1151 COAST VILLAGE ROAD
MONTECITO, CA 93108
Maybe the surprise here is that there are not many surprises,” says Soemi Caramel, general manager of Tre Lune in Montecito. “We have a lot of regulars, and they come because they like what we have.” For more than a decade now, carefully prepared genuine Italian cuisine has been the stock in trade at “Three Moons,” a charming, casual dining room with hardwood floors, white table cloths, and framed black-and-white paparazzi photos of celebrities adorning the walls. The food is authentic. Many of the pastas, including the ravioli, gnocchi, and lasagna, are made in-house. From the bread and olive oil to the fall-off-the-fork ossobuco, Tre Lune delivers. After regular Ellen DeGeneres repeatedly ordered a salad with grilled fish in it, the restaurant added the now-popular “Ellen salad” to the menu: tomatoes, arugula, grilled shrimp, scallops and salmon and mustard vinaigrette. Wild-boar penne, basil pesto, tuna tartare, lobster ravioli and veal milanese (a pounded, breaded veal chop on the bone) are standouts. You’ll find white truffles in winter, farmer’s market produce all year, local seafood (sea bass, halibut, stone crab) and imported whole branzino, cooked in the pizza oven or in a salt crust, plus first-rate pizzas. The all-Italian wine list is a yearly Wine Spectator award winner, and more than 40 wines are offered by the glass daily, along with negroni, bellini and other classic Italian cocktails. The restaurant also serves a largely American-style breakfast with Italian twists, and at least once, you should plan to attend the annual Opera Night in spring, when Opera Santa Barbara performers work the room while guests enjoy a four-course dinner.