I hate change, especially when it comes to favorite restaurants. So, when I heard a personal local favorite, Ca’Momi, was moving the main part of their restaurant out of Oxbow Marketplace, I was not happy.
I’ll have to eat my words, on a plate with sides of authenticity and creativity.
I’m still able to get my certified authentic Napoletana pizza at their location in Oxbow, and now I can even more easily order these to travel. The temptation of their classic Italian pastries remains, as well.
What is “authentic Napoletana pizza” and why does that matter, you ask? These pizzas are made following strict adherence to Vera Pizza Napoletana guidelines, cooked for 90 seconds in a 900-degree wood-burning oven. Parmesan cheese, chili flakes and ranch dressing are nowhere to be found at Ca’Momi. If you don’t find it in Italy, you won’t find it at Ca’Momi.
Your pizza will be no larger than 11 inches, with a raised crust edge, and will be soft, elastic and foldable. Never crispy. Exactly how it is served in Italy. Your pizza will be uncut to preserve integrity.
Valentina, Dario and Stefano are dedicated to authentic Italian ingredients, recipes, techniques and presentation. Ca’Momi is one of only a few Italian restaurants in the U.S. (the only one in Napa Valley) carrying three of the highest Italian certifications of quality and integrity: VPN (Verace Pizza Napoletana), APN (Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani) and Ospitalit.
With these credentials you’ll also find an abundant assortment of pizzas at Ca’Momi’s new location, 1141 First St., Napa.
My old favorites, like Ribollita Toscana, are on the menu, alongside many new offerings.
First recommendation — go with a few friends so that you can share and sample a plethora of possibilities.
I’d recommend beginning by looking at the Cocktails di Vino, Ca’Momi sparkling wines spun with imaginative ingredients such as house-made blood orange grenadine, rhubarb bitters or vermouth di Torino.
New to the menu and a melt-in-the-mouth must moving forward will be Animelle al Marsala, a classic dish of Lazio. Pan-seared sweetbreads with marsala and sage butter. Yes, I know, the whole fear of sweetbreads thing. I’m so glad I got over this so that I could truly appreciate the delicate flavor and perfect preparation of this antipasti.
From the Veneto, home to the Ca’Momi founders, you will now find Pasta Con Radicchio e’ Zucca. The ever so slight hint of the natural bitters of radicchio adds structure to the dish that also features shallot, sage and piave cheese.
So many entrees, so little time. We thoroughly enjoyed Stincoi al Forno con Patate. Wood oven roasted organic park shank prepared with Pino Grigio, rosemary, sage, juniper and heirloom roasted potatoes.
Selecting wines to enjoy with each course is made easy by their attentive and knowledgeable staff. You may have an old favorite from their wine list, but if you are new to Ca’Momi or would enjoy changing it up a bit in the glass, simply ask them. Suggestions they made to us were perfect for what we were being served.
Save room for the Dolce. Their signature bigne are a given. Flavor options plentiful. Chocolate, almond, coffee, milk and honey, strawberry and even zabaglione, to name a few. They are little bites, so you can enjoy a few different tastes. Standalone’s like Tiramisu ala Veneto, Piemontese semifredo and millefoglie, and house-made gelato lead the list of sweets. The best thing about Italian desserts is that traditionally they are not heavy and never overly sweet. Just sweet enough and often with a pinch of savory.
Inspired by Italian heritage, these folks are dedicated to preparing their cuisine with a “heart-crafted” purpose. Yes, they are obsessive about quality and integrity.
I personally celebrate with them the simplicity of the authentic Italian flavors and their choice to select incomparable quality California-grown organic ingredients.
It was hard to leave the restaurant because we were enjoying the 1950s black-and-white Italian movies being shown on the wall screen. Seating was just that comfortable. Valentina’s decor is creative, interesting and inviting. Take time to really look around and notice all the original concepts. The artwork is a standout, as created by Jayashri Triolo.
As they say at Ca’Momi, “Eat. Be. Authentic.”
Are they “obsessively authentic”? Yes, and remember, that’s a good thing.
Mangia bene at Ca’Momi.