Oliveto (upstairs)

Antipasto of Magruder beef bresaola and provolone piccante with shaved artichoke and töcco di noci ($15): töcco di noci is some sort of walnut sauce; great baby artichokes, bresaola could pass for Italian

Cruda of dry-aged Magruder beef with Castelvetrano olives, Calabrian chili, and roasted garlic ($15): as good as Perbacco, more delicate, the chile oil was only very slightly spicy

Cappelletti of artichoke with mint pesto and Pecorino cheese ($19): lovely and unique dish, the toasted artichoke shavings were a clever idea

Fungo with poultry giblet ragù and Pecorino cheese ($18): very rich and very good. The pasta was reminiscent of malloreddus, dense and chewy (extruded semolina, I presume). As you can see from the fork, this bowl was maybe half the size of the one the cappelletti were in.

Charcoal-grilled Piedmontese ribeye with long-cooked onions, pancetta, Castelfranco radicchio, Parmesan cheese, and old aceto balsamico ($35): this was the dish that brought us in, we were craving steak. Great flavor, nice char.

Their last bottle of 1985 Castellare di Castellina “I Sodi di San Niccolo” ($95), 80-90% Sangiovese and 10-20% Malvasia Nera. Despite being a super-Tuscan it tasted like an aged Chianti riserva from the pre-Parker era. Paired well with the steak.

Apple tart and a chocolate cake with sour cream ice cream and dark fruit compote ($10 each) were excellent but the photos turned out awful.

Overall an excellent meal. Reasonable prices given the exceptional ingredients and labor-intensive dishes.

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The bresaola and rib-eye dishes look wonderful. And the wine, too.

So happy to hear they are still good. This was my favorite restaurant in Oakland, back in the day. I had a winter truffle dinner there one night that is still in my top ten meals of all time. And splitting breakfast pizzas with the boy, back when he was wee, are some of my favorite “good mommy” memories. I haven’t been in five years; I need to make time next time I’m up north.

The downstairs cafe is great these days. They have nightly rotisserie specials that are one of the better values in town.

The sommelier was excellent. I asked if the wine was over the hill since it was significantly cheaper than anything else on the reserve list. She said she had opened three bottles, two were great and one was spoiled. She also recommended opening it at the last minute and pouring gently rather than decanting, which turned out to be the right call, since after maybe 20 minutes it started fading.

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