The Menu for our 26th Annual Tomato Dinners


Tuesday through Friday, September 13-16, 2016

Antipasti:  smaller items, soup, salads
Beefsteak tomato “crudo” with Beldi olives
Sampling of year’s best tomatoes
Salad of tomatoes with opposing characteristics, olive oil, and Black Trifele tomato
Antipasto of Kushi oysters, tomato gelée, sea beans, and fines herbes
Tomato-braised honeycomb tripe with fresh Cannellini beans, hot pepper vinegar, and Parmesan cheese
Charcoal-grilled lamb’s heart with sun-dried tomato pesto, Japanese eggplant, and Pecorino cheese
Tomato and lobster “boudin rouge” with grilled Little Gem lettuce and tomato salsa
Charcoal-grilled pizzette with Eary Girl tomatoes, burrata, and spicy lamb coppa
Polenta-fried green tomatoes and sand dabs with fennel pollen aïoli
Granita of tomato water with razor clams, pickled Jalapeños, fresh coriander, and Sweet Gem tomatoes

Linguine rose with essence of tomato
Ravioli of burrata cheese with fresh tomato salsa, olive oil, and breadcrumbs
Acquerello Carnaroli risotto of concentrated tomatoes with cherry tomato “raisins” and ricotta salata
Spaghetti all’ amatriciana
Pappardelle verde with fresh tomato sugo
Saffron chitarra with tomato-braised sardines, garlic, and hot pepper
Whole grain bigoli with pancetta, spicy tomato ragù, and Borlotti beans

Secondi:  grills, sautés, roasts, and rotisserie
Due of Devil’s Gulch rabbit:  sun-dried tomato-basil-rabbit sausage, and pancetta-wrapped loin
Gratinata of concentrated tomato petals with ricotta salata, fresh Borlotti beans, and soft-herb salad
Roast pigeon with whole grain seeded crostone, Brentwood corn, and tomato mostarda
Tomato-braised beef short ribs with Community Grains yellow dent corn polenta, onion jam, and natural sugo
Spit-roasted tomato-glazed chicken with braised wax beans

Lemon-mascarpone tart with tomato marmalade

more to come . . .
2017-09-12T15:46:33-07:00September 12th, 2016|Coming up..., Events, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Tomato Dinners: What Inspires Us


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

We often hear that Tomato Dinners are the most cherished of our special dinners. After 25 years, we thought perhaps a retrospective might be in order – Oliveto’s Greatest Hits, the Tomato Edition.

We dug into our archives and found plenty of classics. Paul Bertolli’s iconic “12 ways of Looking at Tomatoes” from 2001 included:

… as essence
Timbale of tomatoes and green beans, gelatina of tomato water, herb salad
… as container
Dry Farmed Tomatoes with three stuffings
… as complement
Fresh corn cake with ‘Valencia’ tomato sauce 

It’s spectacular food that’s become part of the canon – and for good reason, too. But food has changed, and creativity remains our ruling ethic and driving force. Chef Jonah and the kitchen want to do things that are truly exciting and new.

So, in the end, these past menus are inspiring Jonah to move past traditional methods and employ more unusual ones. We’ll be:

  • roasting them to raisins for a concentrated tomato risotto;
  • sculpting them into petals for a gratinata; and
  • transmuting them to ice for a savory granita made from tomato water, accompanied by razor clams.

Craziness, right? There will still be plenty of pop gems – the classic spaghetti all’amatriciana will be one. Currently, Chef Jonah is putting the finishing touches on the full menu, which we will send to you very soon.

2017-09-12T15:46:34-07:00September 7th, 2016|Coming up..., Events|0 Comments

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


2015 Tomato Dinner Menu Is Here!!!


We’ve had great tomatoes all season, but this little blast of heat to finish them for our Tomato Dinners this week couldn’t be sweeter. Here you go:

Tomato Dinners 2015

Wednesday, September 16, through Saturday, September 19

Antipasti: smaller items, soups, salads


Tasting of this September’s best tomatoes

Salad of heirloom tomatoes with eggplant crema, Armenian cucumber, Piccolo Fino basil, and Fiore Sardo Pecorino cheese

Crudo of local king salmon with tomato gelée, fresh Cayenne pepper, Brentwood corn, and mint

