Del Monte Restaurant is in Sunnyvale, CA
Since coming back from our trip to Southeastern Europe last summer, we haven’t had the chance to eat any dishes from the region as San Francisco is lacking in restaurants specializing in Balkan cuisine. Fortunately, for all of us Ćevapčići lovers in the Bay Area there is Del Monte Restaurant in downtown Sunnyvale, on Murphy Avenue.
Del Monte, in spite of the name, is a 100% Croatian family business: Mate Slade, the head of the family, usually can be found in the kitchen doing what he loves best, while his wife Dragica can be found in the restaurant greeting the guests who all seem to know her, alongside her son who serves the tables.
The interior of Del Monte
Originally from Dubrovnik, they came to California some 25 years ago by way of Louisiana, New Orleans and Washington D.C.
We recently had dinner for the first time at Delmonte with some relatives, and so we got to try almost everything in their menu. Although the decor is lacking in sophistication, it has a Croatian feel to it as well as a family atmosphere that we enjoyed together with the big plates of food.
Since the Slades are from Dubrovnik on the Dalmatian coast, we started with a Dalmatian platter of pršut (cured ham similar to Italian prosciutto), olives, Dalmatian cheese and anchovies in olive oil. Since they have a number of seafood and fish dishes, we decided to try some of them: fried calamari, mussels marinara, sole Dalmatian style and chicken with prawns. They even have linguine with different shellfish and calamari on a tomato sauce, which was very tasty.
The Ćevapčići plate
They also offer meat dishes more typical of continental Croatia, such as different types of steak, a plate of mixed meats, or a delicious Goulash Croatian style which is one of their most popular dishes. However, our favorite dish was, of course, the Ćevapčići plate: pieces of minced meat made of a mix of different types of beef and pork, hand mixed and then grilled with a side of ajvar (red bell pepper spread). Heavenly meat.
To accompany this Croatian feast we needed to have Croatian wine, so we ordered a red and a white from their wine list: a Debit from Bibich that paired really well with the sole, and a Plavac from the Dingač Winery that we enjoyed as always with all sorts of meat. And, although we were too full to have a dessert, we couldn’t resist finishing this perfect Croatian meal with a small glass of delicious Prošek, the nectar of the Gods!