The Wandering Wino Blog

Savor Central Coast Dinner

Santa Barbara wine country is known for its high quality wine and when it comes to wine tasting, the question nearly always arises of "Where is a good place to eat?"

Begining January 20-26, Santa Barbara or more specificly Santa Ynez Valley initiates restaurant week. 


Root 246

(Photo - above Root 246)

Restaurants throughout the Santa Ynez Valley will offer a special 3-course tasting menus for $20.13 not including tax, tip or beverages. Some restrictions may apply and reservations may be required. This is a great opportunity to try some amazing restaurants for a fantastic price.

Chef Rick & Alfonso Curti

Chef Rick and Chef Alfonso Curti (Trattoria Uliveto) both from Santa Maria Valley

Participating Santa Ynez Valley Restaurants: 





The Ballard Inn Restaurant

(Photo - above The Ballard Inn Restaurant)


Ballard Inn Restaurant, 2436 Baseline Avenue; 805-688-7770 last year's menu 

Chef Budi's style of cusine is French/Asian fusion. I can attest that his food is highly regarded and well respected. Check out their tasting room on the weekends to find some new discoveries from small producers including Chanin and Storm. 


Chef Budi

Chef Budi of The Ballard Inn Restaurant


Avant Tapas & Wine, 35 Industrial Way; 805-686-4742  menu

This is nearly the last stop of any place to eat on your way into the famed Sta Rita Hills. Avant offers many local small wine producers by the ounce, glass, or bottle. Consider tasting with a real wine legend at Ken Brown's tasting room by appointment just across the street.

Starting Gate Restaurant at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott, 555 McMurray Road; 805-688-1000  last year's menu



A couple of wine tasting options are available in Los Alamos, including Bedford and Babi's tasting room. Both are just a very short walk from the next restaurant listed, Bell Street. Stop in on your way up to Santa Maria Valley or way down to Los Olivos.


Bell Street Farm Eatery, 406 Bell Street; 805-344-4609  last year's menu

Bell Street is a locals favorite and for many good reasons. Great simple foods with fresh local ingrediants make this a diners choice.

Check out the wine list as there are several smaller producers that do not have a tasting room. The Habbit and Storm wine producers amongst others that you will likely not see anywhere else. Great sandwiches and salads for lunch. Eat inside or alfresco on their patio.



Los Olivos Cafe

Santa Barbara Restaurants

Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Café, 2879 Grand Avenue; 805-688-7265  menu

This is in the heart of Los Olivos (Grand Ave) tasting rooms. Surrounded by highly recommended tasting rooms like: Andrew Murray Vineyards, Alta Maria/Native9, Presqu'ile, Tercero, Cimarone, and Saarloos and Sons. 

Petros at Fess Parker’s Wine Country Inn, 2860 Grand Avenue, 805-686-5455 (lunch only)  last year's menu



Dos Carlitos Restaurant & Tequila Bar, 3544 Sagunto Street; 805-688-0033 menu



Ranch and Reata Roadhouse3569 Sagunto Street; 805-691-9663  menu

Trattoria Grappolo, 3687 Sagunto Street, #C; 805-688-6899 (lunch only)  last year's menu

 If Italian is your speed, then look no further as chef Curti puts out amongst the best in the area. Tough not to mention his brother Alfonso whom does some great foods too. This is located just off of highway 246 and very near the Chumash Casino. Consider tasting at Buttonwood not too far away with their great value wines coming from organic vineyards. 

The Willows at Chumash Casino Resort, 3400 East Highway 246; 805-686-4152 menu

Lets see, wine tasting, great food, amazing value, now how about adding a little black jack in the mix? I'll suggest dressing a bit on the reserved or nicer side despite the casino location. 



Cafe Provence, 1576 Mission Drive; 800-321-8985

Fresco Valley Café, 442 Atterdag Road; 805-688-8857  menu

Hadsten House Inn Restaurant, 1450 Mission Drive; 805-688-3210  menu

Prime Rib

Mirabelle Inn & Restaurant, 409 First Street; 805-688-1703  menu


Root 246

Root 246, 420 Alisal Road; 805-686-8681  menu

Root 246 is amongst the very best restaurants in Solvang in my humble opinion. The James Beard award winning chef Bradley Ogden is a shinning star in Santa Ynez Valley. He offers good americana cousine with a little flare and elegance. (Photo below - appitizer flatbread) Sit on their comfy heated patio shown above or a bit more elegance inside. 


Root 246 Flatbread

Root 246 Wine Cellar


Solvang Brewing Company, 1547 Mission Drive; 805-688-2337

 I do not think besides water that much else tastes as good as a beer at the end of a wine touring day. The tannic lacking beer with hops and acidity just seems to taste like ice cream at that point in the day. 

Succulent Café & Trading Post, 1555 Mission Drive; 805-691-9444  menu

(Thurs-Sun only)

I will be out there myself, hope to see you on the trail.

(Some of these details were obtained from


  • Steve Gevurtz
    Posted Thursday 17 January 2013 20:33
    Hey thanks for the great recommendations! Heading to the area in a few months for the first time and this will come in super handy. Love the page! :)Steve

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