Being born into a family with Sicilian heritage meant homemade Italian food was lovingly crafted from recipes handed down from generation to generation. If you don't believe me, check out cousin Antoinine's cookbook and YouTube Channel Simply Sicilian!
The problem with this it that you come to expect all lasagna noodles to be paper thin and that meatballs will melt in your mouth.
Then you go to popular, well liked, even famous chef run Italian restaurants and end up being sorely disappointed when the food hits your palette only to realize it can not compare to what your Grandmother, Mother, Aunts and Cousins serve.
I won't name names but a very popular Top Chef contestant's Italian restaurant once served my meal cold!
Could any Italian restaurant meet my expectations?
A few months back I saw a repeat of the Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives featuring Geyserville CA's Catelli's restaurant. As I watched the episode I could not help but think that maybe this was an Italian restaurant that could live up to my Sicilian bloodline.
Catelli's is about an hour and forty-five minutes north of San Francisco on the 101 in the very small town of Geyserville. The restaurant that has been in the family since 1936 is now run by the sister and brother duo of Domenica and Nicholas Catelli and features three generations of Catelli family recipes.
I ordered the homemade lasagna as soon as I read the description said "10 paper thin layers."
As my own "amuse-bouche" the waiter let me order a single of Jack's Meatball Sliders just so that I could try the meatballs that were featured on the episode of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. While tasty, I have to say Grandma Jennie's meatball recipe is better.
Then the lasagna arrived. I was giddy with excitement as I cut through the ten layers of paper thin noodles. I was overjoyed when the lasagna melted in my mouth just like our family recipe! Finally an Italian restaurant that got it right!
If you are in the Bay Area and want to take a nice drive up the 101 for a great Italian meal then I highly recommend Catelli's. It's so good even Lady Gaga made the trek to Geyserville back in February and ate at Catelli's! You wont be disappointed.