800 Redwood Hwy # 705, Strawberry Village, Mill Valley, 415-383-0600
Tim Stannard is known for some outstanding upscale eateries, Spruce and the Village Pub for two, and the new Café Des Amis in the city. But then he teamed up with veteran chef Gordon Drysdale, whose resumé includes Bix and Gordon’s House of Fine Eats.
Their idea was artisanal pizza in a kid-friendly environment that would also appeal to their parents, with good glasses of wine (20 wines by the glass alone), candles in Chianti bottles and lots of sophisticated side dishes and appetizers. Kids do get crayons, while the wine list has selections from both sides of the Atlantic that will please any oenophile.
Someone who likes the fresh air, when the weather is sunny, will appreciate sitting outside, where it is also quieter. Kids cannot contain their exuberance for the pizza and going out with the grown-ups.
Must-tries include the bargain-priced mussels ($8.95) flavored with saffron, bay leaf and wine, plus a creative antipasti of young vegetables, with housemade mozzarella ($8.75) and four interesting salads.
There are four pastas and four meats: chicken, pork, lamb and beef. What could be smarter – do less and do it right.
Is it any wonder they are in Mill Valley, Lafayette, San Jose and Santa Monica?
According to Drysdale, they want to open more spaces in Southern California.
It’s rustic, with very high ceilings and lots of hard surfaces, making the interior at times very noisy.
The list includes 20 wines by the glass, 50 bottles concentrating on Italy and California, especially Italian varietals.
Meat, pastas and pizzas.
A must-try is hazelnut semifreddo with dark roast mocha drizzle, or the vanilla bean panna cotta with blackberry sauce and (my favorite) warm walnut cake with brown sugar bananas. Priced $4.95 to $6.95.
A small pizza is $9.50 and a large starts at $14.50, plus added charges for more toppings, which can make a pizza much more than other pizza places.
Interior can get very loud.