Page 102 - The Montecito Journal Winter Spring 2009

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Bella Vista
1260 Channel Drive 565-8237
Located in the Four
Seasons Biltmore, this
elegant dining room
offers sweeping views of
the Pacific. A twilight
meal on the outside
patio showcases
Montecito’s quiet beauty
to visitors, and reminds
permanent residents to
be grateful for their luck.
Executive Chef Martin Frost suggests joining him and his talented
staff for Bella Vista’s monthly wine dinners featuring innovative,
fresh cuisine especially prepared to complement wines selected
by a local winemaker, on hand to discuss the selections. Limited
seating ensures an opportunity for a “one-on-one” exploration
into the philosophies of both winemaker and chef.
Café Del Sol
30 Los Patos Way 969-0448
Great margaritas draw
Café del Sol’s evening
patrons to its sandy-
colored interior, but the
food is popular enough
to have made this
restaurant one of the
longest running shows
(44 years and
counting!) in Montecito.
The menu is a mélange
of Mexican, Californian, and touch of Italian, including a variety
of steak and seafood dishes. On a cool night, snuggle into a
side booth by the fireplace; for breakfast or brunch on a warm
morning or afternoon, Café del Sol’s full patio overlooks the bird
refuge and Santa Barbara Zoo’s Condor Exhibit.
1212 Coast Village Road 969-8500
Cava is a bright and
flavorful collision of
Spanish and Mexican
food with lively and
colorful décor. Light
lunches of salads and
sandwiches precede the
hearty dinner fare. Start
out with some traditional
tapas and follow up with
anything from fresh
seafood tacos to paella with a twist, to a churrasco ribeye steak;
wash down the considerable spice with any number of Cava’s
specialty margarita drinks or a pitcher of sweet sangria. The
outdoor patio seating next to a fresh flower stand is an
unexpected aesthetic surprise, as well as the live flamenco
China Pavilion
1070 Coast Village Road 565-9380
China Pavilion offers
exotic dishes in an
atmosphere of rich red
walls, white tablecloths,
and lacquered furniture.
Open for both light lunch
and the significantly
more serious dinner,
many of the menu items
are familiar – phrases
like Kung Pao and
Szechuan appear more than once – but there are equal options
for the more adventurous, with a Chef’s menu of specials
decidedly different from the typical American take on Chinese
food. Takeout is available for the cozy evening in, or sit outside
on the well-heated enclosed patio for a pleasant lunch or dinner.
1187 Coast Village Road 969-1277
Traditional pizza and pasta are the name of the game at this
family-style Italian pizzeria. The modest and comfortable
interior belies Giovanni’s popularity and the draw of its pizzas,
familiarly dressed in such favorites as the meat-lover’s or the
classic pepperoni, as well as with new twists, like Greek or Philly
Cheesesteak. The restaurant offers hot sandwiches, salads,
pasta, beer and wine, as well as a children’s menu, complete
with arcade games.
Here’s the Scoop
1187 Coast Village Road (lower level) 969-7020
Montecito’s stylish take on a cool afternoon treat, Here’s the
Scoop has artisan gelato that puts its ice cream cousin to
shame. The flavors are changed and updated regularly, ranging
from the traditional stracciatella to the more original blood
orange, peanut butter, and even lavender. Many of the fruit-
flavored gelatos are created with locally grown produce, lending
them a taste that’s truly unique to the area.
1253 Coast Village Road 969-7878
This very popular bakery feels like a glorified garden party with
all the delight and none of that society fuss. An order-at-the-
counter sort of place, the restaurant offers fresh salads and
familiar sandwiches, with a pastry case full of fresh-baked
goodies along with specialty teas and espresso coffee drinks.
Little Alex’s
1024 A-Coast Village Road 969-2297
Its out-of-the-way location around the back of Vons Shopping
Center may fool you, but Little Alex’s is a local favorite for fast and
traditional Mexican and California food. Particularly noteworthy are
the veggie chimichangas, fresh tacos, and tamales.
Los Arroyos
1280 Coast Village Road 969-9059
Los Arroyos is a family-
Mexican restaurant
serving fresh,
homemade Mexican
food founded by
proprietor and chef Tony
Arroyo of La Piedad,
Michocan, Mexico, and
his wife, Maria Arroyo, a
Santa Barbara native.
