Review Angèle Restaurant and Bar
For our Christmas gift to each other my husband and I picked out a local restaurant in Napa for a dinner in January. After a bit of research, I chose Angèle, located in downtown Napa on the riverfront in the Hatt Building. The restaurant is right on the water and the patio overlooks the river. The restaurant is actually in a historic 1890s ship chandlery. The floors are beautiful dark wood and the ceiling has gorgeous wood beams. As it is the middle of winter and quite cold and rainy, all seating was indoors, which greatly limits the amount of tables available.
Unfortunately we were placed at a table for two, not even a foot away from another table for two, with a very loud guest. Also, our table was located right at the point were the kitchen/bar/dining area converge. Needless to say, this was not the best location. And the table wobbled. We were not off to a great start.
The restaurant was full and stayed full throughout our meal. Everything on the seasonal French bistro style menu looked delicious, although a bit more refined than typical bistro food. We ordered 12 oysters as a starter, and were given four each of three different types, but we were not told what oysters we received. Following the oysters we tried an appetizer of crispy skinned suckling pig with sweet apple puree and a mustard spätzle. This dish was fairly rich, and the mustard spätzle paired well with the crispy pig.
For our main courses my husband ordered the Duck Breast with Turnips, Quince, Spinach and Herb Jus. The duck portion was large, so we even had enough to take home for leftovers. I ordered the Pancetta Wrapped Guinea Hen with Boudin Noir, Cauliflower Puree, Chanterelle Mushrooms, and Brussel Sprouts. The Guinea Hen was juicy and flavorful and a great winter evening dish. The cauliflower puree was buttery and rich and paired very well with the chanterelle mushrooms. The brussel sprout leaves offered a touch of green to the plate. The main dishes were excellent and the meaty portions were large, but don’t expect a lot of vegetable. They act as garnishes and beds, complementing the dish, but not providing full vegetable servings.
Of course we ordered dessert, which was wonderful. We chose an apple and banana theme, ordering the Banana Gratin and the Apple Tarte Tatin. The Banana Gratin was served in a rather large oval baking dish and easily could have provided dessert for 2-3 people. The top crust was covered with ground almond providing a nutty savory taste to the warm, sweet, and almost caramel-like banana gratin. The vanilla ice cream offered a nice temperature contrast, although the texture was similar to the gratin.
The Apple Tarte Tatin was half an apple sliced and “placed back together” in the tart shell, with a nice bit of caramel goodness in between. The tarte tatin was also served with vanilla ice cream, a very classic French dessert. For the most part the dessert was wonderful. I enjoyed that the apple was softly cooked, but still had an ever so slight crunchy bite to it. The tart shell seemed a bit tough, but since I hardly ever have this dessert, I can’t really compare to see if that’s common.
The food was excellent and I would go back, but maybe try and visit in the middle of the week when they are less crowded and the service and seating would hopefully be a bit better.
Angèle Restaurant and Bar (Serving Brunch, Lunch, and Dinner)
540 Main Street (at Fifth Street)
Napa, California 94559