Rob Raede: Santa Barbara’s Aperitivo Is More Than a Wine Bar | Homes & Lifestyle

Rob Raede: Santa Barbara’s Aperitivo Is More Than a Wine Bar | Homes & Lifestyle

True to its name, Aperitivo Wine Bar in downtown Santa Barbara presents ingenious Italian cocktails and a exceptional Italian wine list, but it is not the smell of wine and vermouth that grabs you by the nose and draws you in … it’s the food stuff.

“We’re making an attempt to merge two designs of Italian cooking — the ideal of the very simple rustic foods, with a couple of fine-eating twists,” mentioned Brian Dodero, the chef and co-proprietor.

Judging by the group on a modern Wednesday night at 7 W. Haley St., it is functioning.

Complementing the foodstuff is a extensive array of innovative aperitivi (Italian for “before-evening meal drinks”) and wines that involve “completely different varietals a lot of have under no circumstances listened to of,” co-owner Andrea Girardello said.

And then there’s the company. Just about every member of the workforce used numerous yrs in the Four Seasons technique, and their professionalism demonstrates in the attentive still unhurried strategy.

The mix of these components created us experience like visitors in a residence in Italy.

Neither Girardello (sommelier) nor Dodero (executive chef) started their occupations in the hospitality enterprise, originally pursuing computer software design and motorcycle mend, respectively.  At some point they snapped out of it and returned to their true enthusiasm, Italian food items and wine.

Girardello gained his sommelier designation while performing at the famed Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan, and Dodero learned his cooking chops at culinary faculty in Florence.

They both labored at a succession of very well-acknowledged qualities in advance of arriving in Santa Barbara at the Coral Casino Seashore & Cabana Club and the Four Seasons Resort-The Biltmore Santa Barbara.

The two didn’t truly know every single other right up until they resolved to have coffee one morning. By the time they’d concluded, they were heading off to search at a area Dodero had scouted before.

In just a few months, they’d signed a lease. Unfortunately, this was March 2020 as COVID-19 was raging, maybe the worst time in historical past to open up a new restaurant.

So they began with their get-out Pasta Club (nonetheless going robust: reserve by Sunday, select up on Tuesday) in Oct 2020, and lastly opened to sit-down friends in the spring of 2021.

The Aperitivo Wine Bar menu is tiny and variations each individual 7 days. Dodero’s kitchen husband or wife, Benjamin Bruno, instructed us, “Having the liberty to improve the menu on a weekly basis, changing to what’s contemporary and in season, fuels my passion for cooking.”

We tried the porchetta bruschetta, butternut squash ravioli and pasta with roasted tomato sauce, which all disappeared from our plates at an alarming rate. The meals here, in our opinion, rivals the ideal you’ll come across in Rome.

From previous knowledge we can explain to you that if you see spaghetti with squid ink on the menu, order it.

Concerning the beverage choices, Girardello said, “it’s not personally my design and style to do the sophisticated mixology kind drinks, and that is not genuinely Italian anyway. We’re making an attempt to be as genuine as doable to the normal Italian bar.”

At Aperitivo, you are going to discover “cocktails” built with special specialty vermouths and Proseccos in classic, nonetheless imaginative mixtures.

Girardello is happy of the wine listing.

“Nobody goes to Italy, even the types who can pay for it, and states, ‘I had this terrific $500 bottle of wine,’” he spelled out. “No, they arrive residence, say to their good friends, ‘I uncovered this remarkable economical bottle of wine and beloved it.’

“Same matter here, I look for the flavors that you find when you go to the small country trattorias in Italy … the comfort wine, the reliable wine. And we also attempt to expose our friends to grapes they could not be familiar with.”

Regardless of the area getting comprehensive and chaotic, the services is engaged, but relaxed and without having hurry. 

“The staff we have is fairly exclusive and we wouldn’t be below without them,” Girardello stated, incorporating, “My initial consumers are my personnel, and I want our persons to occur to do the job in this article with a smile on their faces … that smile then becomes a smile on the encounter of the prospects.” 

Making the customer come to feel like an invited guest in someone’s dwelling is the intention of quite a few restaurants, and Aperitivo succeeds in design and style. Bravissimo!

Let’s Go Take in

Aperitivo Wine Bar, at 7 W. Haley St. in Santa Barbara, is open up from 4:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday via Saturday. The cafe does not get reservations, and attendees ought to be 21 or older.