Anyone craving a quick dose of the Italian Riviera would do well to visit Sausalito, especially now that you can dine at Poggio, on the ground floor of the historic Casa Madrona Hotel & Spa. Poggio loosely translates from Italian as "special hillside place," which is just what owner Larry Mindel ― the man behind the success of Il Fornaio ― considers Sausalito, his hometown of 33 years. "I wanted people to feel comfortable here, as if they were at home," Mindel says.
It's hard not to feel comfortable among Poggio's rich, Florentine-style trappings, which include curvy mohair banquettes, hand-cut Italian terra-cotta tiles, and mahogany paneling. And it's even harder once you taste the rustic northern Italian fare: pizzas from a wood-burning oven, meats and seafood off a rotisserie grill, and pastas made with herbs and vegetables grown in an organic garden just up the hill.
Poggio ($$$; breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily; 777 Bridgeway, Sausalito; 415/332-7771)