Grappolo

★★★★☆
  • 3687 Sagunto St Ste C

    Santa Ynez, CA 93460

    Map & Directions
  • 805-688-6899

Food

Food
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We have a six-year-old. And I'm a rabid foodie. And my husband keeps a gourmet organic vegetable and herb garden in our back yard. So to say that we don't get to dine in fine restaurants often is an understatement. Once you pay the babysitter, that leaves, oh, a few cents left over in the budget for fine cuisine. But occasionally, we make an exception. Perhaps another foodie couple has a tip on a great restaurant and we feel inspired to forget our budget and go check it out with them

That was the case this past Saturday. An unfairly beautiful afternoon for a drive up to wine country and Santa Ynez (known famously as the backdrop of the movie, Sideways). The most beloved high-end restaurant in town is Trattoria Grappolo, staffed by Italian chefs and servers, and with ingredients gleaned locally and seasonally.

Our food and service (Michele Mancuso??what a wit!) were spectacular??until I bit into my primi, rigatoni with three mushrooms. The flavor was delicious but the texture was reminiscent of snippets of bicycle inner tubes, I??m sorry to say. Al dente is one thing, but this was work to chew. After a few bites I gave up.

My husband ordered the pork tenderloin??which was juicy and delicious. He saved one piece for me (this secondi is generously portioned). I enjoyed my first bite, but on the second bite, red oozed out onto the plate. I wouldn??t let him eat the rest of it??although he wanted to??the sauce was heavenly. When Michele??s assistant came to clear our table, he saw my plate full of rigatoni and asked if I wanted a takeout container. I informed him that the pasta was not cooked well and that I couldn??t eat it (a full plate of food is not a good sign). He said nothing and cleared the plates. He also cleared my husband??s plate that had one screamingly red piece of pork on it. Again, no comment. (Michele would have asked about these things, I??m certain, but he was away??the restaurant was slammed that night.)

Now, for a more complete picture, we??d had two superb appetizers (the stuffed calamari--amazing!) and our dining companions enjoyed their veal and shrimp linguini dishes completely. The desserts were divine and everyone at our table was otherwise happy, I felt bad about the possibility of spoiling the collective joy by complaining. But on reflection, I do wish I??d made a point to explain to Michele or his assistant??in a positive way??that I wanted a replacement for the inedible rigatoni and for the oozy pork. (In retrospect, I wish I??d ordered the shrimp linguini and the lamb instead.)

Because our other dishes were outstanding and because Michele??s service was impeccable (and he kept us laughing!), I felt we probably simply ordered the wrong things and that the restaurant is probably justifiably well-loved. But the full plate and the red pork do tell tales and I was surprised no one was interested in those tales. I've written the chef to find out his thoughts, but haven't heard back from him yet. What a bummer to have two out of four dishes we ordered be sub-par or even dangerous. Hopefully this experience was just a fluke? At $75 a head, we may not ever get the chance to return and find out.

1
★☆☆☆☆

We have a six-year-old. And I'm a rabid foodie. And my husband keeps a gourmet organic vegetable and herb garden in our back yard. So to say that we don't get to dine in fine restaurants often is an understatement. Once you pay the babysitter, that leaves, oh, a few cents left over in the budget for fine cuisine. But occasionally, we make an exception. Perhaps another foodie couple has a tip on a great restaurant and we feel inspired to forget our budget and go check it out with them

That was the case this past Saturday. An unfairly beautiful afternoon for a drive up to wine country and Santa Ynez (known famously as the backdrop of the movie, Sideways). The most beloved high-end restaurant in town is Trattoria Grappolo, staffed by Italian chefs and servers, and with ingredients gleaned locally and seasonally.

Our food and service (Michele Mancuso??what a wit!) were spectacular??until I bit into my primi, rigatoni with three mushrooms. The flavor was delicious but the texture was reminiscent of snippets of bicycle inner tubes, I??m sorry to say. Al dente is one thing, but this was work to chew. After a few bites I gave up.

My husband ordered the pork tenderloin??which was juicy and delicious. He saved one piece for me (this secondi is generously portioned). I enjoyed my first bite, but on the second bite, red oozed out onto the plate. I wouldn??t let him eat the rest of it??although he wanted to??the sauce was heavenly. When Michele??s assistant came to clear our table, he saw my plate full of rigatoni and asked if I wanted a takeout container. I informed him that the pasta was not cooked well and that I couldn??t eat it (a full plate of food is not a good sign). He said nothing and cleared the plates. He also cleared my husband??s plate that had one screamingly red piece of pork on it. Again, no comment. (Michele would have asked about these things, I??m certain, but he was away??the restaurant was slammed that night.)

