Cristina’s was opened in 1993 by Cristina Cook, 5 years after she moved here from Italy. She has written 2 cookbooks. The place is open for breakfast, lunch and brunch and is using their large outdoor seating area rather than the interior. You enter into the small salmon colored house to find a counter filled with sweet and savory foods which are available for purchase. There were a couple room inside but outside they have a large tent complete with chandeliers over the wood deck and individual tables with umbrellas on the lawns around the house. The white cloth covered tables were well spaced and set with white cloth napkins. Lots of plants and flowers surround the diners. No music is in the background. The small menu has the daily specials written in. Chef Cook was in the kitchen but she never came out to greet guests. Seating was only by reservation or waiting a couple hours. Servers wore masks, were friendly and all seemed to work together to take care of the tables.
The bread basket was first and filled with housemade options. One piece was topped with cherries and another with artichokes and cheese along with white and brown breads. The brown bread was slightly sweet and topped with oats and included some nuts. The white was nicely doughy with good crust. The flavor topped pieces were the standouts, but all were nice.
We started by splitting the picante stuffed banana pepper. It was stuffed with Italian sausage, topped with pecorino romano and surrounded by passata di pomidoro (tomato sauce). The tasty sausage was delicious combined with the pepper, which was not that spicy. The tomato sauce was freshly made and really good. The cheese was nicely flavorful and the whole combination was wonderful. This one was really delicious.
We split the daily special salad of arugula, fennel, citrus segments and hazelnuts. It was supposed to have a citrus vinaigrette but unfortunately they forgot to dress ours. They were nice enough to split it into 2 plates in the kitchen but then forgot to dress it. The table had a container of olive oil and a balsamic vinegar along with salt and pepper so we dressed out own. I know it wasn’t as good as what they would have done but it was still tasty. The arugula was fresh and tender and the citrus and fennel also tasty.
The daily special pizza was topped with red sauce, artichoke hearts, Italian sausage, red onions and white cheddar. It was a thin crust pizza that stayed crisp. The Italian sausage was crumbled and the artichokes pieces from small ones. It was not spicy but screamed with flavor. As the meal went on the center did finally get soft but it was an excellent mix of ingredients on a tasty bread.
The Angel hair pasta was served with lobster, green onion, Bordelaise sauce and parmesan. It had tons of lobster pieces, both from the body and claws. A large piece was on top but the pasta was studded with bits of sweet chewy meat. Some extra cheese was around the edge of the bowl and it really added to the flavor of the dish. It needed a bit of salt and the sauce could have had more flavor but overall it was simple and very good.
There was no dessert menu, you went inside and picked from the counter. We passed on that and settled to finish a good meal with a tasty cup of espresso and biscotti.