Main & Vine Brings Northern California Flavor to the Main Line

Opened earlier this year, Napa Valley culinary influences abound at this Villanova bistro.



Lacinato kale and quinoa, with avocado, soft egg, pickled carrots and cucumber, and a spicy ginger vinaigrette. Photographs by Steve Legato.

Since opening its doors this past May in the heart of the Main Line, the hyper-stylish Main & Vine has been a real draw for a wide range of patrons. The Northern California-style bistro is managed by restaurant vet Jay Stevens, with assistance from Conshy Girls Restaurant Group’s Kim Strengari.

Outside, a couch and sidewalk seating (in warm months) soften the Villanova strip-center exterior. Inside, Gacek Design Group placed the bar in the front of the house, allowing for a more communal experience. Each of the three dining rooms is staged with a multitude of pleasing aesthetics. Sliding doors allow for fresh air and natural light; rich textures, linear geometrics and futuristic lighting abound; and ceiling baffles suspend in cloud-like formations. Hues of gray and white intermingle with touches of blue (a subtle nod to the nearby Nova Nation).

Main & Vine Villanova dining room Main & Vine Meyer lemon cake

A comfy banquette setup inside Main & Vine.

Meyer lemon cake Italian merengue.

White marble-topped tables are smartly spaced throughout the space, allowing for plenty of dining real estate. The custom banquettes and plush fabric chairs are some of the most comfortable I’ve ever dined in.

Formerly of Atlantic City’s Water Club at the Borgata, chef Charles Vogt executes Northern California cuisine with Latin, Italian, French, Asian and American influences and seasonal variations. Highlights on the “Raw Bar” portion of the menu include a velvety tuna tataki and a luscious King Crab cocktail with cognac mustard. The baked onion soup—sweet and rich—is another standout. From the aptly named “Vine” section, I recommend the spicy-tangy ginger-dressed Lacinato kale and quinoa, with pickled carrots and cucumber. If you’re into sharing, try the truffled Camembert cheese or the roasted Castroville artichokes with Meyer lemon aioli.

Among the bevy of entrées, we indulged in the hearty double-stack Bistro Burger and the rich nest of imported bucatini with baby clams. The Leidy’s all-natural pork tenderloin was cooked to perfection, though the fennel on top would’ve been more edible chopped.

Main & Vine bucatini. Main & Vine pizza prep.

Main & Vine’s bucatini and baby clams.

Pizza prep.

Behind the cozy, 12-stool pizza bar, Napa-style sourdough pizzas are a constant spectacle. Our flatbread was rife with Kennett Square mushrooms and leeks, pungent roasted garlic and creamy béchamel.

Main & Vine Villanova trout

Pennsylvania Lake Trout with wild mustard greens, cauliflower and almond brown butter.

The pricey California-centric wine list is tempered with several affordable finds like the Le Provencal Rosé. The full carafe of house wine is also a good buy. Cocktail options range from classic pours to more cutting-edge concoctions.

The space Main & Vine occupies on the ground floor of Villanova Center has proven difficult for predecessors Maia, Mixx and Avenue Kitchen. But this intriguing newcomer may have some staying power, thanks to its sophisticated, consistently executed culinary and atmospheric sensibilities. 

789 E. Lancaster Ave., Villanova, (484) 380-3688, www.mainandvinebistro.com.

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