Growing up in Italian neighborhood in New Jersey, we had many quaint little
romantic Italian restaurants. They were usually family-run and every table
had a flickering candle. Since moving to Northern California, I've been
seeking this same kind of place. While Posticino serves on white-clothed
tables (unlike the checkered red and white of my youth), and the Italian
cuisine here mostly reflects a region far North of what was served in
N.J., the neighborhood feeling is there. It's cozy and friendly and the
folks coming in seem to be "locals." On many of the occasions
when I've dined at Posticino, a birthday or anniversary celebration was
happening at a nearby table.
You can't help but feel welcome when the complimentary green olive tapenade
and warm yeasty rolls that are more like biscuits than bread arrive at
your table. I can usually resist carb-laden dinner rolls, but at Posticino
I give in to temptation. The menu, which changes with the seasons and
is always expanded by daily specials, is continually ambitious and interesting.
One of my favorite appetizers, the Insalata Amara, combines endive and
chicory with fennel and seasonal fruit ($7). The success of this dish
varies with the ingredients but it is always enjoyable. Another all-time
favorite was a "Zuppa del Giorno" special - a cream-based crab
and sweet pepper bisque ($8). If that soup happens to be available when
you visit Posticino, I highly recommend it! The calamari is good, though
not unusual ($9). The warm lobster salad in puff pastry, called Insalatina
d'Aragosta ($15) was excellent on one visit and disappointing on the next
when the lobster pieces were smaller and the pastry less flaky.
The pastas, made fresh by hand daily, are wonderfully light. The Gnocchi
di Patate ($11) and Tortelloni alla Fonduta (large tortelloni filled with
melted cheese and toasted almonds, spinach, mushrooms, butter and truffle
oil - $16) both drew rave reviews at our table. There is a daily risotto
that is also worth checking out, especially when wild mushrooms are offered.
But what keeps us coming back to Posticino is the Scaloppine di Vitello
($19). The veal is presented in your choice of three preparations - Marsala,
Picata, or Saltimbucco style - and served with truffled potatoes and seasonal
vegetable. There are very few places in the area serving veal, and Posticino
does a terrific job. I think the Marsala is my favorite, but my husband
votes for the Picata. The daily fish special has also been excellent on
I have only had one of the desserts, the Zabaglioni with fresh berries
($8), and enjoyed it immensely. But what I enjoy most is the energy of
the place. It just feels good to be there.
At lunchtime, Posticino serves additional salads, including a wonderful
roasted chicken on Romaine lettuce and baby spinach leaves with a warm
gorgonzola dressing ($11) and an equally delicious grilled salmon on lettuce
with a tarragon mustard dressing ($15). Classic Caesar salad ($8) can
be made more hearty with the addition of shrimp ($6 additional) or chicken
breast ($4 additional). There are also three panini sandwiches with rosemary
garlic fries that look appealing. Most of the rest of the dinner pastas
and secondi are also available at lunch. The wine list features both Italian
and California wines and corkage is $10.
1480 Clay St.
Napa, CA 94559