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A taste of wine country in downtown Toledo

The Napa Kitchen & Bar, boasting creative food and memorable wines, sits on the corner of Summit and Monroe Streets downtown, with views of Summit Street and Hensville Park on the first floor of the newly renovated Hilton Garden Inn. The entire hotel has experienced a reformation with a fully revamped design and appointments. Napa Kitchen exudes a California casual feel with light woods, eclectic decorating and the enticing presence of a variety of wines, with bottles displayed along the walls. While the wines are priced fairly, an added incentive is provided to visit with ½ price on all wines on Tuesdays and also, on any day of the week, for any bottle purchased “to go”!

The fresh from scratch menu, perfect for sharing and pairing, is inspired by Mediterranean flavors and served in a casual Napa style. Suggestions advanced by the staff and on the website invite diners to enjoy a breezy lunch, a round of small plates after work, an adventurous wine dinner with friends or a lazy weekend brunch. They have done a very nice job in creating an atmosphere for casual comfort and to take a break from the mundane tasks of the daily grind.

The entrance to the restaurant is welcoming with a light open feeling emanating from the floor to ceiling windows overlooking Summit, providing a comforting ambiance for either a sunny day or even with overcast skies. The wait staff is pleasant and well-trained, with an easy knowledge of the menu items and the wine selection. The wine selection includes a number of varietals from various vintner regions in California including Napa Valley, Sonoma, Geyserville, as well as wines from Washington and Oregon and the European continent. Wines range from easily affordable to somewhat pricey, but the costs for the more well known and traditionally expensive labels are within reason. Wine flights with tastings of various wines by the glass are also available.

The menu has a number of options including charcuterie boards (with build your own options from about $20 to $30), small plates and appetizers including fondue, calamari and shrimp dishes and crab cakes (ranging in price from $11 to $18), to soups and a variety of salads ($10) with protein accompaniments (for an added charge or $6 to $9), if desired. Entrees include steaks, chops, seafood and chicken dishes along with pastas from tortellini to penne with shrimp or smoked or baked chicken with several different sauces and preparations. Prices for entrees range from $19 for pasta dishes to $35 for steak and chop offerings.

The lunch and dinner menus are the same and offer flatbreads with a variety of toppings (we tried the truffled mushroom version, $16), which was very thin and crispy: a real treat. Sandwiches include a grilled chicken club, a fresh Angus burger and blackened salmon with prosciutto, lettuce and tomato (a “PLT”), all for $15.

Brunch is served at Napa on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 2 pm with many of the items mentioned above on the menu as well as egg dishes (omelets, benedicts and other breakfast staples) and french toast, with prices around $15. An enticing offering of brunch cocktails makes this a “must try” for the upcoming lazy weekends of fall and winter.

Napa Kitchen has a full bar, with ample seating and a lively crowd at the times (lunch and dinner) that we visited. There are private rooms that can accommodate from 4 to about 20 people and a designated dining area that flows into the open bar area, which also has tables for dining.

The hotel is easily accessible with underground parking with the entrance now relocated across Monroe Street from Hensville Park. Parking is about $1/hour and there is a convenient entrance from the garage to the hotel.

Napa Kitchen, 101 N. Summit Street. Monday-Thursday 4-9 pm, Friday 4-10 pm, Saturday 10 am to 10 pm, and Sunday 10 am to 9 pm 216-353-4951. napakitchenandbar.com

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