Saturday, April 25, 2015

Zuzu's Tapas and Paella's in Napa

Zuzu Tapas and Paellas Napa
Zuzu Tapas and Paellas in Napa
Downtown Napa is a beautiful place full of quaint shops and boutiques as well as restaurants with character and there's enough variety within walking distance that your chances of finding a nice place to eat at almost any price range is pretty good. 

My wife and I decided to come to Napa for one of our date nights to try someplace new. My Yelp search led me to Zuzu for tapas. I chose Zuzu because we hadn't eaten at a tapa bar in a while. The last time was in San Francisco at one of our long time favorites - Cha Cha Cha in the Mission. I thought this could be just a good. They do serve sangria after all!

Zuzu is a nice little restaurant with excellent ambiance. Music, close quarters, full tables with a cacophony of conversations that give the place a nice feel. We walked through the first floor dining area towards the back near the bar to ask the hostess for a table. A short 10 minutes later, we were lucky enough to get seated in the upstairs dining area. I recommended upstairs if you want it a little quieter and more intimate setting so you can have nice quiet conversation. Downstairs was louder but not annoyingly so.

Zuzu Napa
Top of the stairs waiter station at Zuzu in Napa, CA

Sangra to start off the night!

My lady and I started off the night with sangria. Sangria is pretty tricky - it's good and so good sometimes that you may not stop consuming it until you're too drunk. That's why we split one because we're cheap dates and from my experience, one full glass would be more than plenty for us. I guess I was wrong. Either my alcohol tolerance level has increased or the sangria wasn't as potent as Cha Cha Cha's version. It tasted good but not even a buzz. Oh well...
John Gamboa and his wife at Zuzu Napa
John Gamboa with his wife at Zuzu
We were lucky to get a table for two against the window that faces Napa's Veteran's Memorial Park and the Napa river. The windows are tall as you can see in my picture with my wife above.
Zuzu Napa Menu
Zuzu - Menu with a glass of Sangria
The service was pretty good as one would expect in downtown Napa. We never ran out of water or bread throughout the dinner but we didn't make any special requests so that was to be expected.
John and his wife at Zuzu in Napa, CA

Zuzu 2nd Floor View
View of Veteran's Memorial Park from the Second Floor of Zuzu in Napa, CA
On to the food. We ordered the Gambas Al Ajillo, a shrimp dish, the Croquetas, a chicken dish, and the Paella Del Dia - a paella with clams and sausage.  Being a tapas and paellas restaurant you expect to get appetizer sized servings and Zuzu lives up to that aspect. The great thing is that you can order several dishes and not get to full when the night is over.

Gambas Al Ajillo - Zuzu
Gambas Al Ajillo at Zuzu in Napa, CA

Gambas Al Ajillo

We love shrimp. And just like Bubba said, it can be prepared so many ways. So why not try this one, right? It wasn't a little of a let down but nothing to write home about. This dish was a little bland but the sauce was good enough to keep to dip our bread into.

Croquetas - Zuzu, Napa
Croquetas at Zuzu


This chicken dish was't what I expected. The presentation was excellent and it has great texture. Unfortunately, just like the Gambas Al Ajillo it was too bland. 
Paella Del Dia - Zuzu, Napa
Paella Del Dia at Zuzu in Napa, CA

Paella Del Dia - a little redemption

This was the best dish of the night. Again, good presentation. And this time good flavor. 


Will we come back. Maybe. Ambiance and location, yes, we'll be back for those and maybe try some other dishes. The ones we had just didn't make us go "Wow!" I wish they put more flavor into their food. Maybe it was an off night for the kitchen.

Just like people, I believe this deserves a second chance. After all, they do server sangria!

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