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great lunch at Santi (Geyserville)

Kathleen | Feb 14, 200501:11 PM

My hubby and I decided to celebrate Valentine's Day a bit early on Saturday and do a little wine tasting after a nice lunch. Since I had just listened to the wine show on KRSH when Ziggy the Wine Gal was raving about the sparkling shiraz at Geyser Peak, we decided to start tasting there and have lunch at Santi first. What a pleasure! I had been to Santi a couple of times before for dinner, but lunch was a different kind of feeling - a little more intimate.

We arrived just after noon and the place was nearly empty. Service was attentive and speedy. We had a basket of bread along with water almost immediately. We needed extra time to decide on our meals and wine, even though the lunch menu is shorter that dinner. We both decided to start with the house salad, perfectly balanced flavors with tangerine segments, a good mix of baby greens including just the right amount of bitter, lovely citrus dressing, and how do they get those olives to taste so delicious?

Since we were tasting later, we decided to limit ourselves to one glass of wine to nurse through lunch. My husband had a pinot noir that he liked (but sorry, I didn't write down the wine he ordered) and I had a glass of 2002 Bertani Due Uve pinto grigio and sauvignon blend. The waitress recommended it, and she made a good call!

Then my husband had the pressed sandwich, which came with the most wonderful risotto balls with melty mozzerella cheese. I got a little bite of the sandwich and it was delicious, but oh, those risotto balls! The rice was just al dente, the outside crisp, the inside creamy. They may have been my favorite thing. I couldn't resist ordering fish and chips. The fish, a local cod, tasted like it had just been caught. The batter was light and delicious. The homemade tarter sauce with capers was just right. The fries were maybe just a little limp but nonetheless very tasty. Portions were very generous - neither of use could finish (but I made sure to finish the last bites of the rice balls for my husband) and we both have healthy appetites. So we didn't try dessert, but wish we'd had room.

I felt like lunch was even more cozy and friendly than dinner (though dinner is also wonderful and does have a sort of "home town" feeling too) and I'd strongly encourage chowhounds in the area to hang out at Santi. With 2 house salads, 2 good glasses of wine, 2 entrees, tax and a very generous tip (well-earned) tab was $60. A very romantic start to our romantic holiday!

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