Unless you were tipped off that Oregano's Wood-Fired Pizza is less than one year old, you might assume that it had been open for generations, judging by the traditional decor.
When Rafi Bamdad and Keyuvan Nabavizadeh first opened Oregano's, they researched the Peninsula area and settled on Los Altos because they said this area attracts customers who look for good quality food with fresh ingredients in a relaxed atmosphere. Their research was apparently right on the money, because customers have been supportive.
The menu comprises a variety of appetizers, salads, calzone, pizzas, pastas and desserts. Included is a variety of lunch specials that start around $6.95.
A friend of mine raves about the hot Thai chicken pizza. It's hot with peanut sauce, slivered green onion, fresh cilantro and garnished with roasted red chile peanuts.
Another friend always orders the rosemary chicken penne. It's a chicken breast with sun-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, and broccoli and penne pasta in a rosemary cream sauce. Bambad says it's the number one serving dish at Oregano's, followed by the California prawns pasta.
"All the ingredients used in the recipes is proportional, so you can taste the different levels of flavors on your palate," Bambad said. "Another reason for the good taste is vegetables are purchased daily from a local source."
When you want to try a salad for freshness, try the spinach gorgonzola salad. It's tossed with bacon, walnuts, raddichio and creamy balsamic, then topped with the gorgonzola cheese.
"We make one of the best Caesar salads in the area," Bambad said. We use imported Sagra olive oil and extra aged parmesan cheese and fresh romaine lettuce. My friend and I both had Jersey cheese steaks for lunch and we couldn't eat all of it. It's hot pastrami with peppers, onions and Swiss cheese. Served on a rustic Italian panini bread. It's juicy, and it's served with French fries. My single friend took it home in a plastic people's bag for his dinner."
If you go to lunch with a small group, order the hot wings. They come in a Cajun cream sauce which Bambad said is medium hot with a bold flavor. The panini bead is baked twice daily and is fresh. All dry pasta is imported from Italy, as is the sun-dried-tomatoes. All the chocolate is imported from Germany and the lady fingers are imported from Italy.
Luncheons are generally under $7, and dinners around $9 to $11. Pizzas are $8.95 and large salads average $8.95.
House wines are Napa Valley and there is a good selection of California wines by the bottle. There are 21 beers available and seven are on tap.
Oregano's hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 4-9 p.m. Sunday. Luncheons are served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Oregano's is located at 4546 El Camino Real in the Village Shopping Center, Los Altos. For reservations and more information, call 941-3600.