From the MarinIJ:
I’ve never tasted a better cauliflower side than the one served alongside a perfectly seared halibut ($18). Roasted chunks of this sometimes bland crucifer were brilliantly combined with a creamy mashed potato and together the two resonated with flavor. On the same plate a sauteed tangy Russian kale added a lighter note that brought the entire plate together – it was perfect.
The food here was good enough for me to overcome the slight pretense and one server’s bad attitude. I’ll be going back. Osteria Stellina (named after the owner’s daughter) is an impressive addition to Point Reyes Station. Not surprisingly it remains true to the community’s strong commitment to keeping it local.
Some quotes from submissions on Yelp, the review site:
Rustic provincial Italian meets Marin’s sensible food practices.
My husband compared the food to Chez Panisse.
i have eaten here 3 times and the food and service are so perfect and amazing i had trouble believing someone could give it a bad review.
… organic, fresh, tasty, creative, and rustic. The service is warm, the menu interesting, and the food yummy.
One of the best meals I’ve had in a long time.
Tasty food using local ingredients – that’s the best of West Marin.
UPDATE on 2009-02-06:The Point Reyes Light reviewed the Osteria Stellina as well and they had good things to say as well:
Just under four months old, Osteria Stellina is already bustling with Point Reyes Station locals and tourists anxious to try Christian Caiazzo’s cuisine… The key to Stellina is simply prepared food that lets flavors shine… The antipasti, or starters, are small plates that are perfect to share. Two of them have become very popular and we’ve had them twice at Stellina. The first, slow cooked octopus ($9), is a tomato-based stew infused with mint and chilies. The small tentacles melt in your mouth and you will most likely want to request another slice of Brickmaiden bread-baked a block away—to soak up the remaining sauce. The second, roasted Brussels sprouts with chestnuts and walnuts ($7), is another favorite. The sprouts are browned until their outer leaves become crisp while leaving the insides juicy and sweet.
Read the entire review from the Point Reyes Light…
UPDATE on 2009-03-18: Good thoughts continue to come in, this time from blogger Original Bliss; she says:
Dinner at Osteria Stellina Restaurant in Point Reyes Station was THE BEST MEAL Jeff and I have ever eaten. And WE know how to eat! Three orgasmic appetizers, a kisk-ass pizza, and the fresh, melt-in-your-mouth black cod dinner with a bottle of wine we brought with us … $84. It is worth the drive and an overnighter JUST to eat there!
UPDATE on 2009-05-11: The SF Chroncile weighs in with a great review:
This quiet West Marin town may be off the fine-dining radar, but Caiazzo’s [the chef] combinations have the same integrity and sensibility as what’s served at restaurants such as Chez Panisse and Zuni Cafe… Caiazzo calls his food “Point Reyes Italian” because of his unwavering commitment to local products… Osteria Stellina is a modest restaurant that evokes the spirit of West Marin. It’s a marvelous way to escape without giving up any big-city sophistication.
UPDATE on 2009-07-11: Stellina goes national with the New York Times:
A pizza ($15) followed: sea salt tomato sauce, broccoli spigariello and fresh mozzarella. The crust was crisp and tender, the greens pleasantly bitter; there were no leftovers… [For dessert, a] ruggedly inviting gingersnap Meyer lemon ice cream sandwich ($6), a sweet tooth’s waking dream.
Photo from the MarinIJ