A longstanding Sausalito Italian restaurant is getting a little shine on the small screen thanks to the much-anticipated Apple TV+ show The Last Thing He Told Me, which debuts today, Friday, April 14. The show is based on a book of the same name, which hit shelves in May 2021 and rocketed to the top of the New York Times Bestsellers list, where it enjoyed an impressive 65-week run.
If you’re one of the many who already devoured the mystery-thriller, then you already know it’s set in the North Bay community of Sausalito, where the main character Hannah attempts to unravel the mysterious disappearance of her husband Owen while also caring for her angsty teenage stepdaughter Bailey. Some of the filming for the show took place in the seaside city, with a local woman’s houseboat on Liberty Dock serving as Hannah and Owen’s home.
And while the book is, of course, a work of fiction, it does include a mention of the very-real Sausalito restaurant Poggio. It’s Bailey’s favorite restaurant and in an attempt to win some points with her, Hannah recreates a “homemade multigrain linguini in a brown butter sauce” from Bailey’s birthday meal at the restaurant.
Michael Mindel, one of the partners behind the Italian restaurant, says author Laura Dave took a little creative liberty with the Poggio menu and while the show didn’t film at the restaurant, Poggio did make it into the script — and was a favorite haunt for one of the show’s stars during shooting. Mindel estimates Jennifer Garner, who plays Hannah in the show, dined at Poggio at least four or five times during the month-or-so the team was filming in town last year.
Poggio manager Morgan Peterson remembers a guest telling her the restaurant was mentioned in the book around July 2021; she notified the general manager and Mindel, who immediately went across the street to Sausalito Books by the Bay and bought up every copy on the shelf. Peterson was also working the first time Garner came in to eat. Though the reservation was made under Garner’s companion’s name, the actress arrived at the restaurant first and was already waiting at the bar. “When her friend approached Morgan and said she was checking in for her reservation, Morgan mentioned that her friend bore a striking resemblance to Jennifer Garner to which her friend replied: ‘That’s because it is Jennifer Garner,’” Mindel tells Eater SF via email.
Garner’s favorite dishes on the real Poggio menu included the schiacciatta, Mindel says, and the actress told Poggio staff she tried to recreate the wood-fired flatbread at home for her kids. (The actress is an enthusiastic home cook who often posts adorable cooking videos and recipes on her Instagram using the hashtag “Pretend Cooking Show.”) “She also really enjoyed our sformatino and a vegetarian bucatini we made per her request,” Mindel adds. During all her visits, Mindel says the staff found Garner to be “lovely and really nice.” On what they assume was her last day in town, Mindel says “she drove by and yelled out the window of her car to a packed patio: ‘Goodbye Poggio, I love you!’”
Mindel estimates the closest item on the Poggio menu to anything mentioned in the book would be the pasta with mullet bottarga and garlic — but chef Ben Balesteri is working on some “The Last Thing He Told Me” specials to add to the menu this coming weekend. Keep an eye on the restaurant’s Instagram for updates.
The first two episodes of The Last Thing He Told Me are streaming now on Apple TV+ with new episodes dropping every Friday through May 19.
Poggio, 777 Bridgeway in Sausalito, is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. Reservations are available online.