26th annual tomato dinners to begin September 13

26th Annual Tomato Dinners
Tuesday through Friday, September 13-16, 2016

The late date for this year’s Tomato Dinners (we sometimes hold the event in August) is a result of 2016’s having been a bit cooler than normal.  Chef Jonah says that the same moderate weather that made for our best beef ever, has caused a slightly late ripening date for certain varieties of northern California’s tomatoes (not that we haven’t had fabulous dry-farmed Early Girls and terrific Sungolds and cherries already).

So mid-September bodes best for the over-all peak in ripe-tomato availability, and promises the best selection from our long-time friends at Dirty Girl, Riverdog, Full Belly, Blue Egg, et al.

Solanum lycopersicum – our beloved tomato, an edible nightshade berry which grows on a vine – has a long, complicated history. The subject of much debate since the Spanish found tomatoes being cultivated in southern Mexico (after having been brought from the Andes where they first grew, tiny and wild), it took the tomato centuries to be eaten widely in Europe as they were assumed to be poisonous.  But over the years the tomato has become ubiquitous in myriad cuisines, and now, oddly, the world’s greatest producer of tomatoes is, by far, China.

As Chef Jonah Rhodehamel finds out which tomatoes, specifically, will be among those he chooses for our event, we’ll post particulars about our menu offerings on the Oliveto website.

reserve online or call (510) 547-5356


Crazy Good Lamb

Photo courtesy of Magruder Ranch.

We’re continuing to go through the two ethically-raised, grass-fed lamb that we received last week. Look for juicy, earthy roasts and sausages through the week and weekend! We look forward to seeing you for a glass of wine and a leisurely summer evening.

Summer Hotties

The summer is allowing us to perform wonders.

  • Chef Jonah’s taking pigeon and baking it in salt, pairing it with farro, glossy roasted figs, Bianco di Maggio onions agrodolce, and poultry sugo.

Peppers are spiking the menu:

  • we’re serving a summer tortelloni of house-made ricotta with Brentwood corn, blistered Padrón peppers, and mint;
  • sweet Jimmy Nardellos are accompanying a salad of guanciale and and Charentais melon

We also have lamb! Magruder’s gracing us with two.

  • We’ll have leg of lamb this weekend, and chops the next week.

We hope to see you for a glass of rose, a contorno of garlic-roasted Padrón peppers, and a dish of succulent lamb.

This Just In: The First Killer Tomatoes

Sungold tomatoes are a deep orange and decidedly sweet!

We are so passionate about tomatoes that we try only to feature them when they’re seriously good, and so we’ve been impatiently waiting for them to stun us. We pounced when we found these, from Oya Organics, at last Tuesday’s South Berkeley market.

Oya Organics is a small farm out of Hollister owned by Marsha Habib. Its tomatoes are everything tomatoes should be — succulent and sweet but not too sweet. Sungolds do well at Oya, and they are gracing our crudo of local albacore, avocado, Cherry Bomb peppers, and basil.

Chef Jonah is really on a roll — there’s so much on the menu to bowl you over these days:

  • Salad of grilled Blossom Bluff stone fruit with house-cured guanciale, dill goat’s milk kefir, house-made Santa Rosa plum vinegar, and cured egg yolk
  • Tortelloni of house-made ricotta with Brentwood corn, fines herbes, cured egg yolk, and squash blossoms
  • Charcoal-grilled Paine Farm pigeon and boudin with braised radicchio, malted wheat berries, fig mostarda, and sugo

It’s a great time to come in.

Of course, with the first really good tomatoes, we’re thinking about our annual Tomato Dinners — dates coming soon.

This Just In: Salumi

We’re particularly excited about our cured meats these days. We’ve done salumi for years – before it became commonplace for local restaurants to have them – but while there’s lots of it around, it can be hard to find it made really well.  Our current selection is particularly nice. Chef Jonah chose the pig himself on a farm tour through the southern midwest, where he stopped in at The Good Farm, a diverse farm in Topeka, Kansas, that specializes in heritage pigs prized in restaurants coast to coast. Looking for sizable hams and a decent amount of fat – though not too much – he chose an Old Spot, a historic breed from Gloucestershire, England.

