Written By Lio Rowan (Features Writer)
Ristorante Casa Nostra in Ben Lomand is an exciting Italian restaurant that opened in 2012. The striking redwoods that surrounded the place gave it an air of privacy and an almost cozy winter feeling. We walked up the wheelchair-accessible ramp and found beautiful planters around the entrance, and beautiful lights lighting our way. While walking in we were hit with a blast of seasoned warmth. They immediately sat us down at a wooden table by the window. Outside we saw other people sitting around tables. The paintings and photography spread throughout the restaurant were beautiful, and interesting enough to carry an entire conversation.
The appetizers came quickly, and the bread was soft and warm. It came with a dish filled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. A classic you can expect from any Italian restaurant. Our waitress was lovely. She had a good attitude and seemed to be on top of all her customers. She had a smile the whole time and we tipped graciously. They split a dish of spaghetti for the kids, making the night easier for everyone. The wait wasn’t bad at all and we were kept entertained by the music and scenery. “The food was excellent, and my fish was cooked perfectly,” Says a customer who’s been going to this restaurant since before it became known as Casa Nostra. Personally, I found my meal to be a bit too spicy, but the others at my table all just laughed because it was made perfectly. The adults had fish and potatoes, both were plated beautifully, and added to the ambiance of the restaurant. The noise wasn’t bad considering how many people were there, and the layout of the restaurant made it easy to maintain social distancing as long as you stayed in the main dining hall. They had a taproom when you walked in, long bar stools and tables filled with people enjoying their drinks. The warmth inside was definitely worth noting, a cold, cold evening met by a cozy dining experience, it made the night better and more comfortable. Even the outside has heaters and covered dining, enough to seat a party of people. So it’s definitely welcome to large groups of people.
Their breakfast menu is filled with fresh eggs, pancakes, french toast, and even frittatas. They offer vegetarian options and even serve coffee and lattes on Saturdays and Sundays from 8:30 AM to 1 PM. They have egg benedicts and fruit bowls, and even breakfast cocktails. Lunch at Casa Nostra is served every day, from 11 AM to 4 PM. They offer a variety of favorites and some casa nostra originals as well. They have over five different salad options, paninis, and of course, pasta. They even have a dessert menu with creme brulee and panna cotta as just two of the options. At four PM they start serving dinner, with all kinds of pasta, salads, and fish. They offer excellent desserts, as well as a wonderful wine listing for the adults. Overall a wonderful menu with many options, so everyone can come and find something they love. Just make sure it’s not too spicy!