Millefoglie of Early Girl tomato and salt-roasted beets with burrata cheese

Chilled tomato and shellfish consommé with peeled cherry tomatoes, trout roe, and sea urchin



Sformatino of house-made ricotta cheese with grappa-tomato sugo

‘Otto file’ corn-crusted fried green tomatoes with Georgia white shrimp and shellfish remoulade

Open-faced BLT of house-cured bacon and Early Girl tomatoes, and brioche

Soup: vellutata of roasted heirloom tomatoes and Jimmy Nardello peppers with grilled crostino and garlic oil



Spaghetti all’amatriciana

Ravioli of burrata cheese with chunky tomato sugo

Acquerello Carnaroli rice risotto of Fort Bragg sea urchin, tomato, and green coriander

Radiatore alla trapanese

Potato gnocchi with ragù of Sicilian fennel sausage, tomato, and fennel pollen

Sun-dried tomato pappardelle with “concentrated” cherry tomatoes, Gorgonzola cheese, prosciutto, and walnuts

Red winter wheat penne alla bolognese



Mole of Devil’s Gulch rabbit with Otto File hominy and salsa fresca

Cioppino of chilipepper rock cod, shrimp, squid, clams, and mussels with tomato aïoli and grilled crostino

Bread pudding of tomato, Brentwood corn, summer savory, and Parmesan cheese with arugula salad

Brasato of tomato-glazed pork shank with fresh Cannellini beans and Lacinato kale

Charcoal-grilled pigeon with pancetta-wrapped tomatoes

Charcoal-grilled ribeye with panzanella of tomato, eggplant, and Parmesan cheese; old aceto balsamico



Green tomato-apple tarte Tatin

Hawaiian Pineapple tomato cheesecake

Latticello with Early Girl tomato granita

Medley of tomato sorbetti

Bittersweet chocolate cake with Sungold tomato caramel and vanilla bean ice cream


Dirty Girl will be providing us with its dry-farmed Early Girls; Riverdog and Full Belly with cherry tomatoes and heirlooms like German Red Strawberry tomatoes. Other interesting varieties will be procured from Martin Bournhonesque, Blue Egg, and Catalan Farms.


2017-09-12T15:46:52-07:00September 14th, 2015|2015, Events, Happened already..., Uncategorized|0 Comments

It Begins — Tomato Dinner Prep


Wednesday, September 16th to Saturday, September 19th

Between now and the end of Tomato Dinners we will prepare thousands of pounds of tomatoes – for sauces, ragus, gelées, waters, braises, frites, gratinsconservas, and just sliced.  Until we have the menu for you on Monday, here are some past memories:

  • Crudo of local king salmon with tomato-water gelée, dill pollen, and nectarine
  • Fried green tomatoes with lobster remoulade
  • Tortelli di pomodoro with garlic crema and rosemary crumbs
  • Charcoal-grilled sun-dried tomato-stuffed pork porterhouse with pancetta– wrapped dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes, Floriani red flint corn polenta, and salmoriglio
  • Gratinata of braised San Marzano tomatoes with Gigande beans, pork skin, and garlic sausage
  • Cioppino of Chilipepper rock cod with heirloom tomatoes
  • Jonathan apple-green tomato tarteTatin with crème fraîche

We’re getting hungry over here. Our Tomato Dinners are from Wednesday, September 16th through Saturday, September 19th.

Reservations are starting to fill up! To get a good time, reserve now.

2017-09-12T15:46:52-07:00September 10th, 2015|2015, Happened already...|0 Comments

Preparing for Tomato Dinners


Almost ripe.

 September 16th – 19th, 2015

As our kitchen begins to fill up with Dirty Girl tomatoes, chef Jonah’s mind begins to fill with big ideas for our upcoming Tomato Dinner menu.

One dish we’re particularly excited about is rabbit mole with San Marzano tomatoes, served with Brentwood corn and gigande beans. Jonah’s going to experiment with making an accompanying posole using whole kernels of Community Grains’s red flint corn – what we use regularly in our downstairs cafe for our polenta.

Reservations are starting to fill up! To ensure your desired time, reserve now.

