Montecatini Ristorante is one of the rare food establishments that has hung around through Walnut Creek’s renaissance as an expensive, fine-dining mecca in the Bay Area. They recently celebrated their 30th anniversary (funny enough, they opened about 5 minutes before the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989!).
Over the years, it has been one of my favorite go-to places for a special occasion. This year, a friend took me to dinner for my birthday. We were planning on sitting at the bar. However, when we got there at 6:00 pm the bar was packed and only a few tables were available. We waited for 15 minutes and the maître d’ sat us at a table in the bar area. It was so interesting – at 7:00 the bar was empty. Then, within 15 minutes, it was full again! Apparently people come in dinner shifts (one around 6 pm and one around 7 pm).
We started off with a bowl of clams. Oops, I forgot to take a picture, but it is one of my favorite dishes. The broth of butter, garlic and delicious juices is to die for, especially good when you soak it up with their bread. We then each had a half order of pasta. Mine was the tortellini al a panna – very rich, but soooo good. And Teresa’s was simply a tomato and basil sauce. I am not used to eating such rich food, but it was a nice splurge.
Italian food is plentiful in the Bay Area, and especially around Walnut Creek. But if you want one that has stood the test of time, you have to check out Montecatini on Civic, near the corner of N. Main St. It never disappoints!