Santa Barbara , California
Tel: 805 966 9463
Concierge.com's insider take:
On the historic El Paseo courtyard, the Wine Cask occupies part of an early-20th-century building that was once home to the De la Guerras, descendants of the Presidio commander. Originally known as the Gold Room, the restaurant still has the original stone fireplace carved with the family crest, and hand-painted beamed ceilings. It's no wonder so many vintners and oenophiles come here—there's a 50-page wine list and 20 vintages available by the glass, and a sommelier on hand to help pair that perfect wine with the bistro-style Californian cuisine and impressive cheese menu featuring European and California cheeses. Sunday and Monday nights, they serve a six-course prix-fixe dinner ($100 with paired wines; $65 without wine), but it must be ordered by the entire table. The menu changes seasonally, depending on what local produce is available. Among appetizers, there's a Hawaiian escolar with avocado, poached watermelon, and yuzu sauce, and a three-cheese tomato tart. Signature entrées: grilled Kobe beef top sirloin in black-truffle sauce alongside local baby root vegetables and wild king salmon in a smoky muscat crème with beluga lentils, baby fennel, porcini mushrooms, and cipollini onions. If you like the wine you had with dinner, you can pick up a bottle next door at the Wine Cask store.
Open Mondays through Thursdays 11:30 am to 2:30 pm and 5:30 to 9 pm, Fridays 11:30 am to 2:30 pm and 5:30 to 10 pm, Saturdays 5:30 to 10 pm, and Sundays 5:30 to 9 pm.