Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Viva Italia in Ojai

I rarely but purposely review a restaurant that stands out even among really good restaurants.
Osteria Monte Grappa in Ojai, California achieves the distinction of making one feel and taste Italy.
If the waiters spoke Italian or accented English, I would have been totally convinced.

That minor deficit aside, the owners travel to local farms daily to harvest vegetables, and to local butchers for their meats.  Both dishes we had included great sides of polenta and steamed chard and golden carrots.
The atmosphere in Osteria Monte Grappa reproduces the Italian tendency to welcome couples and families.  The warmth among the staff is familial and the food is both honest and extraordinarily tasty.

There are surprises.  Two we experienced were an eggplant dish with smoked mozzarella and a desert called Panettone that brought me back to Tuscany in a mouthful.

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