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Via Maestra 42
3343 State St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 569-6522

  • Category: Deli, Italian
  • Hours: Mon-Sat 8:30am-9pm, Sun 11am-5pm
  • Price: $10 - $20
  • Serving: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
  • Reservations: No
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Reviews by the General Public

Waited forever... for an ordinary bowl of soup!, 5/12/2014
Reviewer: Lisa from Santa Barbara, CA
We very rarely go out to eat, but decided to go on a late Sunday afternoon. I had previously enjoyed their bruschetta as a snack, realizing in retrospect that it must have been many years ago. Perhaps everything has changed. My husband ordered a simple bowl of vegetable soup, and I a plate of the bruschetta (toast with tomatoes, basil, and supposedly a lot of garlic), but we waited at least 25 minutes for the food to show up. The soup was okay, but the bruschetta had NO GARLIC WHATSOEVER and only the smallest sprig of basil--all this for about 20 dollars, including tip! Thank goodness we did not ask for drinks. The experience was not our idea of a special treat. The coffee-flavored gelato was superb, however, and almost made up for the meal.


Assolutamente fenomenale in California, 4/5/2014
Reviewer: rick from Buellton, CA
Have eaten here several times and have always enjoyed it immensely - surely it is a bit pricy, but is worth it - the food is great, the service a bit slow but only because of the crowded place - we love it and recommend it highly if you like real Italian cuisine, even though the cooks seem all to be Mexicans, nonetheless they are evidently well trained in the field.....grazie Renato


First and last visit, 12/30/2013
Reviewer: Matt from Santa Barbara, CA
Finally had a chance to check out Via Maestra 42 on Dec 20. Place was crowded, we got the last open table, middle of rest. Server did not mention daily specials, when asked we were told what the main component but not what they were served with. Getting the details was work...When ordering our server was preoccupied with the table behind us, had to repeat things twice, not sure what was going on with other table. Had to remind our server to bring our drinks. Never did receive my glass of wine I asked to be served with my entree. I had the Osso Buco which was really pretty good, a bit salty but enjoyable. My wife's fish entree was well prepared. So if the service was better we might go back but.......


Friends and Family Luncheon - a Very Special Occaison
Reviewer: LeeAnn from Mission Viejo, CA
For our grandson's graduation from the local university we wanted to host a celebratory luncheon for about 15 people. With Renato's help and suggestions we came up with a menu within our budget and perfect for our disparate group which included four generations of family and the twenty somethings, and several vegetarians. We accommodated the vegetarians and the older folks (a ninety second birthday on the same day, also!) were comfortable and feted, along with the Grad and the Dads- Father's Day. The food was fresh, delicious and beautifully presented. Each course (and we had many!) was brought to the table with a little flourish and greeted with many oohs and aahs. The service at Via Maestra is just the right touch of helpful and fun. Our meals were served family style, so there was much tasting and sharing going on. Beautiful freh green and cheeses, big fat ripe raspberries in the special little cannolis for dessert and wonderful sauces throughhout. At the end, Renato hugged and thanked each one of us as if we were old and dear friends, and I swear to you, by this time, we were!!! This us the best restaurant experience my family and I have ever shared. It was a beautiful day, and we will always remember Via Maestra 42 very fondly.


Love this place, takes me right to Italy
Reviewer: Catherine from Santa Barbara, CA
I was in Via Maestra today and was reminded how much I like this friendly Italian neighborhood restaurant tucked among the little midcentury shops on upper State near Loreto Plaza. It is the site of the old ornate Swensen's Ice Cream parlor which somehow very much suits the Italian style. I was first introduced to the restaurant when they catered a party I attended. I was very impressed and asked the name of the caterer. This was followed by some very deicious lunches and midafternoon snacks in the cafe. I then used them to cater a party of my own and was again so impressed with the quality of the food, the kindness and excellence of the service, the European feel which so suited my event. The food is excellent, the vegetables never overcooked, and I love the service. I feel like it is another hidden jewel in Santa Barbara. And today's dinner got raves from my family, especially the green bean salad and white bean with seafood salad. Yum.


Fast Food Italian
Reviewer: John from Santa Barbara, CA
I work very close to this restaurant, in a pinch it's fast decent food. As much as I would like it to be authentic Italian it's more fast food Italian. I suspect many of the sauces are direct from can however their Tiramisu is very good.


