Hidden away down an alleyway near Café Beaujolais is Luna Trattoria, a little piece of northern Italy right here in Mendocino. Arriving at the restaurant’s rustic wooden front door, you’ll see the chef hard at work through the kitchen window, making their famous pasta by hand, the way it should be.
You’ll receive a warm welcome and immediately feel like you are among friends, whether you are a local or a visitor. The ambience is vivacious and the décor is charming, much of it with a celestial motif in keeping with the restaurant’s name. There is seating upstairs and downstairs, and wherever you sit, you will be cozy and well looked after by the knowledgeable staff. Reservations are not accepted for parties of less than six people, so it’s advisable to arrive early if you can. If you have to wait to be seated, you can relax and enjoy the lovely garden right outside the dining room until your table is ready.
Once you are seated, you will be served some house-made focaccia with olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette to enjoy while you decide on what to order for dinner, never an easy decision with all the delicious possibilities. There are crisp, fresh salads, delicate, lightly fried calamari, and excellent bruschetta, bright with basil, garlic, and tomatoes, And of course, the signature, hand-made pasta. The deceptively simple classics, like marinara, clam sauce, and carbonara, are flawlessly executed and shine with the freshest ingredients. The gnocchi are as light as air, and the authentic lasagna is available in both traditional and vegetarian versions. You can’t go wrong with the tiramisu or crème brûlée to finish if you still have room.
The wine list includes both Italian and local vintages, as well as local beer – a little bit of Italy and a little bit of Mendocino, just like Luna Trattoria itself.
Luna Trattoria is located at 955 Ukiah Street in Mendocino and is open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner. They take reservations for two seatings, the first at 5pm and the second at 7pm. Call (707) 962-3093 during business hours to make your reservation.