Endive Salad with Apples, Arugula, Hazelnuts and Gorgonzola; Pizza Margherita, Affogato (Vanilla Gelato with Espresso and Candied Orange Peel)
Occupation: Talent Agent
Favorite Restaurant: Poggio
Reviewed Poggio: Sunday, December 7, 2008
Poggio Trattoria in Sausalito is my favorite Bay Area restaurant, the one place I can always count on for mouthwatering Tuscan delicacies, presented with elegance and style, in a warm sit-down-and-stay-a-while setting. On a recent visit, I had dinner with a friend, who had never eaten there, and the evening was, as always, a resounding success.
We started with a bottle of Prosecco, a bit of a splurge, but still reasonably priced at $44. Within moments there was a basket of warm homemade bread on the table, the melt-in-your-mouth variety that is hard to resist. We ordered the burrata (a creamy, stuffed mozzarella, $11) as an appetizer -- absolute heaven in combination with the bubbly. My friend then had a beet salad ($9) on a bed of arugula drizzled with a perfect balsamic dressing, and I dove headfirst into the stellar endive salad ($10), a superb blend of Belgian endive, apples, gorgonzola, hazelnuts, and honey.
My dinner partner chose a fish course, the wood-fire roasted snapper ($28), accompanied by potatoes and a savory, yet delicate, spinach. Poggio has quite a knack for fish preparation, and the snapper was outstanding. I opted for the deeply satisfying “Fichi” pizza ($12), with caramelized onions, pancetta, gorgonzola, and black mission figs. What a combination! I couldn’t finish the entire pizza and had to take half of it home. For dessert (okay, so I left a little room for dessert…) we split the budino, my favorite: a warm, chocolate mini-cake that is out of this world. We rounded out the night with some hearty cups of coffee.
The staff at Poggio merits a comment. Every time I’ve eaten there, I’ve been treated like a friend of the family, from the hostess to the bartenders to each of the servers. I have never felt rushed or ignored, even during the busiest of nights. No one even made fun of me when, on my first visit, I asked about “evoo,” a curious-sounding ingredient listed in many of the dishes, and one that I assumed must be an exotic sea creature or mountain fungus. My waiter very politely explained that evoo was simply shorthand for "extra virgin olive oil." Now I know...
Go to Poggio for a fabulous dinner or lunch. Parking is easy in Sausalito, especially at night, and an after-dinner stroll along the waterfront is a must. I hope it becomes one of your favorite places.
Occupation: Deputy Attorney General
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Alegrias Spanish Restaurant
Reviewed Poggio: Monday, December 8, 2008
With North Beach a simple bus ride from my house, I was a bit reluctant to make the drive to Sausalito for an Italian restaurant, even one as highly rated as Poggio. Now that I’ve been there, I would happily cross multiple bridges to go back.
I was immediately struck by the interior of Poggio, which well complements the beauty of the neighboring Sausalito marina. The space is gently lit, with terra cotta floor tiles, mahogany-lined arches, and a glowing wood-fired oven. An impressive floor-to-ceiling wine cabinet serves as the restaurant’s back wall.
My meal started with a basket of warm rolls, the best of which was rosemary Italian bread with a hint of sea salt. The next dish, butternut squash soup, was rich and silky smooth with just the right amount of sweetness, and complemented with crunchy hazelnuts and fresh cream. Following this was a stacked endive salad, which achieved a perfect balance between bitter arugula, sweet apples, and the bite of Gorgonzola cheese.
I forewent Poggio’s house-made pasta (a girl can only eat so much!) and went straight for the secondi, a platter of vegetables that was both simple and sublime. A perfectly cooked vegetable is a rare and wonderful thing, and I was served five of them -- blanched spinach with lemon, broccolini with crushed red pepper, Brussels sprouts, roasted purple onion, and tender delicata squash with butter and sage.
The meal ended with vanilla gelato, nuts, and candied orange peel with a shot of espresso poured over the top. The bitter coffee, candy-sweet orange peel, crunchy nuts, and creamy gelato were a perfect combination.
No less wonderful was the service at Poggio. Our waiter was gracious and professional, and the manager, who paid us a visit during the main course, was very personable and eager to tell us more about the kitchen and our entrees. I mentioned to him in passing that my fiancé and I were celebrating our anniversary, and not only did our desserts arrive with candles and congratulations from our server, but one of the desserts was on the house. No question about it -- Poggio is well-deserving of its many accolades, and I have a new favorite Italian restaurant.
Occupation: S.A.P. Consultant
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Borobudur Restaurant
Reviewed Poggio: Saturday, November 22, 2008
The restaurant is in a great location, adjacent to the Casa Madrona Hotel on Broadway. It would have been nice to go there on a summer evening. Parking was a breeze, but that's probably because it was a really cold night. Regardless, there was free valet parking at the Casa Madrona, so I never thought that it would ever be an issue. The place was very busy on a Saturday night and I was glad I made a reservation beforehand. We were about 15 minutes early and yet were seated within five minutes.
The decor was pleasing; not pretentious and yet elegant. There were tables outside with warming lamps, but it was a really cold night, so we preferred to be seated inside. The place was warm, so I did not have to keep my coat on, which was really nice. It was quite a noisy place and we could hear our neighboring tables' conversation, not that we were trying to listen to them. However, that did not bother me and it actually added to the warmth of the place.
There were two different types of waiters -- one for getting us bread and water, and then the actual waiters. They were both very prompt with their service. We had water and bread delivered right away. Kudos for the complimentary sparkling water and rosemary bread. Our main waiter was a jovial and friendly man, who took our orders promptly.
We ordered pizza margheritas appetizers, and I had the brodetto (fisherman's stew) as my entree. My boyfriend ordered the clam linguini. The pizza's crust was excellent, but maybe we should have ordered other types because we found the toppings rather lacking. The cheese and basil were not evenly distributed and there were actually maybe just two leaves of basil on that big pizza (there were six big slices). The fisherman's stew was perfectly spiced and seasoned, but I wished it was more hearty. There were maybe five small Manila clams, three small scallops, five medium shrimp, and potatoes. My boyfriend thought the pasta was not quite cooked, but it was deliciously buttery and garlicky. We both wished the clams were bigger. The waiter recommended the tiramisu to us, and it was not disappointing. The ladyfingers were not mushy, and they gave the dessert the texture to break up the creaminess. It was also not too sweet, and I could taste the different flavors of coffee and rum quite distinctly. Our bill came to a total of $68 (tips included), and it was definitely worth it. I would not mind coming back if I was in the area, maybe on a warm summer evening.