We heard good things about this place long before we went. Last weekend we decided to take a trip from Angels Camp to the Calaveras Big Tree State Park to see the Sequoias. Therefore, we planned to stop for dinner at Sarafina's. We tried to make reservations, but they were booked until 8:30. After touring the State Park, we opted to stop by Sarafina's just before they opened at 5pm. We were sitting in the car at about 4:45 when we were told by a friend of the staff to go in and sit at the bar to see if we could get a table at 5.
However, once we sat at the bar and got a glass of wine, we decided to stay right there and have dinner. We love watching the chefs prepare meals, so this was a perfect seat for us. The waitresses frequently had conversations with us which was great! The atmosphere inside the restaurant in rustic elegance. Beautiful...
Sarafina's features a lot of local wines and even makes suggestions as to what pairs best with each dish. Very nice touch.
Now for the food:
We have traveled to Europe of more than one occasion and have dined at awesome Italian restaurants while in Italy (specifically Rome). Sarafina's reminds both the wife and I of the best restaurant we ever had Italian at IN ITALY!.
Fresh ingredients, simply made with love and tenderness. Our appetizer, Calamari, was lightly breaded and cooked to perfection. There was plenty of Calamari as evidenced by the photo attached. The wife had Shrimp Mediterraneo and raved about it to everyone. She said that you could taste every ingredient individually and nothing was overwhelmed by anything in the dish. The pasta was perfect along with the prawns and veggies. All they had to do was mention that the Lasagna was one of the specials of the night, and I was "in". A nice large portion was presented to me and I had a hard time holding myself back from devouring the entire dish. After the Calamari, a fresh salad and then the Lasagna, I was stuffed before I could finish. But, it made for a great lunch the following day for both of us.
Dessert- Yummy. Our waitress told us that they were known for their Bananas Foster. No kidding! It was wonderful. We opted for the vanilla ice cream as well and waddled out of the place.
I recommend that anyone craving Italian food within 50 miles of this place should make a reservation (early) and GO. It is obvious everyone working here loves this place and it is featured in Food Magazines more than once a year. Something to be said for that since most restaurants TRY hard to get featured in ANY food magazine. Kudo's to Sarafina's for giving us a very memorable meal.
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