Santa Maria Sun / Eats
BY WENDY THIES SELL
This year was a great year for Santa Barbara County’s dining public with about a dozen new restaurants opening for business.
Trying to visit as many of them as possible has been my pleasure: S.Y. Kitchen in Santa Ynez, Caliterranean Café at Global Gardens in Los Alamos, Omakase in Old Orcutt, Cugini’s in Santa Maria, the new Mattei’s Tavern in Los Olivos, Brothers Restaurant at the Red Barn in Santa Ynez, Maria’s Cre-Asian Diner in Santa Maria, and Willow in Nipomo, which is in San Luis Obispo County.
Even more restaurants have recently opened their doors or are planning to in the New Year, and all of them are on my list in the coming months. Be adventurous. Try something new in 2014!
The Caliterranean Café opened in September at Global Gardens, the olive oil and vinegar tasting room located on Bell Street in Los Alamos. The vegetarian café’s seasonal, local, produce-driven menu includes pickled vegetables marinated in fruit vinegar (shown here), salads, pitas, and olive oil desserts. The café’s new winter hours are Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The website is globalgardensonline.com.
In June, the Santa Maria Town Center started a Farmers Market Experience in a parking lot on the north side of the mall every Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Local producers showcase their seasonal vegetables, fruit, pastries, flowers, and meats year ’round, like these colorful Perez Farms cauliflower hybrids. In case of rain, the market is moved inside the mall’s parking garage.
Historic and hip
New owners and management exercised their delicious imagination by reopening Mattei’s Tavern in Los Olivos over the summer. In this photo, Italian cured meats are hung from a mini clothesline, called Felix Mattei’s Dirty Laundry after the founder of the historic locale. The playful platter is served with housemade mustard, pickled grapes, and grilled bread. Mattei’s is open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday. The website is matteistavern.com.
Pappardelle Bianche—homemade flat pasta noodles, tossed with sea bass, asparagus, peas, porcini mushrooms, and vermouth—one of many delicious dishes served at S.Y. Kitchen Cucina Rustica. The chic S.Y. Kitchen started serving authentic Italian dinners in the town of Santa Ynez in April. Executive chef Luca Crestanelli and his brother, executive sous chef Francesco Crestanelli, are natives of Verona, Italy. S.Y. Kitchen is open daily for dinner. The restaurant’s website is sykitchen.com.
New in Nipomo
Willow’s seared diver scallops perched on pork belly, with cauliflower and Brussel sprouts, appeared on the new restaurant’s summer menu. The restaurant, deli, wine bar, and market, which opened in August near the corner of Willow and Pomeroy roads in Nipomo, now serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. The location also boasts one of the best outdoor dining patios around. The website is willownipomo.com.
Sun food and wine writer Wendy Thies Sell wishes all her readers a happy holiday season full of good cheer. Gift her with story ideas for the New Year by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
August and everything after: Locals have struggled to piece together the narrative that's followed six Cal Poly student arrests South County communities plan for low Lopez levels SLO County airport has big plans for a new terminal Cougars & Mustangs Shandon residents say issues with the mail have gotten out of control A dry November: Candidates vying for two Cambria Community Services District seats talk about the town's water woes The SLO City Council is hung up on a decision to override the Airport Land Use Commission on future planning