Santa Trata

Local restaurant sniffers found the newly-opened Santa Trata in record time. In fact, most of us have been watching the spot next to Pho Vietnam like hawks since the short-lived (but well-liked) Real Gyro/Cafe Cabano mysteriously vanished, much to our dolmas and lamb-eating horror.

As of late November, however, the kitchen is back in business, this time Eritrean-style. (Think Reuben in ‘Along Came Polly’)

Shorthanded (if you’re not up on your romantic comedies), Eritrean is a spicy, earthy, stew-ish African cuisine that’s eaten without utensils. Instead beef, lentils, chicken and veggies are scooped up with giant pieces of injera (a plate-sized, tart crepe/pancake).

Did I mention it was spicy? Soul-weepingly. For you heat hounds, however, Santa Trata stays well over on the reasonable side of the Holy-Crap-That’s-Hot Index.

What to eat: Best bets are the spicy beef (tongue-tingling), lentils and spinach. Don’t look for them on the menu, however, because so far, there isn’t one. Rather, a tasty display plate on the counter with the day’s specials. Point to what looks tasty.

Lunch is $8.99 for two specials, plus injera and salad. Eating with your fingers: priceless.

Santa Trata Eritrean Cafe: 711 Stony Point Road, Santa Rosa, 707.575.8792

Stay tuned: Panettone and more next week.

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Editor’s Note: Travel, dining and wine tasting can be complicated right now. Use our inspirational ideas to plan ahead for your next outing, be it this week or next year. If you visit restaurants, wineries, and other businesses during the pandemic, remember to call ahead, make reservations, wear a mask and social distance.

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