Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine Restaurant Review June 2008
Ristorante La Strada
American Canyon’s Best Kept Secret!
By Dorothy and John Salmon
We are writing this while we are in Dingle, Ireland. More on that later. Back in Napa, we have passed La Strada Restaurant on Hwy 29 hundreds of times, each time wondering what the restaurant is like. As you travel into or out of Napa or American Canyon next time, DON’T pass it by. Pull off the road and try lunch or dinner any day of the week.
La Strada is a family Italian restaurant featuring Tuscan style food that is plentiful and tasty. La Strada is PERFECT for those big parties, large meetings or family get-togethers. It has a lovely Italian ambiance, is affordable, easy to find and has lots of parking.
No surprise to our readers, we had a great time at La Strada with their staff. We were greeted by Mark, our friendly waiter, who cheerfully told us stories about his 12 years working for the family that owns La Strada. While we were talking with Mark, soft Italian music played in the background and made us feel like we were back in time. He brought us some of the best bread (baked daily at the restaurant) with a tasty oil dip dressed with garlic that was hard to stop eating. The chef, Jose Rosales, another long time employee, joined us for a bit and shared some of his secrets on cooking great Tuscan food.
We started out with a nice Gabiano Classico Chianti from Tuscany. Here is a tip if you are a commuter on Hwy. 29 and need to stop for a rest along the way. La Strada has Happy Hour Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. So if traffic is backed up, call home, tell them you’ll be late (or come and meet you for dinner) and stop and relax at La Strada. In all events, please be responsible, since you will be getting back on the road!
Once in the restaurant, you can imagine you are in Tuscany as you relax with the lovely Tuscan murals while dining with white linen table cloths and napkins. Bring the kids to La Strada too. They will halve the orders in price and amount and the kids will love the Italian pasta selections.
La Strada is a favorite spot for many of Napa County’s governmental organizations and local nonprofits that choose to have their dinner or luncheon meetings there. LaStrada’s large dining room is perfect for big meetings and is also conducive to friendly conversation. La Strada is also great for rehearsal dinners, wedding dinners, big birthday parties at reasonable prices.
We enjoyed lunch at LaStrada before leaving for Europe. In addition to the Chianti, LaStrada’s wine list includes local wines make by Italians such as Coppola, Mondavi, Personnel and Sebastiani. Most wines are in the $20 range, including the imported ones. Dorothy had the shrimp salad and John the pastina soup, which he thought was great. (The recipe is included in this review). The pastina soup tastes a bit like minestrone without the vegetables. John enjoyed the excellent veal marsala ($14) and Dorothy kept on the fish side with Gamberi al Timo, prawns and scallops with mushrooms, thyme sauce ($16). For dessert, we ordered the tartuflo which was nice, but a very heavy chocolate dessert. John had spumoni which was superlative and comes from Berkeley Farms.
Don’t be fooled by the location, the food is really good! Go to their web site at: http://www.lastradanostra.com. Our total bill, including wine, was $75.
La Strada is located at 6240 Napa Vallejo Highway in American Canyon. They can be reached by calling (707) 226-3027.
Back to Dingle. Here are two great recommendations if you are lucky enough to visit the Dingle Peninsula on the western coast of Ireland. Stay with Inn Keeper Marian at the Emlagh House http://www.emlaghhouse.com and enjoy dinner at Jim McCarthy’s Chart House http://www.bestofbridgestone.com/listman/listings/l0231.html. Our wine waiter Gwenael was so much fun we went back two nights in a row. The chef, Noel Enright, is amazing. The food is fabulous and the ambiance is lovely.