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Posted October 2005

Where to Eat: Santa Barbara Restaurants,
Wine Country Stlye

Santa Barbara Wine Country DiningBrother’s Restaurant at Matteis Tavern: A former stage-coach stop, this historic tavern was recently renovated by sibling restaurateurs who have made it one of the most sought-after dining experiences in Santa Barbara Wine Country. The menu changes constantly, according to the season and the chef’s whims, but is firmly grounded in classic American cuisine, including steak, veal chops, ribs, and hearty cornbreads. However, all are done with a contemporary flair with surprising infusions of Asian and French cuisine, imaginative sauces and elegant presentations.  Reservations recommended. 2350 Railway Ave., Los Olivos, CA (805) 688.4820

The Taproom at Firestone Walker Brewing Company: Casual pub grub, with lots of hearty steaks and ribs, as well as pizzas, salad and more. The Taproom is located in the brewery, which makes a variety of local beers—most of which you can sample while you eat. 620 McMurray Road, Buellton, CA (805) 686.1557

Alisal Guest Ranch: Though you have to be a guest to dine at the Alisal, weekend cowgirls and recreational ranch-hands are served hearty American fare with a European accent after a hard day of riding the range. Dinner entrees include fish, rabbit, risotto, steaks and a specialty of the house, veal schnitzel. 105 Alisal Road, Solvang, (805) 688.6411. The ranch’s chef also serves the general public at the River Grill at the River Course Golf Club, 150 Alisal Rd., Solvang (805) 688.7784.

American Flatbread: Though the idea came from Vermont, American Flatbread is the second outpost of this earthy, socially-conscious bakery that makes some of the most amusing flatbreads (a type of wood-fired pizza) imaginable. From a recent menu: smashed heirloom tomatoes, maple and tamari glazed Nojojui Farms Delicata squash, Heavenly Slope corn, and smoked whole milk mozzarella. That’s all on one pizza. The restaurant/bakery is casual, with only a handful of tables and features frequent music performances, prayer flag dedications and other activities to entertain eaters. 225 Bell St., Los Alamos, CA (805) 344.4400

Wine Cask at Fess Parker’s Wine Country Inn:  A long-time standard in the area, this restaurant offers elegant California Wine Country dining with menu items like Duck Confit, Osso Bucco, sea bass, prime rib and lamb. The restaurant also features a special tasting menu that can be catered to your own selection of wines.  2860 Grand Avenue, Los Olivos, (800) 446.2455.

The Hitching Post II: This favorite local restaurant has roots that date back more than 50-years, though the Buellton outpost has only been around since 1986. Owned by the Ostini family, the original restaurant in Casmalia featured “Santa Maria-style BBQ” focused on hearty steak and poultry dishes. In Buellton, the restaurant also includes more refined items like ostrich steaks, quail, duck and seafood. 406 E. Highway 246, Buellton, CA (805) 688.0676

Los Olivos CafeLos Olivos Café: You’ll find locals lining up for this popular upscale eatery that features many local wines and regional dishes. Menu items include chicken, sandwiches and pizzas for lunch and Mediterranean-influenced entrees like chicken parmigiana, pasta and salmon for dinner. Don’t miss the chocolate scream dessert: homemade vanilla ice cream, a flourless chocolate cake and caramel sauce. 2879 Grand Avenue, Los Olivos, (888) WINES4U.


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Photography courtesy of the Santa Barbara CVB

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