5 Star Restaurant?
Reviewer: John from Santa Barbara, CA
5 star restaurant? Definitely not. The food is very average and at times a little expensive. The pasta sauces are okay, not bad but not great either. They taste like the kind you'd make at home - when you're in a hurry, not the kind when take your time and use and best and fresh stuff from scratch. The meat dishes are, well, a rip off. 4 lamb ribs for $26 with a few potatoes. The ice cream is very good, and the rest of the desserts look great as well. Perhaps just go there for dessert until they step it up? The place has a certain charm to it and even feels like you've walked into a eatery in Italy. They do have Italian wines, real Gelato, Italian accents, etc. But this is where the comparisons stop. Do not go expecting a 5 star meal. Real Italians would be complaining about a meal here, not complimenting it. I can see that many locals nearby like the place becasue they do seem to have a following. I don't mean to offend anyone who likes the joint. It's a fun place and not without it's charms, but I can't personally can't let this cloud my view of the food. I want to like it, but until the food improves, I would not go very often.


mamma mia!
Reviewer: Pier Giorgio from Torino, Italy
i'm just come back in Italy (Torino) after one month in CA. Only Via Maestra is still in my heart (and my mouth). I have found the first REAL italian restaurant in USA, with the (best) wine of my Region and courses like "ossobuco" as only my mam know how to do. If somebody will ask me a tip for a trip in USA, i'll recommend to go in Via Maestra... and bring my Thanks and my greeting to Renato!! Pier Giorgio da Torino


A very Italian restaurant
Reviewer: Valeria from Santa Barbara, CA
A very Italian restaurant, Via Maestra 42 looks like a little piece of Italy. I have been in other Italian restaurants before, but Via Maestra 42 is the only place were I ate the real "Spaghetti alla Carbonara", like those of my Italian grandmother. Wine is excellent too, a good selection of best Italian wines. Good service and nice people. I have been there for lunch and I would like to return for dinner A very Italian restaurant, I love this place!!!


Crowded and Over-priced.
Reviewer: Pamela from Visalia, CA
Not worth the time an money!This was our first time at the restaurant, which I informed the waitress at the time we were seated. Because there was only 2 of us, we were told we had a choice of 3 small tables. The tables barely had room for our plates. There appeared to be only one waitress, a helper who served and a busboy. The room was extremely crowded for a Monday at 6:00pm. I ordered a special - Osso Bucco - and got a plate that was very oily. The meat was okay, the risotto was very dense, not creamy as I would expect. Most disturbing was the bill, about $51 for the two of us and we did not have wine or alcohol. My mom only ordered the Carpaccio salad which I believe was $8.95, not too bad for Santa Barbara. However, my special was $31.95. Quite a shock. Not only was it did I think it was greasy, they didn't even serve a salad, soup or vegetable with the meal. The price was completely unexpected, I would think the server would let you know if the meal was priced significantly higher than anyting on the regular menu. The highest price item I remember on the menu was Filet Mignon for $21.95. Not only will we never go back, but I would never recommend this restaurant.


Amazing and Authentic Italian!
Reviewer: Francesca from Santa Barbara, CA
Thanks to Renato at Via Maestra and his amazing staff, our wedding was more incredible than we could have ever imagined! After a tasting with the owner, Renato, we decided we wanted him to cater our wedding. He was so kind and warm, and we felt like he would take good care of us.  We were getting married at my dad's house, so we needed to rent tables, umbrellas, tableware, etc... Renato took care of all of that... This is a huge plus for me, as I really can't stand party planning or managing details! He and his staff arrived a few hours before our wedding and set up everything... They even placed our centerpieces on the tables and made it all look nice.  The food was beyond delicious! The servers walked around with appetizers before the ceremony began. There was a bartender to serve drinks as well. Once we were married, everyone sat down and Renato and his staff served the most incredible meal. This is what we ate: Appetizers: Sopressata Salame with Fresh Figs Marscapone, Gorgonzola and Walnuts Frittatine Zucchini Grilled Eggplant, Goat Cheese, Sundried Tomato Antipasto: Bundles of Burrata and Speck Tomato Bruschetta and Bread Italian Grilled Artichoke Halves Baby Rucola and Lemon Parmisan Dinner: Homemade Meat Lasagna Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage and Butter Salmone ai Ferri Dessert: A Gelato Bar! All the food was impeccable. The meat lasagna and ravioli got rave reviews from our guests. The gelato bar was a huge hit and a fun alternative to cake.  We are so pleased with what an amazing event our wedding turned out to be. It felt like a big dinner party in Italy. We would highly recommend Via Maestra 42 for any catering needs!


So good!
Reviewer: Becca Okaneko from Santa Barbara, CA
I finally decided to try Via Maestra today after years of hearing about how amazing it is. Everyone was right...the food and service were both fantastic! I ordered spinach ravioli in a cream sauce. My mom ordered veggie lasagna. Both were so delicious! I can't wait to go back and try something else :)


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