[Italian] Tra Vigne

Restaurant: Tra Vigne
Location: 1050 Charter Oak Ave, Saint Helena, CA 94574, United States
Price Range: $$$

Tra Vigne Restaurant
Tra Vigne Restaurant

[wp-review]

After some sight-seeing at the Black Stallion Winery, my family headed to Tra Vigne for a late lunch. Initially my sister wanted to have lunch at another restaurant called Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch (if I remember correctly) which is across from Tra Vigne, however that particular restaurant was fully booked. From what I was told, Farmstead is an extremely local farm to table restaurant that not only grow their own vegetables, but also raised their own beef and pork! When I get a chance to come back to this area, I will definitely make sure to pay Farmstead a visit!

Garden
Garden

Tra Vigne itself is enormous and there are actually 2 restaurants within the area! One is their normal dine-in restaurant, whereas the other is a pizzeria that serves authentic Neopolitan pizzas. I forgot to take a picture but the inside was spacious with high ceilings. The garden was gorgeous as well! With that said, we decided to sit inside as it was extremely hot that day :(.

Although the price is definitely up there, Tra Vigne doesn’t give off the high-end vibe. In fact the simple decor and big round tables really made Tra Vigne seemed more like a family restaurant.

Mozzarella cheese "Al Minuto" (hand made at the moment ordered, grilled country style bruschetta) - $14
Mozzarella cheese “Al Minuto” (hand made at the moment ordered, grilled country style bruschetta) – $14

The most popular appetizer in 
Tra Vigne is the Mozzarella cheese Al Minuto and seriously guys, this is a MUST to order in this restaurant. It is made in house and hand made at the moment you order, and the waiter will prepare the dish at your table. The fresh mozzarella is made with napa valley olive oil and served with grilled bruschetta and a side of fresh tomatoes topped with balsamic vinegar.

The server "spread" the cheese at your table
The server “spread” the cheese at your table

The server hand pulled the mozzarella and placed it on the grilled bruschetta, then drizzles some olive oil. Every single bite I took was unbelievable. It was absolutely melt in your mouth delicious. The cheese was creamy and chewy, and it was perfectly seasoned with salt and pepper.

Tomatoes topped with balsamic vinegar
Tomatoes topped with balsamic vinegar

Even the tomatoes were freaking delicious! Does anyone know any Toronto restaurants that serve fresh mozzarella cheese like this…? Please please let me know because I seriously can’t handle those yucky cold mozzarella cheese in our grocery stores anymore..

Seasonal fritto misto (rock shrimp, calamari, castelvetrano olives, lemons, sweet peruvian peppers, aioli) - $12
Seasonal fritto misto (rock shrimp, calamari, castelvetrano olives, lemons, sweet peruvian peppers, aioli) – $12

Although the fritto misto was good, I didn’t think it was any special and I wouldn’t order this again. Seafood were lightly battered and well seasoned. I also didn’t like how they crammed all of the seafood onto the dish and I had some pieces fell into the aioli, -1 for presentation.

Beef short ribs (smoked and braised, soft polenta, natural jus, horseradish gremolata) - $32
Beef short ribs (smoked and braised, soft polenta, natural jus, horseradish gremolata) – $32

The short ribs were so tender and fall off the bone with a slight charred on the outside, and complemented perfectly with the buttery and smooth polenta. However it was quite a heavy dish and I’m not so sure if I’m willing to pay $32 for this again :(.

House smoked Scottish salmon (crispy potato latke, poached egg, sausalito watercress, crème fraiche) - $13
House smoked Scottish salmon (crispy potato latke, poached egg, sausalito watercress, crème fraiche) – $13

I didn’t try this dish as I dislike smoked salmon, however I tried the crispy potato latke and it was so good! After a quick search online, I realized how easy it is to make latke and I’m so tempted to make it at home now. The potato latke was perfectly fried with a crispy skin and very aromatic from the onions, it was definitely the star of this dish.

Sage infused pappardelle (braised rabbit ragu, wild mushrooms, grana padano) - $18
Sage infused pappardelle (braised rabbit ragu, wild mushrooms, grana padano) – $18

The dish itself was really hearty, served in a thick brown savory sauce with a fresh and al dente pasta! Unfortunately this was my least favorite dish, as I found the rabbit tasted a bit too gamey and the sage really overpowered the dish. For some odd reasons I tasted something smokey or burnt, and I can’t quite figure out where it came from … but everyone else seemed to enjoy the dish.

Grilled Brandt Family "Berretta" Flat iron steak and egg (san marzano tomato arrabbiata sauce, crispy polenta, arugula and parmesan salad) - $19
Grilled Brandt Family “Berretta” Flat iron steak and egg (san marzano tomato arrabbiata sauce, crispy polenta, arugula and parmesan salad) – $19

This was my second favourite dish with the perfect medium rare steak and the oh-so-cheesy crispy polenta. It was my first time having polenta serves in a different way and I have to say, I’m a fan! The steak itself didn’t have much flavor, however the crispy polenta was salty so it added a boost of flavor to the dish :).

outside2

Overall I am a fan of Tra Vigne! The highlight of the meal was definitely the Mozzarella cheese “Al Minuto” and the flat iron steak. Although the restaurant itself was more a family style restaurant (which is what I love about Italian cuisine), yet the service was incredibly professional and friendly. I do plan on going back to San Fran one day (I mean, who wouldn’t want to!) and I will definitely check out Tra Vigne pizzeria or Farmstead when I get a chance to visit Napa.

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