2017-09-12T15:46:53-07:00September 3rd, 2015|2015, Coming up...|0 Comments

Announcing Tomato Dinners


 September 16th-19th, 2015

It is the height of summer to us when our kitchen is packed with Purple Cherokees, laden with Lemon Boys, brimming with Brandywines, mad with Marvel Stripes, besieged with Big Boys, seething with Sun Golds, engulfed in Early Girls, girded with Green Zebras, and submerged in Sweet 100s. In other words, it’s the height of summer when our kitchen is teeming with tomatoes for our Tomato Dinners, which feature the best tomatoes of the season, in as many dishes as we can think up.

Our marvelous Tomato Dinners are from Wednesday September 16th through Saturday the 19th.

Let the tide of tomatoes begin!

2017-09-12T15:46:53-07:00August 26th, 2015|Coming up..., Events|0 Comments

Late Season Tomato Dinners: September 23–26


Tuesday, September 23 through Friday, September 26

It’s turned out to be another one of those years, where the Tomato Dinners have come and gone and a month later the tomatoes are still going and going, and we feel inclined to do it all over again. So…we are.

This time around it will be a bit more contained: a six-course prix fixe offering to celebrate the latter half of this year’s tomato bumper crop and highlight some of our favorite varieties. The menu has yet to be finalized but will look something like this:

Salad of heirloom tomato and melon with anise hyssop, crème fraîche and pink peppercorn


Rigatoni with fontina Val D’Aosta, Early Girl tomato and breadcrumbs


Tortellini of smoked tomato conserva with roasted poultry brodo

Tomato-poached petrale sole with Butter beans, lipstick peppers, and lemon agrumato (vegetarian option available)

Charcoal-grilled pigeon with slow-roasted Early Girl tomato, lacinato kale and salsa rosa


Black pepper cannoli with house-made ricotta, Parmesan cheese, Early Girl tomato and basil pesto


Buttermilk panna cotta with melon granita, Early Girl tomato coulis, and candied Sungold tomato


$65 per person

Please join us!

2017-09-12T15:47:14-07:00September 8th, 2014|2014, Events, Happened already...|0 Comments

2014 Tomato Dinners Starting Line-Up


This year’s tomato tasting platter features some of our favorite varieties of the season. Of note, those little Sungold sugar bombs are coming from a farm that is new to the 2014 tomato roster: Blue Egg Farm, a one-acre operation in Orinda. This is the first time a cherry tomato has ever appeared on the Oliveto tasting platter, but these are some of the best we’ve every tasted.

Not pictured but also of note and cause for celebration: the first official crop of Dirty Girls has arrived! This is an open-pollinated version of the Early Girl hybrid variety, painstakingly bred over the last five years by Joe Schirmer at Dirty Girl Produce in Santa Cruz. We are so excited to get a few prized flats of these extraordinary tomatoes and include them on the 2014 tasting platter.

See the 2014 Tomato Dinners Menu

Reservations still available. Please join us!

2017-09-12T15:47:15-07:00August 28th, 2014|2014, Events, Happened already...|0 Comments

2014 Tomato Dinners August 26 – 29


Tuesday, August 26th through Friday, August 29th


Antipasti: smaller items, soup, salad . . .
Tasting of tomatoes with fleur de sel and Mosto Oro olive oil

Conserva of smoked local albacore with Green Zebra tomato “mousse,” Piccolo Fino
basil, and olive oil

Crudo of kanpachi and dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes, lemon agrumato, Castelvetrano
olives, and mint

Terrina of pigeon with tomato mostarda, frisée, and crostino

Due of gazpachos with Jalapeño oil and basil

Fried green tomatoes with New England lobster and lobster remoulade

Charcoal-grilled flatbread of burrata with tomato, garlic, basil, and olive oil

Charcoal-grilled sausage of sun-dried tomatoes with Cranberry beans, pork skin, and
Calabrian chili

Soup: vellutata of smoked, dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes

Bucatini allamatriciana

Spaghetti with pork polpette, tomato sugo, and Parmesan cheese

Linguine with crudo of tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil

Pappardelle rose with tomato-braised oxtail and Pecorino cheese (more…)

2017-09-12T15:47:19-07:00July 7th, 2014|2014, Events, Happened already...|0 Comments
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