This past week, my mother and I revisited a restaurant my family and I used to dine at years ago. It's been around for a long time, as long as I can remember. I have a very vivid memory, from when I was quite little, of sitting out on their patio on a sunny day being sung Happy Birthday to in Italian by the waitstaff. (Note: I finally have the new iPhone 4S and the camera on this baby is awesome...no more blurry, poorly lit photos! Hurray!)
Pane e Vino feels like a local's Italian joint. The inside space is quite small and though there are tablecloths and fabric napkins, there is quite a causal feeling to the place. The outside patio is wonderful in Spring and Summer, but they do have heat lamps if you should feel like dining al fresco.
For our first courses, my mother and I shared the Bresaola con Rucola and the Vitello Tonnato, which always sounds crazy since it's thinly sliced veal with a creamy tuna sauce...but believe you me it sure tastes wonderful.
My mother made the best choice for her entree - Dorade Royale in this insanely fennel-y sauce. Check out those roasted tomatoes.
Ironically, this Dorade from across the nation looked and tasted more fresh than the local halibut I chose as my main. Though my entree choice tasted good, it was nothing to go out to dinner for....it was my fault for choosing poorly though...always listen to your mom!
We shared a little dish of strawberries with sabayon sauce for dessert.
Pane e Vino is a Montecito staple and is a great spot for dining with the locals and enjoying classic Italian dishes. The prices are normal for Santa Barbara, but depending on what you order you might feel the value is either spot on or totally off. One thing that really struck us as interesting were the wine glasses...they are thicker glass, taverna style glasses which would be just fine in a taverna, but in a fine dining situation it takes away from that special out-to-dinner feeling one yearns for...
Pane e Vino - 1482 East Valley Road # 5, Montecito, Open daily lunch and dinner, no lunch on Sunday