Restaurant Review – November 2008

Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine Restaurant Review November 2008

Piccolino’s Italian Café…
Downtown Napa’s Italian Restaurant with a
BIG Heart and a Front Window to the Future

By Dorothy and John Salmon

If you want a true hometown restaurant that is owned and operated by one of the nicest guys in the world, with really good Italian food, then take your family and friends to Piccolino’s for lunch or dinner. Or, sit at the bar and enjoy a lovely evening with friends after work. Piccolino’s is located at 1385 Napa Town Center on First Street in the heart of what’s becoming a dynamic, exciting and upscale downtown.

Piccolino’s owner, Joe Salerno, has long been a huge proponent for Napa’s next generation of expanded enterprise. Even though ,being in the midst of several construction projects is no fun for any existing business, Joe has hung in there- cooking up great food and telling his guests about Napa’s future. Joe deserves a big round of applause for his dedication to the community and his neighboring businesses. Locals know that if you want the best seat in the house for our parades on the 4th of July, the Town & Country Fair, Halloween or Christmas, you arrive at Piccolino’s early and get a good seat next to the window. Watch a parade while sipping a glass of wine from Joe’s terrific wine list and enjoying some very unique pasta dishes.

John and I love Piccolino’s. So do our grandchildren Gracie and Arden. It’s their favorite place to go for dinner because they can be creative with the menu and order meatballs WITH spaghetti instead of spaghetti with meatballs. At ages four and seven, they consider themselves creative gourmets who get to color and be entertained (on Wednesday night’s) by Steve Albini, Piccolino’s amazing accordion player. Steve is the winner of the San Francisco International Accordion Festival competition two years in a row, and has performed throughout the United States and Italy!

Piccolino’s theme is “Old World Italian Cooking is as Close as the Wine Country” and that’s the truth. The restaurant is styled with country Italian terra-cotta décor with the restaurant and bar decorated with huge jars of fruit and pasta, as well as brightly colored farm fixtures. The outside patio is adjacent to the fountain in the Town Center and to downtown shopping, antiques and boutique stores that make this a great tour stop. You can make reservations for Piccolino’s by calling (707) 251-0100 or by going to their website at:  or If you really want to enjoy downtown Napa, take the Downtown Trolley and visit neighboring COPIA and the Napa Premium Outlets.

John and I spent a wonderful Wednesday evening with our grandchildren at Piccolino’s. We started our evening with Calamari that is deliciously deep fried with Joe’s Special Coating and is served with cocktail and spicy remulade sauce. ($8.95)

John usually goes for the Piccolino’s House Salad ($6.95) and the Veal Parmigiana ($17.95). Dorothy had the Caprese Insalata ($7.95) and the Angel Hair Pasta and Prawns Diavolo ($17.95). Our grandchildren had their favorite “meatballs WITH spaghetti” ($13.95). We all enjoyed our meals very much and the Grandparents were a big success once again!!!

Piccolino’s hours of operation are:
Monday – Friday: 11:00am – 9:00pm
Saturday – Sunday: 11:00am – 9:00pm (Brunch till 2:30pm)
They accept: Visa, Master Card, American Express Diners Club, Discover, and JCB.

Chef/Owner Joe Salerno’s Recipe for Bruschetta Piccolino

•  Fresh garlic
•  Day old Italian bread
•  Ripe tomatoes
•  Mozzarella cheese
•  Fresh basil
•  Olive oil
•  Salt and pepper

1. Rub a fresh garlic clove over the crust of the day old bread
2. Cut bread into 3/4 in. slices
3. Toast bread over a charcoal fire
4. Prior to toasting, clean and dice tomatoes and julienne basil
5. Sauté tomatoes with olive oil till just tender
6. Season with salt, pepper and basil
7. Place tomatoes on bread and sprinkle lightly with cheese
8. Let cheese melt under a broiler
9. Serve


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