Dinner at Della Santina’s / Enoteca Della Santina – April 12, 2012
Rob Santina has been given his grandmothers recipes for his well known Downtown Sonoma Trattoria. He is charming and fills the air with his Italian lineage. I ate at the Enoteca, which has incredible wines from all over the world. The restaurant is sit down style and the Enoteca is a wine bar, a little more casual then the restaurant. I had so many great conversations with the wine – drinking guests.
There is deep history here; in 1990 Quirico (Dan) and Shirley Della Santina, opened Della Santina’s doors. They were the former owners of Marin Joe’s in Corte Madera. In 1991 Rob Santina joined his fathers business, he runs the front of the restaurant and is responsible for the large selection of wines on the menu. He and his wife, Nicole, started the restaurant’s wine club, Enoteca Della Santina, with a vast selection of wines.
Quirico Santina grew up in Lucca, Italy, and shares his family recipes at Della Santina. His mother’s recipe; Gnocchi Della Nonna, will tantilize your taste buds, a true Italian treat. All of the pastas are handmade daily with great authentic Italian sauces. It is a Trattoria, Rosticceria, and Pasticceria all in one, guaranteed to please any palate.
When you enter the gates and on the brick walkway you are transported back to Italy. Sonoma has some balmy summer nights, and the patio, with its gorgeous grape vines and wisteria, is the perfect place for a summer meal. Sonoma, in the winter, can get pretty cold as well, and a trip to Della Santina on one of those nights is still equally inviting. Sitting by the marble fireplace will take off the chill, and great opera music will help as well.
Here’s what I tasted:
Crab Cake Salad, perfectly cooked crab cake with great tender field greens. This salad is very refreshing, and the crab was sweet and succulent.
Gnocchi Della Nonna, (sauce changes daily). Pasta made from potato. Mine was with a duck ragu, so amazingly great with the gnocchi.
Ravioli alla Lucchese, rotisserie meat and spinach filled pasta in a meat and porcini mushroom sauce. This dish was by far my favorite thing that I tried. The pasta is so delicious and home – made, the mushrooms added a nice woodsy flavor. The marriage between the sauce, pasta, filling and mushrooms was very magical.
Gamberoni Dorati, prawns dore. With wine, lemon and butter sauce. Like no other scampi ever tasted. The shrimp is done with an egg batter, and the sauce is tangy, buttery, and rich. This dish too is something to try.
I had 4 different kinds of deserts from their pastry chef, which changes everyday, and all were excellent, including lemon tart, and chocolate cake.
The wines by the glass are amazing, so much selection from around the world. Some parts of the movie “Bottle Shock” were filmed here, and they have a wonderful autograph wall signed by some of the greats. The wine imports include: Argentina, Chile, Australia, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, and of course California. Ron Kantor runs the wine bar with ease.
Here are the wines I tried:
R Cellars, Chardonnay ‘09, Russian River, CA. This wine was perfect with the crab salad, it has some nice light fruit.
Acacia, Sangiacomo Vineyards, Chardonnay ‘09, Napa, CA. This wine is perfect with all of the dishes tasted.
Leveroni, Sauvignon Blanc ‘10, Sonoma, CA. This is a grassy wine and goes good with the crab salad as well.
Fillaboa, Albarino ‘10, Spain. A great pairing with the shrimp and lemon sauce.
Ceretto Blange, Arneis, Italy. Also, a good pair with the shrimp.
Crios, Malbec ‘10, Argentina. What a great wine with the gnocchi and duck ragu, it added great punch to the meat.
R Cellars, Pinot Noir ‘09, Russian River, CA. A very nice pair with the mushrooms in the ravioli, added to the earthiness of this dish.
Evolve, Pinot Noir ‘10, Russian River, CA. This wine can be paired with just about anything, and in this case it was great with everything I tasted.
Talty, Estate Zinfandel ‘06, Dry Creek Valley, CA. A big bold Zinfandel, that worked great with the Ravioli pasta as well. It enhanced the roasted meat in the ravioli.
I Also Tried Beer: Doppio Premium Ale, Italy. A good smooth, bubbly beer.
Della Santina has had the same staff for last twenty years, so much expertise, and experience adds to your dining pleasure. This coupled with the fact that it is a family affair, is guaranteed to make your experience a memorable one. The food is fantastic, the wine remarkable, so what more could you want, a free trip to Italy right in your own back yard. Come enjoy, savor, and mangia, mangia!
Della Santina’s / Enoteca Della Santina
133 East Napa Street
Sonoma, California 95476 • (707)