Where: 1482 East Valley Road, 805-969-9274, paneevino-viavai.com
What: Very Montecito, very Italian trattoria
How much? Appetizers average about $11.95, pastas $14.95, entrees up to $29.95
The dish: It’s much more than bread and wine that recommends this place, but it does stress good ingredients as the starting point for its take on Italian cuisine leaning on classics like ravioli al burro e salvia (a mouthwateringly stuffed very fresh pasta with veal, prosciutto, and mushrooms in sage butter) and bistecca alla fiorentina (basically a giant slab o’ beef just like the one you’d get in Florence, complete with Tuscan white beans). The largely Italian wine list does make room for Santa Barbara stalwarts like Palmina and Qupe, and pricing is better on California wines. Sure, it’s a mini-chain, with outposts in West Hollywood, Brea, and San Francisco (plus a sister restaurant Via Vai across E. Valley Road), but Pane e Vino always has a buzz, whether you’re seated on the patio or inside its charming shop-like atmosphere. Risottos are consistently excellent, there’s always a full page of specials with surprises like fried sardines, and the service is almost always continentally charming.