Sitting outside at Ca’ Dario on a gorgeous Santa Barbara day. The Monster is about to go to town on an Italian lunch.
Off the main drag it’s a quaint restaurant with a menu of wonderful pastas. Others may see the panini and secondi and order off that. At Ca’ Dario it’s hard to go wrong.
The Monster is torn between the gnocchi con aragosta (potato pillows with lobster and creamy tomato sauce) and risotto alla veneta (arborio rice with fresh crabmeat, arugula and fresh tomato). The gnocchi wins after much hand-wringing.
To start, some antipasta and fresh local mussels in garlic and a spicy tomato broth.
The antipasta is vegetables and oil. Mrs. Monster wants it. Fine. The Monster will eat some vegetables.
Let’s discuss the mussels. Specifically the sauce. It’s undeniably amazing. Spicy, sweet, meant for bread to sop it up. The Monster loves it. He wants more. He thinks about ordering mussels for dessert.
The gnocchi sauce is equally addictive. The gnocchi itself a touch overcooked but with a creamy sauce and chunks of lobster The Monster is willing to look past this.
Service is friendly and leisurely Italian.
Why go? The visiting fireman have crowded all the restaurants on State Street.
Monster rating: 3½/5 Monsters
37 East Victoria Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101