Specialties include margaritas, authentic and homemade
tamales, mole, and handmade corn tortillas. Chef Lorenzo
Arroyo balances traditional Mexican dishes with diverse rotating
daily specials, like lobster quesadillas, or grilled fresh salmon
over a shockingly sweet tropical fruit-dressed salad. Weekend
live music (during Fiesta week, expect a full-on Mariachi band);
evening valet parking; patio dining all day.
1279 Coast Village Road 565-7540
A favorite spot for Montecito
denizens and tourists alike,
surrounded as they are by
vintage photos of Hollywood
past, white linen tablecloths and
napkins embossed with the
restaurant’s name, high tables,
mahogany galore, and a general
sleekness. Menu holds an
extensive wine list featuring
grape derivatives from the Central
Coast, Napa, France and Italy,
along with cocktails, appetizers,
and traditional hearty favorites that lend it the steakhouse title, with
top-tier American beef and sushi-grade fish from Santa Monica.
The handsome bar is a weeknight home to local celebrities and
the Bentley-Ferrari-Lamborghini crowd.
Montecito Café
1295 Coast Village Road 969-3392
Attached to Montecito Inn, Montecito Café is revered for
the quality of its food, and appreciated for its ease on the
pocketbook. The pleasantly spacious dining room is dominated
by large arched picture windows and a small fountain rumored
to have been installed in homage to Rodgers & Hart’s “There’s a
Small Hotel with a Wishing Well.” Menu features salads, like the
curried crab served in a half papaya, and many pasta dishes.
Montecito Coffee Shop
1498 East Valley Road 969-6250
More than just what its name implies, Montecito Coffee Shop is
located on a charming corner in the upper village, and boasts a
full breakfast menu complete with eggs, omelets, and pancakes.
For lunch, try one of the hearty salads (like the Shrimp Louie,
which is hard to find) or sandwiches with a twist, such as the
turkey sandwich with cranberry cream cheese, or the grilled beef
slathered with cheddar, chilies, and a spicy dipping sauce… just
be sure to have a cup of Joe handy to help out with the heat.
Montecito Deli
1150 Coast Village Road 969-3717
Most people who make their way to Montecito Deli for lunch
do so for one of the wildly popular warm “piadina” flatbread
sandwiches, but this little spot offers much more in the way
of hearty deli fare. Breakfast consists mainly of variations on
a fresh bagel, while the lunch menu offers scores of salads,
wraps, and cold and hot deli-style sandwiches.
Pane e Vino
1482 East Valley Road 969-9274
This hideaway boasts comfortable indoor and outdoor seating;
inside, the walls are adorned with ceramic plates and pictures
that lend it the feeling of mama’s kitchen, while the outside
patio is fringed with trees, shrubbery, and white lights. Starters
include a freshly made soup. The Insalata Cappuccina – a head
of butter lettuce served with tomatoes and asiago cheese – is
a recommended salad, and the Bucatini All’Amatriciana is a
classic with a kick.
1014 “C” Coast Village Road 565-0137
Those in search of a good old-fashioned sandwich will find
this unpretentious order-at-the-counter no-frills eatery worth
seeking out. A wide selection of fresh bread, including focaccia,
combined with both traditional sandwiches and those with
a twist, has helped make Panino a favorite not only at its
Montecito location, but also at its other locations in and around
Santa Barbara.
1198 Coast Village Road 969-0834
With wooden booths,
active bar, cozy
fireplace, sports TV, and
an all-American menu,
this ski lodge-like up-a-
wooden-stairway eatery
is a Montecito institution,
both in its unmistakable
architecture and in its
robust cookery. Breakfast
is a serious affair, so
come hungry; lunch and dinner consists of salads, sandwiches,
hefty charbroiled burgers, fresh fish and steak. Both the
surroundings and the menu are extremely kid-friendly, but a daily
happy hour from 3 pm to 6 pm with appetizer specials attracts its
share of grownups. Peabody’s is so much a part of bygone
Montecito lore that it’s even open until midnight.
Piatti Ristorante & Bar
516 San Ysidro Road 969-7520
Piatti calls itself “a collection of restaurants, rather than a
chain,” and there is something to that, as its eleven brother
eateries from Northern California to Texas personalize their
menus, as does this one. The spinach salad is graced with
crispy onions, the meatballs are chicken and prosciutto, and
the polpettone is served with a roasted mushroom and potato