The Staying Power and Popularity of Piatti



    Piatti, Mill Valley

    The convivial atmosphere within my local Piatti on a recent rainy night was illustrative of the restaurant’s popularity and staying power. The scene included guests gathered happily at the bar, enjoying crafted cocktails and NBA action on the two tv screens above, multi-generational families celebrating birthdays in the fireplace-warmed dining room, and date-night couples ensconced within corner booths. A hospitable waitstaff buzzed in and out of the crowd with practiced skill, their faces familiar to the regulars who frequent this neighborhood gem—one of seven Piattis throughout California, Washington, and Texas.

    For nearly forty years, Piatti has maintained its beloved stature as a tried and true destination for fresh, locally sourced, and house made Italian cuisine, served within an always inviting setting. In a fast-paced, focus-challenged world where restaurant popularity is fickle, and often based on the “new” and the “now,” this longevity is remarkable. Also remarkable is the dedication of Piatti staff, many of whom have been with the company their entire careers. (Several employees at my local Piatti have been with the restaurant for 20 or more years.) 

    The Piatti menu features something for everyone

    ‘Piatti’s legacy of nearly four decades is a testament to our unwavering commitment to excellence in every aspect of our operation,” says Tim Harmon, CEO of parent company Palisades Hospitality. “Our recipe for success lies within our dedicated team, whose long-tenured service fosters a sense of family and contributes to the quality of the cuisine as well as the experience.”

    Established in 1987 by restaurateur Angelo Heropoulos, Piatti started as a single location in Yountville, California, inspired by the rustic charm and culinary traditions of Italy. The restaurant quickly gained popularity not only for its authentic menu, but also for its warm and welcoming ambiance that fosters community connections, and for its support of local producers.  

    Pasta Bolognese

    Lemon Ravioli

    Over the years, Piatti expanded its presence, with California locations in Danville, Mill Valley, La Jolla and Sacramento, two in San Antonio, Texas and one in Seattle, Washington. Each restaurant maintains the essence of the original Yountville location, that of welcoming warmth and delicious and memorable dishes, such as the nearly legendary lemon ricotta-filled ravioli, pasta covered in rich Bolognese sauce, and the Chitarra (sauteed prawns, saffron brodo, garlic, Calabrian chili and basil), each a testament to Piatti’s dedication to the art of pasta-making. Additional favorites include the semolina-crusted petrale sole, served over sauteed spinach and garlic mashed potatoes, and the mushroom dense chicken marsala. Thin crust pizzas are always a sure thing, as is Piatti’s proprietary and distinctive dipping oil, alone worth a visit. This small dish of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh garlic and parsley, is served with a delivery system of warm, crusty sourdough. The roasted beets salad with arugula and citrus is particularly pleasing, as are the fried Brussels sprouts with bacon, sieved egg, blue cheese and balsamic. While Piatti always features a daily special, these aforementioned items are menu constants, for which regulars return again and again. (At lunch, guests are also offered a grass fed burger, a grilled chicken panini, and a pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and jalapeno peppers.) For those with dietary restrictions, Piatti offers gluten-free options made with alternative grains, and vegan alternatives for which taste or texture is never sacrificed.

    Pizza Margherita. Photo by Fran Miller

    Another Piatti fan favorite is the wine list that features well-priced Italian and domestic selections, many of which are offered by the glass, and only a handful of which are priced by the bottle at more than $100. (Most are in the $60 range.) Rare is it these days to find such affordable vinous options. Cocktails too are a draw. The Piatti Spritz (rhubarb aperitivo, aperol, and prosecco) tops the popularity list, though I witnessed a number of Negroni Classicos being served. Non-alcoholic options include Peach Tea and Berry Lemonade. And a number of draft and bottled beers are offered.  

    “We’ve built something more than just a place to eat,” adds Harmon. “It’s a celebration of community, marked by consistent and authentic homemade Italian food and a warm convivial atmosphere that keeps families, friends and colleagues returning over the years and across generations. At Piatti, we want every meal to be a cherished memory in the making.’ 

    Photos courtesy of Piatti except where noted.



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