There is always going to be of my reviews that really stand out, because of the food, the ambiance, but in this case the unabridged charm of owner Renato Moiso. His million-dollar smile will make you feel so comfortable, like you have known him all your life.
Renato also has an import company of all things from Italy, so you know he uses the best Italian ingredients from Italy for a lot of his recipes. The restaurant’s name – Via Maestra 42 is Renato’s hometown address in Piedmont. He speaks about family and recipes, and how important all of that was to him growing up.
Here’s what I tried:
Antipasti E Insalate:
Zuppa del Giorno, Fresh vegetarian stock soup, dairy-free. One soup was a broccoli and the other a garbanzo bean, both with amazing unique flavors. Renato told me both his kids are dairy-free and vegan, so he came up with the perfect recipes for them and of course for all of us to enjoy.
Insalata del Buongustaio, fresh creamy Burrata cheese with local heirloom tomatoes and basil. Served on a bed of baby arugula with lemon Parmigiano dressing. Burrata cheese is the best cheese as far as I am concerned; they did a great job on this salad.
Carpaccio di Bresaola Con Rucola, thinly sliced cured beef Bresaola on a bed of baby arugula tossed with lemon Parmigiano dressing, topped with shaved Grana Padano cheese. This cured meat melts in your mouth, paired so nicely with the arugula.
Insalata Portobello. Organic greens tossed with balsamic dressing, topped with Fontina Val d’Aosta cheese roasted peppers and marinated Portobello mushrooms. The presentation is so glamorous, and the mushroom was so tasty with the wonderful Fontina cheese.
Ravioli Zuccotto, Pumpkin and ricotta cheese-filled ravioli in a browned butter and sage sauce. Sage and pumpkin is really a no-brainer in Italian cooking and this one hits the spot. I just loved the freshness of the pasta and the combination of ingredients.
Tagliatelle Alla Bolognese, the pasta is cooked to perfection and the sauce is real comfort food, just wonderful.
Polenta del Montanaro, Classic fresh polenta dish, with sautéed Portobello and porcini mushrooms, a drop of white truffle oil. I could not get enough of this dish, the porcini mushrooms are so fragrant, and the brown sauce is just to die for.
Branzino, with sautéed spinach and cubed potatoes. This is a must-have, so flaky and delicious, simple but elegant.
Costolette d’Agnello Alla Griglia, Grilled Lamb chop marinated in a mint vinaigrette served with Truffle mashed potato and sautéed fresh vegetable. The lamb is super tender, and the potatoes are out of this world.
Panna Cotta all’Amaretto, Traditional cooked cream dessert with amaretto crumbs. Topped with dark chocolate sauce. Light, fruity, for a light dessert this one is perfection.
Gelato, they have an incredible assortment of Gelato, made by the company Bindi from Milan, Italy, but they wholesale in the US.
Nipper’s favorite Tortino di Cioccolato Caldo, Rich chocolate soufflé served warm with vanilla beans gelato and fresh whipped cream. This is so decadent, but just mind-blowing. I wish I had room for more food. Next time I am just going to go in for dessert to try this 7th wonder for the world again.
Mionetto, Prosecco, Doc Treviso, very light and refreshing, a perfect way to start my magical experience.
Attems, Pinot Grigio, Friuli Doc, 2018. This is a delightful white wine, very fruit forward and I would pair with any salad, or cheeses.
Roero Arneis, Bruno Giacosa, 2018, this wine paired perfectly with the Branzino, it lent itself to add to the buttery nuances in the fish.
Cantaloro Toscana Biologico, 2016, this wine was amazingly great with the lamb.
Barone Fini, Merlot Trentino, 2016, the perfect wine with the lamb chop. A bit dry but jammy as well. Also with the chocolate soufflé, you can’t miss with that combination. Renato paired all of these glorious wines; he did such an amazing job!
Via Maestra 42 is just the best of the best. It offers sumptuous Italian specialties, with a smart ambiance. I got there a bit on the early side, but by the time I left there was a line outside waiting to get in. Renato told me of how his customers are so loyal, when everything was closed his customers gave him anonymous money to stay afloat. He is truly a fixture in this community and knows everyone. Anyone who walked in he greeted and said how are you, where have you been, just like family. I thought I was special, but the truth is he treats everyone with his charming wonderful attitude. Yes he did treat me like a princess, I will admit. He added so many menu items to my delightful dinner. Dessert just kept on coming with more unique samples. Really what a pleasure to have experienced his wonderful restaurant. No need to fly to Italy, it’s all here in Santa Barbara. Renato even texted me the next day to say how great it was to meet me. Ok, so yes I am gushing, all the more reason to try Via Maestra 42 – When in Rome!!! Or in this case – When in Piedmont!!
With tears in his eyes Renato shared with me the passing of his beloved mother Carla, this review is dedicated to her, she passed a little more than a month ago, and I could see what a devoted son Renato is. He told me that his mother was the love of his life. So poignant and beautiful, a real gentleman! Carla told him to in regards to food, “You should enjoy a little bit of everything”, meaning moderation is the key.
Via Maestra 42
3343 State Street
Santa Barbara, California 93105
Hours: Monday – Saturday 8:30am – 9:00pm – Sunday 11:00 – 5:00
In their own words: Via Maestra 42 was born on December 8, 2000 as the culmination of a lifetime spent working in the restaurant business in England, Germany and, of course, Italy. From these roots, sprang forth our vision of what an Italian restaurant should be. Via Maestra 42 was created in order to showcase the wonderful Italian products we have been supplying to restaurants in the area as All Italia Imports since 1993. In creating this extension of our family, we aim to provide an unforgettable dining experience, steeped in simplicity and warmth. We pride ourselves on consistency, using only the highest quality ingredients, organic when possible, in preparing our traditional Italian dishes. We highlight seasonal ingredients in creating the flavors Renato grew up enjoying. Via Maestra 42 is open 7 days a week. We serve a wonderful Italian breakfast Monday – Saturday starting at 8:30, with lunch service starting at 11:30 and continuing throughout the day until our dinner service at 5:00, which is served until 9:00. On Sunday we are open 11:00 – 5:00. We strive to create a memorable dining experience, whether in our restaurant or at your home with our custom catering service.
Ci vediamo presto!