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Trattoria Grappolo
3687 Sagunto St, Santa Ynez
Phone: (805) 688-6899

Reviews by the General Public

Front of house is killing this place
Reviewer: Dante from Santa Barbara, CA
I was told the food is good here. We wanted to try it, but the host seemed to have no interest in entertaining new business. We will do our best to spread the word. I think the owner should pay more attention to what is going on in his business.

Really wanted this time to be better
Reviewer: M from Santa Ynez, CA
Arriving at 5:00, we took a nice corner table in the otherwise empty front porch. After a few minutes, we were overwhelmed with smoke, loud profanity, and excruciating drunken public affection just feet away from us at the adjacent bar. As other tables filled up and 20 minutes passed, grumpy Gustavo arrived without smile. Bothered that we asked him about the specials, he slowly returned with the list and took our order, seemingly disappointed with our choices. Gustavo returned with our food and quickly dropped it off before we could ask for pepper. Realizing a dish was not correct, we finally had to ask the hostess for help. Gustavo returned with the dish offering only a pathetic “hope that works for you.” Next time he came to our table was after asking the busboy for the check. Insult to injury, during our dinner Gustavo took plenty of time visiting with our rude next door drunks! In all, waiter was one of the worst we have ever had and food was (again) just mediocre (bland and light on protein). As locals, the new SY Italian restaurant will be an easy choice next time we want to actually enjoy a night out.

Reviewer: Joanie from Santa Barbara, CA
Major disappointment...I had never been to Grappolo before but had heard good things...had heard to order meat or fish since that what they did best. Had the special...salmon cooked in lemon, butter and garlic covered with a variety of mushrooms. Well, first of all, the covering was mostly onions, but the salmon and the sides were very dry. I asked for a butter sauce and some lemon, and got two squares of butter. Tried to make it edible with that, but it was still just that..edible. The place is packed but there aren't too many places for people to go in the area. The service was fine; fast and perfunctory. The atmosphere is cozy with a good vibe but I wouldn't go back..of course being from Santa Barbara, I don't need to..

Inapropriate rude hostess
Reviewer: Cheney from Santa Barbara, ca
We arrived 5 minutes early for our reservation.. I walked up and the hostess (very young girl) was rude after ignoring our presence she finally looked up and said "actually were not open for ten more minutes" instead of maybe "I'm sorry we won't be ready to seat you for a few minutes but, you are welcome to wait here.. So, we walked back to the car and waited 10 minutes All the waitstaff were dressed in matching uniform, but the hostess was dressed very inapropriate and unprofessional for what I would have expected in a fine dining restaraunt. I dont consider floral jeans a good food service outfit..Hostess was unattentive as we're walking out she didn't say anything just continued to talk to the other hostess about how she wants the day off tomorrow.. Food was ok I got the pumpkin ravioli since I heard how good it was from friends white sauce was under salted and filling was bland. Also, our table was very close to a wine rack almost directly above my husbands head, and a waiter knocked one it shattered right onto our table. They did replace everything on our table including our food but maybe they shouldn't have a table so close to a wine rack and olive oil cart.

Not thrilled
Reviewer: Fay from Santa Barbara, CA
I was really looking forward to a really nice meal, but was disapointed with my order. The stuffed calamari was good, as was the other appetizer my husband ordered,and his pizza was very good too. My $30.00 Chioppino - not so much; no depth to the sauce, overcooked calamari, unappetizing looking fish, and topped with a fully dressed shrimp, crab legs would have made more sense. Really, I wanted so much to enjoy this dish, but it didn't even meet the mark for a $20 bowl.

Great Food and Service
Reviewer: Glenn from Buellton
This place was really hopping and was hard to get a reservation when I went but they are open fairly late if you want to wait for the crowd to die down a bit, I think a good thing because the noise level can get loud in there when its packed. Food was good and well prepared. Service was very attentive and some of the waiters really made you feel at home/bent over backwards. Gripe would be when the front door opens a gush of cold air comes in, wear warm clothing at night to this place. Overall a great place to try and a good choice when you want finer Italian fare. Maybe better to try in the warmer summer than the cold winter as I felt like I needed a jacket on while eating.

