100 E. Meadow Drive
La Bottega’s wine bar is cozy and friendly, the design of which encourages interaction between guests. The restaurant feels like a little slice of bustling Italy, especially with the vintage solid-wood tables in the front area. There’s not an ounce of pretension in the room.
Gorgeous appetizers and abundant entrees ensure a well-fed clientele. Lunch runs the gamut from the U.S. To Europe, but La Bottega at dinner is Italian through and through. Fresh vegetables, pungent cheeses, homemade pasta sauces and roasted meats form the menu’s backbone, and are put together in combinations both classic and exhuberant.
Roughly 60 percent of the wine list comes from Italy. Co-owner Elisabetta Virion knows her homeland’s vin, and has become adept at buying from both boutique and large producers. “Italian wines are like Italian people,” she says. “Free, warm, kind of in-your-face and satisfying.”
The mussels are a signature item, and are sweet and full of herbs. The baked goat cheese appetizer is almost custard-like after its stint in the oven, and is delicious smeared on fresh bread. For the daring, the prosciutto-wrapped asparagus comes with a mozzarella-parmesan concoction that is divinely browned on the bottom.
The restaurant will close in late August for an extensive re-model that will drastically expand the kitchen and leave the whole place looking like a Tuscan farmhouse.