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Olio e Limone - fine Italian cuisine in Santa Barbara

 The husband-wife team of Alberto and Elaine Morello opened Olio e Limone Ristorante in 1999. Executive Chef Alberto offers classic Italian cooking with a special focus on Sicilian dishes. Elaina runs the front of the house. The wine list is very solid, with several hundred selections. They have been Wine Spectator Award of Excellence winners since 2002.

A recent visit over a long holiday weekend we had the chance to try a couple of classics. To start, a well prepared Carpaccio di Bue con Rugola e Parmiggiano. Tender, thinly sliced Filet of Beef, with Arugula, Capers and Shaved Parmiggiano. The dish was dressed ever so lightly with a lemon vinaigrette. A few turns of ground black pepper worked nicely to spice it up. I found a nice balance of flavors with salt, oil, bitter greens, nutty cheese and great texture contrasts. A fresh 2006 Argiolas Vermentino from Sardegna was a good match.

Sometimes a good test for kitchen is to try a simple classic preparation. Here I tried one of my personal favorites. A pounded and simply seasoned, breaded Costata di Maiale Milanese served bone in (pork chop), with roasted Potatoes and Broccoli Rabe. Eating this dish transported me to a family kitchen in Italy. Here the secret is not to over season, over cook, or over sauce. I was not disappointed… a nearly perfect rendition. A glass of simple Chianti paired well.

The restaurant decor offers a clean, classic and tranquil dinning room with understated, well dressed tables. A most cordial and informed wait staff make me feel at home. Cocktails are also available…

otv rating (0 to 20)

food: 17
service: 16
vibe: 16
$$ to $$$

Olio e Limone
11 West Victoria - Suite 17
Santa Barbara, CA
(805) 899-2699

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