New lunchtime cook?
Reviewer: Stephen Bonser from Santa Barbara, CA
Just had lunch at this old favorite. Soup of the day was a bean with ditalini which seemed to be canned beans in their sauce with pasta. Almost flavorless and no fresh vegetables of any kind. Salty and not particularly tasty. Arugula salad with large grilled scallops and shaved parmesan was acceptable. Penne pasta with bacon in creamy tomato sauce was delicious and fresh but again, a bit too heavy handed with the salt. What should have been a light, satisfying lunch came off less than this usually reliable eatery is capable of. Service was prompt and friendly as usual.

Keep Menu...Lose Hostess!
Reviewer: Mel from Santa Barbara, CA
Right on time, we approached smacking-bubblegum-blowing hostess to give our name for reservation: Blank Face. Did she hear us? (waiting... awkward...) Looking at the reservations, circling the area with her half shirt barely hanging on one shoulder, we realized she could hear when another young blond asked about her reservation, was greeted fondly, and party seated immediately (at the table we were hoping for...rrr). She returned, rudely asked, "What's your name again?" and I was ready to leave. Thank goodness for manager(?) who approached, greeted us, said it would be a minute, then sat us and made us feel welcomed. Food was a mix: Cesar salad excellent extra garlic flavor, rib eye special was tough and dry (though medium rare), seafood pasta a bit average, featured Malbec was perfectly delicious. We enjoyed owner’s brief visit and will have to give it another try. Hopefully hostess will better represent an otherwise pleasant staff and entrées will be more flavorful.

Best Pizza in California
Reviewer: Jill from Redondo Beach, CA
If you like thin crust pizza than this is the place for you. If you're from the East Coast you know what I'm talking about. It was to die for. Also split a salad which was good as well but I'm still dreaming about the pizza. And we sat outside and no flies. It was a beautiful night. Next time I'm in the area I'll be ordering pizzas to go!

Grappolo? Yeah, I'll go back. And keep going.
Reviewer: Andy Patterson from Santa Ynez, CA
The best thing about Grappolo is the service—hands down. I love the fact that when i get a table at Grappolo, I never feel rushed to leave. I've stayed there for a good three to four hours on more than one occasion, and the servers never once gave me the evil eye. I do not doubt that some people (namely the people who gave negative reviews on this page) had poor experiences, but in recent months (late 2009 to early 2010) the servers have been unwaveringly attentive, sincere, and punctual. To be sure, the food passes muster, but should not be considered transcendantly good Italian. I like their food—even love it sometimes—but chefs oscillate between their strengths and weaknesses. In my experience, go there for Northern Italian dishes. The pasta plates lake true innovation and identity, but their meat—culled from quality local sources—typically vaunts exquisite balance of preparation and delicious sauces. I should also mention that I've recieved free dessert—twice. I don't know who is ultimately responsible for such generosity—the servers, the owners, the chefs—but gestures like that keep this customer satisfied. I live a few blocks away from Grappolo, am not made of money, and get treated like royalty EVERY time.

Absolutely fantastic
Reviewer: Erica from Santa Barbara, CA
I enjoyed a fabulous dinner here with friends a few days ago. And I am thrilled to finally find a restaurant in the States where the table you sit down at is "your table" for the evening. We had a lovely 3-hour meal, enjoying beautiful and delicious food and wine; we took our time, savoring each course, and not ordering the next one until after consulting with Leonardo Curti (chef and owner), who was mingling with his guests throughout the evening, and our helpful waiter. With generous hospitality, they offered us tastings of a couple wines before we ordered a bottle and they went out of their way to give us an exquisite dining experience. Put yourself in the hands of the chef and you will not be disappointed!

good food plus patience
Reviewer: Chris C. from Santa Barbara, CA
We met a friend from out of town at Grappolo and enjoyed a fine dinner. Tasty cioppino, and a delicious tartufo capped it off nicely. The thing that stands out is their patience. We enjoyed a protracted visit and felt no rushing, no nasty looks - just good and friendly service throughout. We eventually decided to move on since the place was packed and we didn't want to tie up their table too long. But no pressure from the house, only hospitality.

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