Santa Barbara > Restaurants > Ca' Dario Ristorante

Ca' Dario Ristorante
37 East Victoria Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
(805) 884-9419

Ca' Dario Ristorante is a local favorite and a must see for the city's visitor. The top rated food is overseen by the restaurant's colorful Executive Chef/Owner Dario Furlati. Hailing from Il Lago di Como, which is in northern Italy near Milan, Dario has been in kitchens nearly his whole life. He brings old world favorites such as our Ossobuco and Tagliatelle Bolognese to life in a traditional Italian Ristorante setting. Mahogany walls and small quaint tables lead to a cozy dining experience that is enhanced by Dario's staff, which he lovingly refers to as his "Family."

Dario balances the simple good tastes of Italy with an impressive wine list with plenty of Italian bottlings you won’t find anywhere else in town. He only serves what he believes is good that day, so pray he likes that day’s asparagus, which he’ll wrap in pancetta and serve with balsamico, or the artichokes he steams, stuffs with artichoke hearts, tomato, bread and basil. For pastas choose among ravioli dressed with nothing more than good butter and fresh sage leaves, or bocconcini alla trevisana, which is a gratin of crepes stuffed with ricotta and radicchio. He cooks chicken in a terracotta casserole, with tomatoes and red wine, and there is a daily special from the rotisserie—perhaps lamb or beef or chicken--whose aromas fill the room when you walk into the two -room restaurant, which has a lively bar crowd in the evenings.

About Dario

I was born in Italy and had the opportunity to have had loving parents and grandparents. Growing up I was very shy and introverted and I was struggling to understand what I would like to do when I grew up. Maybe a firefighter or doctor I was thinking, but having time off from school during the summers and having the opportunity to spend time in the kitchen with my grandmothers (one was living in Lake Como, the other close to Venice by the mountain side), I started to have an understanding and a passion for food. By watching and helping with food tasks I did develop a love for it and learned very quickly. I slowly learned all the aspects of cooking, like making pasta, potato gnocchi, sauces, braising and roasting meat, fish, poultry, cutting, shaping…. Anyway, all that was going on in an Italian family kitchen, the fun of cooking and the screaming if something went wrong.

As an adult in the real world, it took plenty of training in many kitchens. Some were great for learning and others I wanted to walk away on the same day. After being an apprentice in several kitchens in Italy, England and Switzerland, I made my first jump to U.S.A. where I started to get a feeling about the restaurant business. I have to say that it was a great experience, not only was I in charge of a brigade in the kitchen (after being trained) but also, I learned all the aspects of how to run a restaurant, from food cost, payroll, buying etc. Basically, all the administrative procedures of having a successful restaurant.

After working in Prego, Beverly Hills and Chianti Cucina on Melrose, I helped open Prego in Irvine, Ca’Brea, Farfalla in Aspen and L.A. I finally ended up in beautiful Santa Barbara where I was executive chef at Pane e Vino in Montecito and later became a partner at Trattoria Via Vai, Bucatini, Ca’Dario Ristorante, Enoteca Primo and Tre Lune in Montecito. I have retained Ca’Dario as my own and am able to enjoy working with my other ‘family’ where we bring enjoyment and good food to our customers.

Ca' Dario Ristorante 37 East Victoria Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101  (805) 884-9419