October 22, 2021

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Food never sleeps

Transportive Ambiance and Classic Italian at Tre Lune

4 min read

As your nose is lured by the acquainted smells of Italian dishes from Puglia and Piedmont to Rome and Liguria steadily wafting out from the bustling kitchen area at Tre Lune, your eyes will likely transform to the Montecito ristorante’s decor to love yet another form of trip. 

Outside the house, on the patio that was expanded through the pandemic to practically double the restaurant’s quantity, there are photos from throughout Italy, bringing scenes of Sorrento, Capri, and in other places to the sidewalks of Coast Village Road. “It just provides this exclusive ambiance,” explains cafe supervisor Leslee Garafalo of the method. “Our whole notion was that if people could not journey to Italy, we’d bring Italy to them.”

Inside, the black-and-white pics of Hollywood A-listers during previous golden ages supply a distinct form of transportive practical experience: that a person is surrounded by glitz and glamour even though tucking into that tortellini and tiramisu. In truth, you might be graced by the presence of authentic-existence celebs too, even though many of the restaurant’s moneyed clientele never identify, or treatment, that a Kardashian is seated to their left.

But what drew my eye were being the elf-sized seats that lined the top of the inside walls, each adorned with someone’s name, or nickname. “We have near to 300 chairs on the wall for our shoppers who love taking in below and who’ve been consuming in this article for years,” claimed Garafalo of these very small odes to loyalists, numerous of whom started off coming when the cafe opened in 2003. “We like to thank our clients, and they get a kick out of it.”

Credit score: Alexandra DeFurio

How does one particular attain these kinds of honor? Garafalo mentioned that the formula is not established in stone, but that Tre Lune’s operator, Gene Montesano — the blue-denims mogul turned restaurateur who also commenced Lucky’s Steakhouse a couple of blocks absent on Coastline Village Street and owns D’Angelo Bakery and Joe’s Café in downtown Santa Barbara as properly — claims a single principal requirements: “If you are interesting.”

I don’t make it down that way adequate to qualify for these types of judgement myself, but I could instantly see why so many return repeatedly to Tre Lune for lunch, dinner, and the Friday-to-Sunday brunch, billed as “Montecito’s ideal breakfast.” The menu is sprawling, supplying a little bit of Italy for every palate, from those people trying to get uncomplicated salads and pizzas to vegetarians and vegans to these ready to splurge on dishes that remind of pre-pandemic vacations: sensitive veal doused in a tangy, caper-studded Milanese sauce addictive gnocchi swimming in savory truffle product fettucine with lobster and porcini in a saffron-laced tomato foundation. 


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In the course of my lunch, I counted 24 pasta dishes, 16 meat and fish options, and five specials, as nicely as the more than just one dozen alternatives on just about every of the pizza, salad, and antipasti sections. This is to say nothing of the cocktail or wine listing, which is totally Italian except for a single Santa Barbara County rosé. 

As Garafalo served me her smoked tuna salad, that truffle gnocchi, and extra, she poured one-ferment prosecco from Le Contesse, gavi by Villa Sparina, the Mysterium barbera by Tenute Montemagno, and bigger-altitude pinot nero from Abbazia di Novacella in Alto Adige. (We didn’t get into the reserve cellar of Tignanello and Sassicaia — it was just lunch, immediately after all.) To me, this sort of deep wine and food stuff menus look like a continual problem for cooks to nail every single dish every single time and for servers to converse knowledgeably about so quite a few matters. But the Tre Lune design seemingly operates. 

“We looked at scaling again all through the pandemic,” mentioned Garafalo, noting that cacio e pepe and the salmon with lemon and capers remain top rated favorites. “But everything sells. It is unbelievable.” She also makes sure that the ever-changing wine listing is supported, explaining, “It’s seriously critical that my staff preferences and enjoys every single wine, so that they can market it.” 

Credit history: Alexandra DeFurio

Holding the excellent consistent is a committed workers led by Chef Luis DeLeo, such as several who have labored there for far more than a 10 years. “Everyone who functions at Tre Lune has this passion, and it deepens more than the years,” reported Garafalo, who was lifted in Westlake Village but worked in Denver eating places for a lot of yrs in advance of coming to Tre Lune in 2014. “We’re united and a family in this article.”

That relatives was offered a significant compliment the night time just before I visited, when an out-of-city customer had returned with extremely large hopes for the meal, fearing that he was remembering his previous Tre Lune working experience a bit much too fondly. He was far more than happy, reporting to the workers that the evening’s meal exceeded his lofty expectations. “Your food is just as excellent as foods on the Amalfi Coastline,” he instructed the staff members, “if not improved.”

1151 Coastline Village Rd., Montecito (805) 969-2646 trelunesb.com


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