Santa Barbara Independent’s “Best of” 2013
Best Italian Restaurant
Dario Furlatti’s continuing success in this category is all the more impressive if you’ve ever sampled the fare of his competition. This is a town, for some reason, long on elegant Italian food. (You have to go way uptown for the red sauce and red-checkered-tablecloth kind of place that used to reign here.) Ca’ Dario has proven itself steadfast in serving something as hearty as a Bolognese, but as delicate as immaculately roasted chicken or homemade pastas with truffle. The room is lively and usually full, but the waitstaff never seems annoyed by requests. And now with its own pizza place nearby, the Furlatti dynasty may prove itself unbeatable.
Zagat Survey 2010
Review Highlights – “Anything grilled is divine” and the rest of the menu is “delectable” at the “charming” Italian in Santa Barbara known for its “excellent” execution of “simple” pasta, meats and other classics plus a “fantastic” wine list with many available by the glass; it’s a local “favorite, so reservations are a must.”
Zagat Survey 2008
Review Highlights – “Everyone seems to know everyone” at this popular” Santa Barbara trattoria where chef Dario Furlati “knows how to cook” consistently excellent” “genuine”Northern Italian fare that “pleases even the most jaded patrons; “friendly” servers work the “cozy”, “rustic” room.
Zagat Survey 2006
Review Highlights – Real passion shows in the exceptional food and excellent service at this superb Santa Barbara restaurant; the convivial, warm ambiance of the cozy dark-wood furnishings sets the stage for authentic Italian cuisine that includes divine ravioli and on-the-money ossobuco.
Zagat Survey 2004-2005
Review Highlights – You’ll find no pomp and all smiles at this wonderful Santa Barbara favorite considered by many to be the best Italian in town where chef-owner Dario Furlati offers consistent, savory, delicious fare using local products at relatively low prices; the friendly service contributes to an overall excellent ambiance.
Ca’ Dario Ristorante is a local favorite and a must see for the city’s visitor. The top rated food is overseen by the restaurant’s colorful Executive Chef/Owner Dario Furlati. Hailing from Il Lago di Como, which is in northern Italy near Milan, Dario has been in kitchens nearly his whole life. He brings old world favorites such as our Ossobuco and Tagliatelle Bolognese to life in a traditional Italian Ristorante setting. Mahogany walls and small quaint tables lead to a cozy dining experience that is enhanced by Dario’s staff, which he lovingly refers to as his “Family.”
Beguiling Dario Furlati teased and enticed us silly one more time with his earthy Italian ways. Dario first learned to cook from his grandmother as a young boy living in Italy and the recipes he shared with us this segment reflect those teachings. Feature Grigliata di Asparagi Bianchi, grilled white asparagus wrapped with crispy pancetta and drizzled with aged balsamic topped with shaved Parmigiano! It’s on the menu as we druel. Segundo on Dario’s bill of culinary fare was Gnocchi al Pomodoro e Basilico, little potato pillows in a simple tomato sauce sprinkled with spring basil ribbons. These cloudlike pillows were honestly the best gnocchi we on the set have ever eaten! Thirdly on his menu was Pollo Nel Coccio, baked chicken cooked in a clay pot. Drop in for lunch or dinner if you so dare, but better yet, call ahead for reservations. Ca Dario is one of those Santa Barbara restaurants that are cool to see and be seen dining in. Lots of local food enthusiasts as well as visiting “out of towners” frequent the spot. Dario can be viewed doing his thing via the small open kitchen and don’t be surprised if he comes out to mingle with his fans. We love this about Dario.
Santa Barbara has a delightful and true trattoria in Ca’ Dario, and owner Dario Furlati balances the simple good tastes of Italy with an impressive wine list with plenty of Italian bottlings you won’t find anywhere else in town. He only serves what he believes is good that day, so pray he likes that day’s asparagus, which he’ll wrap in pancetta and serve with balsamico, or the artichokes he steams, stuffs with artichoke hearts, tomato, bread and basil. For pastas choose among ravioli dressed with nothing more than good butter and fresh sage leaves, or bocconcini alla trevisana, which is a gratin of crepes stuffed with ricotta and radicchio. He bakes his chickens in He cooks chicken in a terracotta casserole, with tomatoes and red wine, and there is a daily special from the rotisserie—perhaps lamb or beef or chicken–whose aromas fill the room when you walk into the two -room restaurant, which has a lively bar crowd in the evenings.
Westways Magazine by Nancy Ransohoff
I’ve hesitated to tell Westways readers about the locals’ favorite Italian restaurant in Santa Barbara, but how can I be selfish during this New-Year’s-resolution time of year? In any case, Ca’ Dario is no secret. The bustling, friendly trattoria serves up the kind of pastas, salads, grilled meats, and fish that everyone loves. It’s developed an army of devoted regulars, and more diners find out about it every day, so reservations are a must.
Some of Santa Barbara’s best Italian food can be savored in this authentic, lively Italian restaurant. The pastas, meats and fish are magnificent under the inspired cuisine of Dario Furlati. Start with a Carciofo Ripieno, a cold steamed artichoke stuffed with artichoke hearts and bread, topped with chopped tomatoes, garlic and basil is magic on a plate. Dario’s pastas are delicious and don’t miss his spinach ravioli al burro e salvia (brown butter and sage). For an entrée, try the Ossobuco con Risotto, a braised veal shank with saffron Arborio rice, which with the marrow is truly masterful. Ca’ Dario has a great selection of Italian wines and make sure to save room for dessert.
Food & Home Magazine
Fine Italian dining with extensive Italian wine list. Excellent seafood and authentic cuisine.
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