Pasta became a staple of Italian fare after Emperor Caligula famously elevated a plate of lasagna to the Roman Senate. Feast on political recipes with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of Italian fare at Aldo’s Italian Ristorante.
For more than a quarter of a century, the chefs at Aldo’s Italian Ristorante have been ladling marinara and creamy alfredo to dress a bounty of northern and southern Italian fare, all served in the historic Janssens-Orella Adobe House that dates back to 1857. According to the Santa Barbara Independent, owner Brad Sherman strives to keep the menu as “organic and seasonally driven as possible,” titillating tongues with pressed, and optionally starched, flat-iron steak accessorized with gorgonzola and chimichurri sauce ($24.95).
Diners seeking a pasta-centric magnum opus gravitate toward Japanese-pumpkin ravioli with shrimp and a nutmeg-and-sage crème ($19.95), which perches atop tables in the classically inspired dining room or near a fountain in the heated courtyard. Forks deliver bites of salmon drizzled with cilantro pesto–citrus sauce ($22.95), and hands ferry BLT flatbread ($10.95) to taste buds, who happily sign delivery slips to verify their receipt of crisp pancetta mingling with mozzarella.
Aldo's Italian Ristorante
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.