Geyserville, Ca.: Taverna Santi

Take a look at the menu before you look for the location and contact information.

A dozen and a half oysters each for lunch may be a rare treat, but by dinner time our stomachs were growling. I looked in Zagat’s guide for restaurants north of San Francisco. Taverna Santi, located only one town south of where we were renting a house, seemed promising. And I would say it fulfilled its promise.

The dining rooms of Santi occupy what must once have been three storefronts. We were led to the third and innermost room, whose mirrors on one wall tricked us into thinking there was yet another room beyond. Like most successful places in northern California wine country, the staff is well trained: unobtrusive, quick, knowledgeable, and smilingly polite. The wine list contains local and Italian wine reasonably priced.

For my first course, I had a salad of greens, warm, ripe sliced peaches with toasted almonds strewn over the top. My companions shared a hearty plate of antipasti (olives, small triangles of frittata with dabs of romesco sauce, a small dollop of fresh tuna salad, salami). Doug and I very much enjoyed our bowls of spaghettini al sugo caprese, a sauce made of beef and the meat from pork ribs, tomatos and herbs. Cathy said her linguine with cherry tomatoes and rock shrimp were excellent. I was the only one to order dessert. More peaches. The panna cotta with peach compote was too watery for my taste.

Not only would I recommend this restaurant to friends coming to the wine country, I’d certainly plan to go out of my way to return here. It was that good.

P.S. Since this is the last note from Dry Creek wine country, I have to put in a good word for the Jimtown grocery. We met up with friends of mine at Stonestreet winery. They had brought sandwiches purchased at the grocery. The flavor packed into one bite of the pulled pork sandwich one of my friends brought nearly surpassed everything I had eaten in the previous two days.