If you’ve spent time in Half Moon Bay, you probably know Cetrella restaurant, a fixture on Main Street since 2001.
Now, its Mediterranean-Californian seafood dishes have been transported to the Peninsula with the debut of a new sister Cetrella — on Main Street again, but in downtown Los Altos.
The new restaurant, which opened in August, features an open kitchen, and a long dining room done up with a mural of tree-studded foothills. With a lot of hard surfaces, just note that the restaurant can get a little loud when it’s full, especially if there are larger parties around you.
The menus at both locations have been revamped with the arrival of new Executive Chef Mike Ellis, who spent many years in the kitchen of celeb Chef Charlie Palmer. Most notably, he was sous chef to then-Executive Chef Michael Voltaggio (winner of “Top Chef” Season Six) at Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg. When Voltaggio departed, Ellis took over as executive chef.
He’s developed a sophisticated, yet comfortably accessible menu to Los Altos, as I experienced a couple of weeks ago at dinner with two friends. Although we paid our tab, Ellis sent out a couple extra dishes he wanted us to try.
Since we were celebrating a friend’s birthday, a cocktail was definitely in order. The “Foothill Collins” ($13) put a festive touch on the evening with its blend of gin, lemon, simple syrup, fresh basil and muddled blueberries. The blueberry taste was fairly subtle with the botanical taste of the gin more prominent, which allowed the drink to be enjoyed throughout the meal without overwhelming everything else.