we love a lot of restaurants, but
some places are just special.
olive & vine is one of those really
special ones, which is why we had to
take my parents here when they
visited. we were staying in napa for
the weekend, so we drove 20 minutes
to the tiny hamlet town of glen ellen.
this place is small, but known for the best
food. it's so inconspicuous you could
pass it and not even know! olive & vine
is tucked on the side of the road but
the lucky people know about it. once
you go inside you realize this place is
the definition of a hidden gem. wow.
it is the ultimate sonoma dining experience.
..the definition of ambience..
the touches like this ivory silverware + chandeliers hanging
make it so elegant while also so comfortable.
^^ even the bread and butter was top notch.
we took one bite of buttered bread and all said..
this BUTTER! something was different about it.
two words: hand churned. we had to be careful not
to fill up on just this alone, it was that divine!
when our cute waitress came by and asked if we
wanted more bread, chase said no because we didn't
want to fill up...but then i saw my dad's face and knew
we needed some more :) it was just too good!
^^ incredible lemon caesar salad. caesar salad always reminds me of my mom,
so i loved that she was with me to try one of the best caesars ever!
black cod + bok choy dumplings. this dish was so
unique, and we were surprised at how much we loved it.
although there is comfort food here, there are dishes like
this that refresh the menu and offer a new taste. catherine
told us she personally loves asian food, so this flair comes
through on the menu with this dish. that lemongrass lime
broth alone...we were drinking it out of our bowls!
^^ the presentation alone is a form of art...then the
taste comes along and knocks it out of the park.
the "middle" dishes (between starters and entrées)
were some of our favorites. parmesan flan with mushroom
ragout was so unexpectedly great, as was the cider roasted pork.
^^ the owner catherine venturini and her husband john
are the genius behind olive & vine. they make this place so
personal and have a great eye for design as well as taste for food.
the restaurant feels fancy and comfortable all at once, something
that is hard to achieve. one of the reasons we loved this night
so much was that these two frequented our table and told us
so much about the food, the history of olive & vine, and more.
i couldn't believe that they took this place from a simple
lunch stop to a full-scale incredible dining experience and
catering company. i love seeing people with true talent
for the art of cooking + entertaining, and these two have both.
despite being one of sonoma county's best restaurants,
i kind of felt like i was dining at john & catherine's home.
that's the kind of experience they offer at olive & vine.
grilled colorado lamb porterhouse was a favorite with my dad.
we loved chef catherine's gnocchi with forest mushrooms
and the parmesan broth that i could drink on its own!
the fresh fish of the day was halibut, which was my favorite.
everything was prepared in such a detailed way where
every bite had the best combination of flavors. it all
tastes so fresh and is truly prepared with talent.
these three are the best dinner dates in my opinion!
^^ the staff and service is the best part,
we left feeling like we were friends with everyone!
*fun fact-- this cute girl is catherine's daughter!
i love that she works at her mom's restaurant..
yet another personal aspect of this place.
it was hard to top our meal, but
somehow we always make room
for the best part, dessert.
^^ chocolate espresso torte with sea salt caramel gelato.
let's just say i was tempted to lick the plate clean.
^^ ricotta panna cotta with spring rhubarb + strawberry compote.
^^ and, roasted pear & caramel bread pudding with chantilly cream.
this was a special for sonoma restaurant week, and it knocked
our socks off. we could smell it baking as we walked in, and
you can't beat the combo of pear & caramel...& bread pudding.
^^ happy dessert lovers!
^^ thank you, catherine! you are amazing and so good at what you do.
everyone else gets to benefit from that talent!