Best Italian Dining in Santa Barbara: Wine, Spaghetti and Even Gelato

Geneva Ives

By , Local Expert, Santa Barbara
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Santa Barbara’s Mediterranean influences extend far beyond the red tile roofs and balmy gardens, right onto our dinner (and lunch) plates. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the plethora of Italian restaurants dotting our streets. From small Mom and Pop counter hideaways to fancy white linen and silver affairs, Santa Barbara’s Italian eateries run the gamut.

Downtown Santa Barbara boasts a multitude of dining options for pasta lovers. On fair evenings, try to get a seat on Bucatini’s patio for an al fresco dinner right in the center of the action. Or, for a little ambience no matter what the weather, try the Chase Bar...  Read more »

  • 1

    Via Maestra 42

    The very best Italian food in town is hiding in this tiny little restaurant.

    Local Expert Tip: "To avoid the pangs of envy that come with spotting a dish even more delicious than your own, order the pumpkin ravioli. It is the stuff of legend here in Santa Barbara."

  • 2

    Olio e Limone

    • Cuisine: European, Italian
    • Average Main Course Price: $28
    • Neighborhood: Santa Barbara

    Looking to impress a date? Then this is the Italian restaurant for you. Olio e Limone is romantic and classy... and delicious!

    Local Expert Tip: "Bottles of the beloved house olive oil are available for purchase. It's the perfect souvenir."

  • 3

    Olio Pizzeria

    In addition to tasty pizzas, Olio Pizzeria boasts a wide assortment of charcuterie and cheeses.

    Local Expert Tip: "If your pizza arrives on the special brown pizza plate - instead of a customary white one - it's free! "

  • 4

    Olio Crudo Bar

    Italian-style raw fish is an unusual delicacy. Don't miss this opportunity!

    Local Expert Tip: "Order a cocktail. Their full bar is impressive, and the speciality drinks are just right."

  • 5

    Tre Lune

    Tre Lune is a class act, located on one of the best shopping streets in Montecito. Tasty pasta and cocktails.

    Local Expert Tip: "Breakfast! How many Italian places are open in the morning? Um, almost zero. But Tre Lune opens up right at 7:30 every day. Perfetto!"

  • 6


    • Cuisine: European, Italian
    • Average Main Course Price: $20
    • Neighborhood: Santa Barbara

    Ca' Dario is the intimate, jovial Italian restaurant (with great food) that you always hope to find when you travel.

    Local Expert Tip: "Everyone loves going to Ca' Dario for their ravioli, but if you go on a Thursday, you'll have the chance to try their other (secretly) famous pasta: gnocchi. "

  • 7


    • Cuisine: European, Italian
    • Average Main Course Price: $18
    • Neighborhood: Santa Barbara

    With a patio that faces bustling State Street, Bucatini is a fun place to grab a (super delicious) meal while watching the world parade past.

    Local Expert Tip: "Don't go on a weekend without making a reservation."

  • 8

    Trattoria Vittoria

    Trattoria Vittoria is a hidden gem, tucked just off the main strip.

    Local Expert Tip: "Sit at the bar. The charming bartender, Ivo, will make you feel very welcome and even, if you are lucky, toss a few bottles in the air while making your cocktail. Voila, dinner and a show!"

  • 9

    Pane e Vino

    Pane e Vino selects their produce from the local farmer's markets, so their menu changes each season.

    Local Expert Tip: "Visit in the summertime for divine dishes featuring regional heirloom tomatoes."

  • 10

    Via Vai

    If it's a nice day and you want to sit outside, look no further than Via Vai. Their relaxing patio is ideal for lunch.

    Local Expert Tip: "Bring the kids! The wait staff will bring a ball of pizza dough for the little ones to play with."



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