Inspired by the "North of Little Italy" neighborhood of Manhattan?which is lined with quaint and authentic family-owned restaurants?Nolita Ristorante serves up classic Italian cuisine alongside an extensive craft beer selection at a contemporary bar, featuring 24 taps and a myriad of specialty cocktails. The impressive menu lists off a plethora of dishes, each composed with a nod toward sustainability, such as fresh produce and meats that are locally sourced whenever possible. Tender shrimp ravioli are tossed in a saffron cream sauce, while a bone-in pork chop is plated alongside a crispy polenta cake and sweet grilled peaches.
When creating a pie, cooks at Paesano's Pizzeria adhere to the tradition of NYC's pizza chefs from start to finish. They begin with fresh ingredients, kneading pizza dough from scratch. Next, they hand-toss the pies into circles ready for toppings. After slathering on freshly made sauce and toppings such as italian sausage or fresh mushrooms, they stone-bake the pizzas. You can buy it by the slice or by the pie, or opt for another Italian staple such as a hot sub or lasagna.
The made-from-scratch meals and familial hospitality at California Pasta may confuse you into thinking you never left home. It's a formula that's been working for the eatery since it opened nearly a decade ago, and one that has only grown stronger since they recently began offering catering services. Whether dining inside the newly renovated confines or at a catered event inside your bedroom, it's hard not to?revel in the home-cooked flavors of pastas such as spinach-mushroom fusilli and Cajun chicken linguine.
As the plus sign in its name suggests, Blush Restaurant + Lounge is an equation: it adds the indulgence of fine dining to the splendor of nightlife in Santa Barbara to create one lavish experience. Executive chef Brandon Worrell relies on seasonal Californian cuisine to craft his menu, which features small bites such as bacon and brie flatbread and lobster mac and cheese. The menu also boasts exquisite entrees, including roasted Chilean sea bass with saffron beurre blanc. Guests can enjoy inventive signature cocktails beside a fire on the patio, or they can relax inside, where dozens of lights strung from the ceiling create a mesmerizing starry effect.
The chefs at Gino’s Sicilian Express pile house-made crusts with fresh tomato sauce and all-natural mozzarella cheese to animate a menu of more than 20 New York–style pizzas, as well as calzones and a selection of beer and wine. Pies range from classics, such as the margarita ($12–$16) and pepperoni ($13–$17), to specialty creations ($16–$20) such as the Polpette, festooned with basil, garlic, and sicilian meatballs. The Spinaccia pizza, strewn with fresh spinach and feta cheese, is also amenable to the New York fold-and-bite or the Antarctica freeze-and-lick technique. Diners taste test crust-free creations with a handful of hot wings ($4–$7) or sandwiches such as the chicken parmesan ($5). Chefs also present an evolving selection of desserts; ask Gino’s staff about the day’s saccharine selection or their opinions on mixing corduroy and plaid.
A link to Santa Barbara's past, Aldo's Italian Ristorante resides on the grounds of the Janssens-Orella adobe house, which was built in 1857 and holds a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. Since 1986, Aldo's has done its part to write its own chapter into the historic site's story, serving homemade Italian specialties for lunch and dinner every day of the week. During visits, diners may enjoy freshly prepared dishes inside amid ornate pillars and elegant artwork, or outside in the heated courtyard.