Welcome to Santina, a vibrant place where at least a hundred people are having dinner tonight. Well lit, decorated with colored glass chandeliers from Modena, wood floor, a lively bar, street food style terrace... the place is alive with the sounds of action, people chitchatting, smiling faces... in a simple yet beautifully decorated space.
We arrived at 9:30pm and had to wait for some time before finding a table. I was happy to enjoy simply being in the place, its orange colors, Italian flag on the wall and the five chandeliers - the restaurant's signature. I believe the photos speak for themselves.
On the menu:
- Tuscan chickpea pancakes
- Fish tartar and seafood starters
- Raw seasonal vegetables
- Vegetables and fish section
- Maiale (Pork section)
- Rice and pasta
Despite our reservation being at 09:15pm, 45 minutes later... we were finally seated!
I like the table setup. A table napkin arranged creatively in a tight swirl and served on one of their colorful plates - which are handmade in Italy - candles in blue cups, a special green sauce and another black one which I'll be tasting later on. The table is made of white marble and surrounded by sofas and designer chairs. Complementary of the chef because of our having to wait, we received the "Cecila" which are chickpea pancakes with fresh mushrooms and avocado on the side. Thin and soft pancakes - more like crepes - served with thinly sliced large mushrooms, avocado, almonds and garlic mix on the side. Didn't notice the chickpeas much but liked the idea.
Drinks ordered: Manganelli punch containing tequila, banana, pineapple and cinnamon. A special drink served in a special covered porcelain container with a straw.
Dinner is served:
- Tuna salad: a round plate of thinly sliced tuna like a carpaccio on one side and a mountain of red cabbage on the other, all covered with shiny olive oil. I loved the olives, the raisins, the sauce, the tuna quality and crunchy cabbage.
- Octopus: two skewers with chunks of octopus and others with eggplant are grilled together. Extremely spicy but really really good! Amazing quality octopus, soft eggplant and a special sweet sauce that's flavorful and spicy at the same time.
- Calamari and wild rice with cherry tomatoes served in a clay pot: this salad is served warm, contains rice, cooked al-dente, lots of lemon juice and olive oil, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers mixed with tender calamari. Yummy!
Delicious appetizers. It's now time for the main plates:
- Tortellini with ricotta and tomato sauce, spaghetti with blue crab and cherry tomatoe, fusilli with merguez and mussels... bravo, bravo, bravo. Super colorful and beautifully presented plates filled with pasta cooked al dente and mixed with the right amount of sauce and the right amount of olive oil. I loved the mussel pasta, enjoyed the tortellini and simply adored the spaghetti. Everything is well spiced and add value to the plates.
- And the last one; grilled Orata fish served with heart of palm and grapefruit. The taste of the grilling, the juiciness of the fish, the sauce, the crunchy heart of palm. The plate is good, it's really really good!
Awesome flavors, delicious food but average desserts: chocolate mousse in a cup, three colored cannoli and a meringue mountain. Good quality of ingredients but nothing memorably exceptional or delicious.
Enjoyed the place despite the noise and dim lighting. Loved the food, good service and vibes. I will recommend this place to my friends and will surely come back for another experience.