Tavernetta Limoncello

Tavernetta Limoncello


I’ve been driving by Limoncello meaning to go there for a while. We finally decided, somewhat on a whim on Saturday night, to try out dinner there. Not the smartest move on Saturday night on Easter weekend, without a reservation. But we waited for about half an hour, and got a table outside. While waiting we could hear everyone raving as they left the restaurant after wonderful meals. I couldn’t wait for mine.

I started with an antipasti of Crostini di Melanzane al Funghetto (Toasted bread topped with fried eggplant, garlic, tomato, parmesan and Romano cheese). If you been reading my reviews for awhile though, you know that I got it without cheese. It was absolutely fantastic. The eggplant had no bitterness in it whatsoever, and was cooked perfectly. I shared one piece (with cheese) with my husband, and devoured the other three pieces myself.

For my main course I got the Strozzapreti al Sugo di Carne (Corkscrew egg pasta in a southern italian style meat sauce). I just recently began eating meat again. I’m not sure what changed, but it started tasting good to me again after 15 years of not eating it. I love how many more things I can eat off the menu now and after ordering this particular dish, I’m really happy I fell off the wagon. It wasn’t just a ground beef Bolognese sauce, it had what I believe were whole pork spareribs, but given that meat is new to me again, I’m not the best at identifying it yet. No matter what it was it was delicious! One of the things that is still creepy to me about eating meat is gnawing flesh off a bone, this was so good I had no problem with that this time! I was munching away!

My 3 1/2 year old son got the Linguine Li Galli (Flat spaghetti with a tomato, onion, caper sauce). He’s a huge fan of the caper. He was not disappointed either, the capers were huge and there were plenty of them. It’s always a bonus to find a very good restaurant that is kid friendly and still has amazing food (like here, Ristorante Avanti, and Caffe Lucio).

The waiter was very adamant that nothing in the kitchen is “precooked..” Apparently there are a lot of people who don’t understand the “slow food” concept in this town. Caffé Lucio also had to post a sign that cooking fresh food takes time and you need to be patient. Even when dining with a three-year-old I understand that there’s going to be a wait, actually I expect there to be a wait, if there isn’t one I get worried. Everything was served in a reasonable amount of time and what little wait we had was filled by a lovely 2001 Castello Romitorio Brunello di Montelcino. I think Brunello is my favorite Italian wine. It never seems to disappoint.

The only problem with the meal was that I couldn’t finish it! Really not a problem in the end, since I also got to have for lunch today.

I’m already looking forward to heading back and I really want to try their paninis at lunch. But now I know reservations are highly, highly recommended! It is popular for good reason, we had an excellent meal. Santa Cruz is definitely not lacking for a good Italian meal. But just like Italy, each place has their own style, specialty, and flair. Welcome back to the neighborhood Limoncello!

Addendum: I popped into Limoncello for lunch today. I was torn, so I asked the waiter if I should get the Panino con Bistecchina (Marinated flank steak in homemade bread) or the Cacuzzo con Calamari al Sugo (Calamari in a spicy tomato sauce in hollow bread loaf). He confidently recommended the flank steak and, not having had the calamari, I don’t know if it’s better, but I wasn’t let down with the recommendation. I was trying to decipher what the marinade was, and was told it was a secret, but all I could figure out was fennel seeds. I think that was the best steak sandwich I’ve ever had.
For dessert I got what was, I think, their signature dessert. It was a frozen parfait swirled with frozen limoncello yumminess. It was pretty as well as delicious and I could have easily devoured three or four of those, but really I was stuffed.!
So Limoncello has my wholehearted recommendation for both lunch and dinner!!