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Rocabella Bistro Lounge Opens at Former ZinsValley in Downtown Napa

Husband and wife Bledar Llapaj and Debra Buhring offer a Mediterranean-influenced dinner menu, extensive wine list, indoor bar and tented, candlelit outdoor lounge on Dwight Murray Plaza in downtown Napa. Dining daily 5-9 p.m.; beer, wine till midnight.

Downtown Napa's newest dinner restaurant quietly opened its doors Sunday evening.

Well, maybe not so quietly: Dramatic soundtrack music played from speakers both inside and outside Rocabella Bistro Lounge, befitting the Olympian efforts of Greek chef-owner Bledar "Bledi" Llapaj and his wife, co-owner Debra Buhring, to reinvent the former ZinsValley restaurant on Dwight Murray Plaza.

Llapaj, a fomer restaurateur on the Aegean island of Santorini who now lives in St. Helena, has created an extensive menu drawing chiefly from the Mediterranean cuisines of Greece, Italy and France.

On opening night, 19 appetizers included spanakopita ($9) and other traditional Greek dishes, mushrooms "Provencale" ($10) and eggplant lasagna ($12).

The costliest appetizer was a $15 ramekin of garlicky shrimp "San Sebastian."

The grill is the centerpiece of Llapaj's kitchen: Grilled seafood (calamari $21, salmon or octopus $23, prawns $25, whole dorade $26), grilled meats and souvlaki (chicken $17, pork $19, lamb $21) are among the main courses.

Steak-lovers can also find their meat: Llapaj grills an eight-ounce, certified Angus filet mignon ($27) and filet mignon au poivre ($29).

Carb-avoiders can enjoy the $15, bunless "Village-style" burger (apparently the village has no bakery).

Pastas range from $14-$21. 

Buhring, sommelier and front of the house, has created an extensive, international by-the-bottle wine list, with about 15 wines available by the glass. 

According to the wine list, each bottle purchased funds a $1 donation to a charity called Blessings in a Backpack, which aims to feed impoverished schoolchildren on weekends.

Beers are $5 and soft drinks vary.

Desserts, including Three Twins ice creams, are $8.

Coffee is $3.

Vital stats:

Rocabella Bistro Lounge

1106 First St., Napa

707-775-5927

Dinner 5 p.m.-9 p.m. daily

Seating: Indoor dining room, some outdoor tables overlooking Dwight Murray Plaza.

Lounge open until midnight

Seating: Indoor bar, outdoor tents

Ash Leigh October 18, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Awesome spot - check it out.

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