The Ca’ Dario Ristorante dynasty is going big for its 21st birthday, expanding to two new locations in the Santa Barbara Public Market and out on Storke Road in Goleta.
“Goleta needed somewhere new, and the Public Market seems to have found its rhythm and needed some Italian dishes there,” explained owner Dario Furlati.
The original ristorante at Anacapa and Victoria streets quickly became a Santa Barbara staple upon opening in 1997, charming guests with its comforting northern Italian eats. The adjacent pizzeria opened in 2014, filling cravings for a casual spot to grab authentic pizza. The latest additions are Ca’ Dario Pizzeria Veloce and Pasta Veloce in the Public Market and Ca’ Dario Cucina Italiana in Goleta.
What sets these concepts apart from other Italian restaurants? “Authenticity, consistency, loyal customers from day one,” said Furlati. “Staff is like family and makes everyone feel welcome.”
Originally from Lake Como in Italy’s far north, Furlati developed a passion for cooking in his grandmothers’ kitchens, where he learned the skills that give his signature dishes their genuine flair. He gained an understanding of the restaurant business from working in kitchens across Europe and came to Santa Barbara in 1988. He served as executive chef at Pane e Vino and as a partner at some of S.B.’s most well-loved Italian haunts. He is now fully dedicated to Ca’ Dario, where he remains thankful to grow their empire under the fortress of great food and friendly service.
“We would not be successful without the dedication of our staff and the loyalty of our customers,” Furlati said. “Santa Barbara is a wonderful place to live and work, so we feel very grateful.”
Opened in January, Ca’ Dario Cucina Italiana brings a welcome respite for Goleta inhabitants looking for their favorite Italian dishes. As I walked into the modern space, the friendly staff, beautiful bar, and stunning artwork quickly made me forget that I had parked in a Kmart shopping center. The bar’s sleek wooden stools are reminiscent of the pizzeria, while the white-tablecloth dining area exudes the elegance of the ristorante. The outdoor patio and private conference room give one a choice of ambience in which to best enjoy the excellent dishes.
The menu combines the pizzeria fare with classic Ca’ Dario dishes and daily specials. The open kitchen holds their new deep fryer, which is put to great use in their new Frittura Mista appetizer, featuring flash-fried shrimp, scallops, and calamari and served with tartare sauce. General Manager Danny Chisholm’s extensive wine selection features a wide assortment, from bright Tuscan Chiantis to rich California cabs.
In the Public Market, Ca’ Dario Pizzeria opened in November 2017, and Ca’ Dario Pasta Veloce followed this past June. The pizzeria menu combines new creations and favorites while also offering a fantastic gluten-free crust. “All of our flour comes from Italy, and we combine that with fresh local ingredients,” said Chisholm.
Their wines include a small but mighty Italian selection from Tuscany to Sicily, and they serve Italian beers as well. Their Kalefornia salad pops with the bright combination of kale, brussels sprouts, dates, chèvre, and vinaigrette. Appetizers include the clever Truffle Egg, featuring parmesan, cream, and black truffle.
Pasta Veloce features an assortment of pasta bowls, such as the classic spaghettini with meatballs and marinara. Any pasta can be made with gluten-free penne. Small bites include the delicious artichoke poppers with roasted garlic dip.
While the options at the new locations make good on the “veloce” (fast) promise, they also live up to the quality and warmth associated with the Ca’ Dario name.
Multiple locations; cadario.net