Friday, June 27, 2014

Coqueta San Francisco & Bottega Napa Valley

My husband and I just returned from a trip to Northern California with some friends of ours and experienced two amazing meals while we were there, both at restaurants owned by Michael Chiarello.

Coqueta is a Spanish tapas restaurant located in San Francisco and Bottega is an upscale Italian eatery in Napa Valley.

While both meals were memorable, the service and food at Bottega were nothing short of amazing; it is a whole dining experience, not just a place for great food. The waitstaff are some of the most knowledgeable and attentive I have ever experienced. And the food? Indescribable. The ricotta
Enjoying our meal at Bottega. You MUST order the ricotta gnocchi!
gnocchi are little pillows of heaven, just as my friend described and has been talking about for the past three years since her first visit to Bottega. She worried that as much as she and her husband have been talking this place up for the past three years that it wouldn't live up to their near mythic descriptions. Turns out it was BETTER than they had described.

Our waiter at Bottega, Scotty, was one of the best waiters I have ever had at a restaurant. He didn't just wait on us, but entertained and educated us at the same time. It felt like we were having dinner with a really great friend who loved food rather than someone waiting on us at a restaurant. I even learned something new from him that night: if you're baking with chocolate and you can smell it, you've already lost a majority of the flavor since it is such a volatile ingredient. Which is why, when you order the chocolate lava cake at Bottega, it comes out to you wrapped in parchment paper, and the server makes a show of unwrapping it and wafting the chocolate scent right to your nose. It is quite a sight to behold.

I don't, however, want to leave out Coqueta from this conversation, which was also an unforgettable dining experience. One of the friends we were traveling with has two severe food allergies that make it almost impossible to eat out. However, the chef, manager, and waitstaff at
Tapas at Coqueta
Coqueta were extremely attentive and vigilant about making sure she would be safe eating there -- even providing her with a personalized menu that the chef went over and crossed out items that would not be safe for her to eat. I could go over every single thing we ordered and tell you how absolutely amazing they all were, but this would be really long blog post. Rather that describe every dish, I'll just say that if you're in Northern California and you're looking for a memorable dining experience, you can't go wrong with either one of these two options. Not only will the food impress and wow you, but you will be well taken care of. The staff at both of these restaurants are passionate about food and want to share that passion with their customers. You get the sense that the people working for Michael Chiarello are not working on fall-back careers. Food IS their career and that is refreshing to see.


  1. Two awesome meals. Wow!! I am so impressed with how attentive Coqueta was to your friend's allergies.

  2. I love watching Michael Chiarello on the Food Network and have heard Bottega is amazing! The ricotta gnocchi sounds delicious!

  3. What a great trip! Cheers from Carole's Chatter

  4. Food and travel...two of my favorite things!! Sounds like you had a great time!

  5. A post to make me hungry. That all looks so good!

    Joy's Book Blog

  6. My husband and I are thinking about a trip to Napa, thanks for the suggestions.