The coppa he made from its whole muscles have been cured over the last 5-6 weeks, so it’s young and sweet – allowing you to taste more of the meat flavor. For comparison, the 24-month prosciutto we will be serving alongside has the consistency and flavor of cheese – rich and porky. Jonah finishes the platter with some swordfish, cured and smoked, and toscano, rustica, finocchiona, and morcilla; ciappa with lardo.

Stop on in. We’ll be having this salumi plate for some time, though the 24-month prosciutto will only be available for a short while.

This Just In: Crab

FV Two Sisters, a crab boat off the Oregon coast. Photo courtesy of OCVA via Flickr-Creative Commons

 The Oregon Dungeness crab season is now underway, not being as hard hit as our own local fishery. Ours comes courtesy of Monterey Fish Market, and we’re folding it into a tantalizing house-made linguine with tarragon and bergamot crema. We’ll have it through the weekend or until we run out, so come in soon to enjoy!

Sunday Farmhouse Supper, January 24, 2016


photo courtesy of Francesca Cappa (Flickr/Creative Commons)


Crostino of house-made ricotta with walnut töcco di noci

Cioppino of clams, mussels, and monkfish with saffron aïoli and grilled bread

Apple galette with crème fraîche ice cream


Prix fixe 40.

Served family-style. For parties of one to twelve. The whole table must order the prix fixe menu.

(Please note that wine and service charge are not included.)

call 510-547-5356 or reserve online

Larger parties: please let us know at the time of your reservation if your table will be ordering the Sunday Supper menu so that we can plan accordingly. Thanks!

Upstairs: Ribollita



Finding ourselves in a bowl of soup.

In Oliveto’s early days, we thought deeply about what an Italian restaurant in America could do – and we found the answer in ribollita, a peasant dish of vegetable soup made hearty with bread. It is nothing fancy and very good. When we serve it, we’re making something dear to us, that expresses who we are.

Ours is not a typical ribollita. It takes its inspiration from the internationally-recognized restaurant Da Delfina, in the hillside town of Artemino, outside of Florence. It’s the kind of place where one might still find buckshot in a dish of grilled pigeon, and it’s no coincidence that Delfina in the Mission christened itself after the same place.

Ribollita is usually made in home kitchens with ingredients one has on hand, and ours is admittedly a bit more lavish. Acme Bakery bread is toasted and added to a vegetable minestraand the whole is seared for extra texture and depth of flavor. A shower of Parmesan, a delicately poached egg, and extra virgin olive oil from Dickson Ranch top it off. Warm and cozy, a bowl of it puts one at ease after a cold day.

Come and try it, and allow us to show you what we truly love. It will be on the menu for a while.

Reserve Now

2017-09-12T15:46:43-07:00January 21st, 2016|Coming up..., Kitchen Notes, This Just In|0 Comments

In the Downstairs Rosticceria: Lasagne alla Bolognese

IMG_1575 (1)

This is not your mother’s lasagne – unless your mother uses thin, delicate sheets of handmade pasta, makes bolognese out of grass-fed Magruder beef, avoids the skim-milk mozzarella, and goes for a snowy drift of Parmesan. We do use a touch of béchamel here, but only to complement the rich, sweet notes of our sumptuously meaty bolognese sauce.

In short, this is a traditional lasagne alla bolognese, and if you’ve mainly been treated to American-style ones prepared with a heavy hand, ours is an eye-opener.

We’re glad to have a rosticceria downstairs that can put our expertise – and our pasta – to such good use.

We think our rosticceria menu is worthy of your home and have made it easy to order for takeout. You can order online or through our mobile app and receive a 20% discount on your first order.

To download our mobile app:
text “oliveto” to “33733”

Our rosticceria menu is available during evening service in the cafe.

Upstairs: Bollito Misto

piedmont-winter-Irene Grassi-flickr-cc

Photo by Irene Grassi/Flicker/Creative Commons

In the restaurant, we’re making a classic bollito misto through the weekend.

A northern Italian stew whose name translates to “mixed boil”, bollito misto is an example of how even the simplest preparations can be wholly sublime. Magruder beef tongue and shank are simmered alongside soft, spicy, housemade cotechino until all the meets can be cut with a spoon and the broth becomes an elixir against the cold. Root vegetables accompany.

It sounds mundane. It most certainly isn’t. It is a darling of winter, a snuggle in a dish.

Reserve Now

2017-09-12T15:46:45-07:00December 8th, 2015|Coming up..., Kitchen Notes, This Just In|0 Comments
Go to Top