I don’t get the chance to do repeat dining at a lot of restaurants while in search of new experiences, but I happened to hit up Santa Rosa Seafood’s cafe the other day while searching for the ultimate oyster.
It was bittersweet, having last been there tasting oysters with former owner Mike Svedise who died unexpectedly in 2017. His presence still looms large.
I was really impressed, however, to see that the small cafe that shares the building with the retail seafood store is every bit as awesome as when it opened several years ago.
It’s really not much to look at, and parking is dicey, but fresh ahi poke is so good that they put the sauce — a smoky sesame oil or spicy mayo — on the side.
Truthfully, it’s almost a shame to cover it up. The fish and chips are outstanding, as is the cioppino and the fresh oysters. The only thing missing was Mike, a bottle of vodka and a little hot sauce to wash it all down.
946 Santa Rosa Ave., Santa Rosa, 707-579-2085, sanfranciscocrabshipping.com.