Oliveto co-owner Bob Klein may run one of the East Bay’s most celebrated restaurants, but he has never been interested in doing mundane wine dinners. The restaurant, which opened in 1986, has hosted regional dinners for several years, including one that focuses on the top dishes of Puglia, Italy, where Klein travels every year with chefs and select farmers.
One of Klein’s big interests is the integrity of the sources of his food. The restaurant has a local grain project for pastas, using grains native to California sourced from local makers. Klein, who co-owns the restaurant with his wife, Maggie, also has the restaurant using a unique polenta — red flint corn as oppose to a yellow — which grows from seeds sourced in Italy. (“Right now the pasta on the shelves is made with commodity wheat,” he said. “We know it’s from Yolo or Sacramento County but we don’t know what farm.”)
And now, for the last four days, the restaurant has been honoring sustainable and local seafood with its 11th Annual Oceanic Dinner series. The meals have included historic San Francisco seafood recipes like cioppino made from local fish and shellfish, Crab Louie, Hog Island Oyster po’boys, and salt-roasted black sea bass with Romano beans — and the menu is transparent, listing where every fish was caught and how.