C’era Una Volta translated means “Once Upon a Time…” Just like the beginning of a good story.
For ten years, owners Rudy Durán and Cheryl Principato have been telling their story of Italian tradition through the sharing of traditional Tuscan dishes, an extensive selection of wines, and warm hospitality.
Nestled in the back of Redwood Square, C’era Una Volta offers something for everybody. They serve a great Panini (those wonderfully tasty Italian sandwiches you find in any caffe, autogrill or trattoria throughout Italy), delectable brunches, world-class coffee and cappuccino, exceptional crepes and frittatas that are a great representation of Rudy’s hometown of Livorno, and a wonderful selection of classic pasta dishes and traditional Italian entrees.
But the overall mission of C’era Una Volta is demonstrated in the way Chef Rudy’s presentation of food and wine offers evening diners an avenue toward experiencing European dining and, more specifically, the “terroir” of Italy.
Terroir can be loosely translated as “a sense of place.” Vintners interpret terroir by choosing grapes grown in specific areas or appellations. But contemporary chefs like Chef Rudy take this concept a step further by pairing recipes with the wines of a region, ultimately aiming to transport the diner to that unique “sense of place.”
The Slow Food organization is a perfect representation of high regard for terroir. Slow Food advocates respect the origins of foods, the cultural preparation of foods, and the sense of community that accompanies these tenets. Chef Rudy became a member of the original Italian division of Slow Food in 1990 and joined the Alameda convivium at its inception in 2008.
But one accolade that truly sets C’era Una Volta apart from many Bay Area Italian restaurants is the attention given by Accademia Italiana della Cucina, an official cultural institution of the Italian government. Delegates from this organization visit Italian restaurants throughout the world to verify their authenticity and award their seal of approval based on the 6-course dinner they receive. Since opening their doors in 2004, C’era Una Volta has received this prestigious honor of recognition on five occasions.
These affiliations, along with Rudy’s great passion for wine and food, lends to his talent in the pairing of wine with cuisine. To experience this yourself, try a personally customized “Chef’s Dinner” or attend a wine dinner — some feature Italian wineries, while others spotlight local winemakers.
So whether you have yet to visit or simply would like to reacquaint yourself, there are two sure ways to enjoy the cultural style of Alameda’s favorite Italian restaurant:
- Dine there and experience the charming ambiance and cuisine — it’s just like being in Italy!
- Sit at the Wine Bar to explore the wines of Italy, and beyond. (Chef Rudy and Cheryl are also both members of the North American Sommelier Association.)
For a complete tasting, try a Wine Flight Expedition along with Chef Rudy’s recommended food pairings offered both a la carte or as a 3-course fixed price menu – prezzo fisso in Italiano!
C’era Una Volta is also committed to the Alameda community. They proudly sponsor community organizations, nonprofits, events, and activities as well as showcase local talent by hosting area artists and musicians.
The moral of this story: Visit C’era Una Volta and see why this neighborhood gem has been voted “Alameda’s Best Restaurant.” It could be the beginning of a new tradition all your own.
C’era Una Volta
1332 Park Street (in Redwood Square)
Phone: (510) 769-4828
Open: Tuesday thru Sunday
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Valentines Day is a special night in Alameda’s historic downtown district. Make plans to share the evening with your “sweetheart” at one of our many restaurants. For more culinary ideas, visit our website: http://shopparkstreet.com/food.html
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