Santa Rosa, April 24, 2014—THIS DATELINE DOESN'T turn up that often. Santa Rosa's our local provincial capital, the county seat of our Sonoma county, a bustling center boasting 170,000 souls — but we don't get into town for dining that often. Healdsburg is much tinier, not even 12,000; but as a tourist town it's managed to develop a much better-known restaurant scene.
And it's probably too bad: I'm sure there are a few Santa Rosa restaurants we should get to know better. Well, anyhow, tonight we were dining with a dear friend recovering from a painful loss, and we went to a known quantity, a local white-tablecloth Italian restaurant we've been to before with her, in happier days; and it was gracious, comfortable, quiet enough to talk, completely pleasant.
The dining rooms are in the ground floor of a stately old quasi-Victorian house that must be a century old. The ceilings are high, and the walls are covered with quiet, bucolic murals. There's a fine cozy little bar, but we went straight to our table, in a bow window looking out onto rosebushes.
Lindsey and I began by sharing a Caesar salad, only slightly below the mark, and a vitello tonnato, quite nice. I went on to this spaghetti alla carbonara. I was hungry after a day's work, and needed a bit more protein, so gladly dug into my third of a plate of fine tiramisu and panna cotta. I know we'll be back.
Gavi, Villa Sparina, 2011 (very nice, crisp, good flavor and acid); rosato, Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo, Cantina Zaccagnini, 2011 (bone-dry, light, pleasant)• Ca'Bianca, 835 2nd St, Santa Rosa, California; (707) 542-5800