Dinner at Osteria Monte Grappa – Jan. 22, 2013
Tammy, the owner, prides herself on being a mother, a wife, and a terrific business – women. She and her husband Stephano have successful managed to do everything with finesse and have one of the best restaurants in Ojai for the last three and a half years. Stephano follows traditional Italian Osteria cuisine very closely. And his brother Pietro also works at Pane Vino, and is a great chef as well. With all locally farmed produce in addition to a delectable assortment of Italian products, everything here is remarkable…by far, the best freshest Italian food ever!
The atmosphere is very clean and crisp, with an authentic Italian feel. The nicely appointed interior, lends itself to a modern Italian Café. You could be in Milan, or Lucca, you get the feeling that you just got off the plane.
Here’s what I tried:
Crostini Campo Croce – Toasted bread topped with assorted mushrooms sautéed in olive oil and garlic, drizzled with truffle olive oil. The mushrooms are so evenly cooked and the flavor is full of mushroom goodness.
Linguini Con Vongole – Long flat pasta tossed in olive oil, light red pepper flakes and garlic with manila clams, sprinkled with Italian flat leaf parsley. The seafood here is very fresh, and everything I tried was cooked to perfection, including these divine clams.
Bavattine Alla Maritima – Long flat pasts tossed with seafood and shellfish in a brandy-cream sauce with ripe tomato and arugula. The Salmon in this dish was like butter, accompanied by a nice brandy-cream essence. Both my linguine vengole and my seafood pasta were so fresh it seemed like the clams, mussels and fish just swam onto my plate.
Melanzane Alle Mure – Grilled eggplant topped with tomato sauce and smoked mozzarella, served with grilled polenta and a side of sautéed fresh organic greens. The eggplant has a very smokey robust flavor, and the polenta tends to soften this whole experience.
Speciali Del Giorno – Antipasta and Insalate:
Fresche – Half dozen oysters served on the half shell, what a lovely way to start my meal, these are astonishing.
Ravioli Alla Salvia – Fresh homemade winter squash & ricotta cheese filled rotondi Verdi alla zucca, topped with browned butter, sage, grated cheese and a splash of tomato sauce. This was my favorite dish. The pasta chef comes in every morning very early to roll out his dough. This ravioli is proof that he really knows his stuff. The sauces on here were so spectacular, and it is all finished off in one luscious package, and did I mention the great presentation.
Pesce Fresco Del Giorno:
Capesante Fresche Alla Lombarada – Seared wild northeastern diver scallops, saffron risotto and a side of sautéed crisp organic greens & vegetables. The scallops are cooked through but moist and tender, with a nice seared crust. The saffron alone has much to be celebrated, but with the scallops and vegetables, it really completes this nice array of flavors.
Specialita’ De Carne:
Pollo Ruspante Alla Possagnota – Free range Rocky Jr. chicken, cut up and roasted in white wine, lemon, rosemary and fresh tomatoes, served over grana cheese, soft polenta and a side of sautéed organic greens and vegetables. This would be a Nonna, or grandmother dish. Something you would crave, that would remind you of home. Comfort food at its Italian best!
Osteria Monte Grappa:
Chardonnay, Della Casa, your basic house Chardonnay, went very well with all of my fish dishes.
Pinot Grigio, Della Casa, nicely blended, was good with the clams and the pasta dishes.
Sauvignon Blanc, Casa Baranca (Local Winery) Went great with the mushroom crostini.
White – 4 (White Blend) Virginia Robles, Paso Roble, and this one was a keeper with the chicken dish.
Tammy and Stephano have another location near by, La Fonte, it is a more casual dining place. La Fonte is only open for special events and Sunday brunch. I stopped by there just to see the place, and loved its very homey out door patio. Next time I am in Ojai I will have to check their sister restaurant out.
Tammy ,above all, likes to keep her employees happy and have fun. She told me at the end of every night, her and her staff turn the music up and dance around the restaurant. You can tell that there is a lot of love here, as well as a great appreciation for fine Italian food. Everything here is one big happy family, you, your food, your drink, and always with the customers satisfaction in mind. This lunch was a huge hit with me!
Osteria Monte Grappa
242 East Ojai Ave. Downtown Ojai, CA
(805) 640- 6767