Now, for a more complete picture, we??d had two superb appetizers (the stuffed calamari--amazing!) and our dining companions enjoyed their veal and shrimp linguini dishes completely. The desserts were divine and everyone at our table was otherwise happy, I felt bad about the possibility of spoiling the collective joy by complaining. But on reflection, I do wish I??d made a point to explain to Michele or his assistant??in a positive way??that I wanted a replacement for the inedible rigatoni and for the oozy pork. (In retrospect, I wish I??d ordered the shrimp linguini and the lamb instead.)

Because our other dishes were outstanding and because Michele??s service was impeccable (and he kept us laughing!), I felt we probably simply ordered the wrong things and that the restaurant is probably justifiably well-loved. But the full plate and the red pork do tell tales and I was surprised no one was interested in those tales. I've written the chef to find out his thoughts, but haven't heard back from him yet. What a bummer to have two out of four dishes we ordered be sub-par or even dangerous. Hopefully this experience was just a fluke? At $75 a head, we may not ever get the chance to return and find out.

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We came here a few years ago for a family birthday dinner and loved the quaintness and delicious food. We thought we were in a small town establishment with only the locals which was true if only Kelly LeBrock and Kurt Douglas are your neighbors which we were dining right next to. A great dining experience and I would recommend coming here for an intimate and or family gathering. Can't wait to go back.

5
★★★★★

We came here a few years ago for a family birthday dinner and loved the quaintness and delicious food. We thought we were in a small town establishment with only the locals which was true if only Kelly LeBrock and Kurt Douglas are your neighbors which we were dining right next to. A great dining experience and I would recommend coming here for an intimate and or family gathering. Can't wait to go back.

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First visit, very impressed. There were four of us and everyone loved their entrees and wine choices. The service was fantastic. Eric was our waiter, and he was great. Will return again and again. Highly recommended. Make sure to make reservations.

2
★★★★★

First visit, very impressed. There were four of us and everyone loved their entrees and wine choices. The service was fantastic. Eric was our waiter, and he was great. Will return again and again. Highly recommended. Make sure to make reservations.

Pros: Service excellent, broad menu of choices, nice wine list

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Grappolo's restaurant is really an excellent place to eat in the beautiful Santa Ynez restaurant. Great Tuscan cooking and a very well priced wine list.

4
★★★★☆

Grappolo's restaurant is really an excellent place to eat in the beautiful Santa Ynez restaurant. Great Tuscan cooking and a very well priced wine list.

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WOW!!!! I've been eating here for about 8 years and am amazed each time, The owners are super nice and you can have anything on the menu and be very happy. Nice wine list with many local wineries including Consilience and if you want to really splurge they have Gaja as well. This place is pure MAGIC!!!!

2
★★★★★

WOW!!!! I've been eating here for about 8 years and am amazed each time, The owners are super nice and you can have anything on the menu and be very happy. Nice wine list with many local wineries including Consilience and if you want to really splurge they have Gaja as well. This place is pure MAGIC!!!!

Pros: Amazing ravioli and pastas, great vibe

Cons: That the meal had to end

.

Me and 6 of my friends were visiting Santa Barbara for some wine tasting when we were recommended this restaurant by a lady from one of the vineyards. We reached there after dark and after coming from LA it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere but the restaurant was almost packed and was only taking people with reservations (it was a Saturday). So, we all sat on the bar. The staff was very very friendly and accomodating. I had ordered a penne pasta with creamy tomato sauce and sausage. The dish was heavenly and had a very nice flavor of fennel. My friend ordered mussels and I strongly recommend them. They came in a spicy soupy sauce which was so delicious that even after the mussels were long gone, I dipped my bread into the soup and ate :-) . I tasted some of my friends halibut and I must say it was excellent. We finished off with an outstanding tiramisu. Although the restaurant is a little on the pricey side when compared to the Italian chain restaurants, it is totally worth the money and then some. Being a choosy eater with an eye on the price, this restaurant impressed me very much. Anybody out in the wine country should definitely end their tiring day at this wonderful Italian heaven.

2
★★★★★

Me and 6 of my friends were visiting Santa Barbara for some wine tasting when we were recommended this restaurant by a lady from one of the vineyards. We reached there after dark and after coming from LA it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere but the restaurant was almost packed and was only taking people with reservations (it was a Saturday). So, we all sat on the bar. The staff was very very friendly and accomodating. I had ordered a penne pasta with creamy tomato sauce and sausage. The dish was heavenly and had a very nice flavor of fennel. My friend ordered mussels and I strongly recommend them. They came in a spicy soupy sauce which was so delicious that even after the mussels were long gone, I dipped my bread into the soup and ate :-) . I tasted some of my friends halibut and I must say it was excellent. We finished off with an outstanding tiramisu. Although the restaurant is a little on the pricey side when compared to the Italian chain restaurants, it is totally worth the money and then some. Being a choosy eater with an eye on the price, this restaurant impressed me very much. Anybody out in the wine country should definitely end their tiring day at this wonderful Italian heaven.

Pros: Great food, friendly staff

Cons: Might be a little pricey(or maybe not)

 

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