The doors to Della Santina’s opened in June, 1990 by Quirico (Dan) and Shirley Della Santina. Formerly one of the owners of Marin Joe’s in Corte Madera, Quirico decided to bring his family recipes to the wine country. In 1991, Quirico and Shirley’s son Robert joined the business. He now runs the front of the restaurant and is responsible for the large selection of wines on the menu. He and his wife, Nicole, have also started the restaurant’s wine club, Enoteca Della Santina, featuring value wines from around the world.
The traditional Italian fare is based upon Quirico’s family recipes growing up in Lucca, Italy and his sheer talent as a chef. Some family recipes include the ever-popular, gnocchi della nonna, potato dumplings in a light tomato sauce, which were inspired by Quirico’s mother. The fresh fish whether it’s halibut, sea bass or local petrale sole, is always a treat, cooked to perfection.
Walking through the gated entry and down the brick walkway, it’s like being transported back to Italy. In the warmer months, diners can enjoy lunch and dinner in the back patio, which is covered in grape vines and wisteria, and surrounded by balustrades that are planted with assorted flowers. In the colder months, customers can enjoy the cozy atmosphere in the dining room, where tables are topped with white linens and fresh flowers. The marble fireplace warms the room, while the sounds of Pavorotti and conversation complete the experience.
Rare to many restaurants, the staff has remained relatively unchanged for the last twenty years. Because of this, the staff’s confidence and experience are reflected in its consistent, quality and friendly service.