Mad & Vin, which translates to “food and wine” in Danish, pays proper respects to the Scandinavian style of Solvang, where it steadily serves both day-trippers and overnight tourists as The Landsby hotel’s restaurant and bar. But with an innovative menu of seasonally inspired farm-to-table fare developed by Chef Beto Huizar, who puts his own worldly spin on each dish, Mad & Vin is now a go-to destination for locally residing food lovers as well.
“I like to play with classic French and give it my twist,” said Huizar. His attention to detail fits well with the restaurant’s sophisticated mid-century-modern aesthetic, which is enhanced with celebratory touches, like the beautiful “Smile There’s Wine” omen painted over the bar and perky yellow flowers on each table.
From the first bite of complimentary pita bread served with handmade romesco dip and starring stellar ingredients such as roasted peppers and marcona almonds — it’s like a cool older sister to hummus — it’s apparent you’re in for something special.
“We try to do as much local as we can,” Huizar explained. “Every Wednesday we go down to the farmers’ market here in town.” The restaurant also relies on Harvest Santa Barbara, which sources regionally grown ingredients and delivers them in bulk to the restaurant.
The farmer salad was revelatory on its own, while standout entrées included their lamb porterhouse with mint-pesto yogurt. The fresh carbonara-like pasta stole the show, a thick, handmade bucatini with applewood bacon, egg yolk, cream, smoked cheese, and herbs. Its richness was counterbalanced by an easy-drinking, bright cabernet franc by Brave & Maiden. The seasonal fruit cobbler with McConnell’s vanilla bean ice cream rounded out the unpretentious and entirely satisfying meal, leaving us wishing that we’d booked a room to really make ourselves at home.
But food and wine are just part of the Mad & Vin equation, as their zippy cocktails, like Rose Margarita with a grapefruit sugar rim, invigorate the palate as well. The easiest way to enjoy them is during the restaurant’s happy hour, which happens seven days a week.
This summer, Mad & Vin is also featuring a Locals Night on Tuesdays, with 20 percent off food in the dining room, as well as a $25 three-course menu for Solvang’s 3rd Wednesday event, with complimentary corkage so that guests are encouraged to purchase wine at the nearby tasting rooms.
1576 Mission Dr., Solvang; (805) 688-3121; thelandsby.com