, rustic Italian cooking

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Oenotri in Napa is one of the most hyped restaurants one can find in wine country. Pretty much every single winemaker you talk to in the Valley will tell you about the pizzae produced here, so it seems only logical that one goes and has a look.

One thing that is clearly great about this place is the relaxed way things are done here. The atmosphere is certainly lively in this constantly packed dining room, but the service is never pushy nor unfriendly. People here seem to enjoy their job and do it very well, by the standards of the region. Equally fun is the wine list. Here you will find fairly priced wines of a large number of some of the most interesting local producers, which is a definitive bonus point for the restaurant. The prices are generally fair, which incites diners to drink a little more and/or better wine; something that certainly influences the joyful atmosphere at Oenotri.

When it comes to those fabled pizzae though, things are looking less rosy. The great places that serve a fine pizza in Naples, and Italy are certainly far more impressive than Oenotri is. Even London’s fine Franco Manca is in a league of its own compared to this. The main critique one can have for Oenotri’s pizza is the fact that the dough isn’t as convincing as that of Franco Manca or perhaps pizzeria Mozza in LA. What it lacks is that airy feeling that makes great pizza dough feel so light. Instead you get dough that is somewhat tough and not as pleasant as it could be. In favour of the crew here, we should point out that Oenotri uses some good produce on their pizza, which saves the day; at least to a point.

Oenotri is a restaurant that is successful, and for good reasons. Whilst the pizzae they serve here are not the most impressive one can find on this planet, they are certainly delicious and after a long day of tasting wine, few things are more rewarding than a good pizza. That might explain its popularity with local winemakers.


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